By Christie C. Babbit, Deseret News staff writer
PROVO - it's a dirty job, but somebody had to think of it. Kristin Murdock,
a vivacious new business owner, is offering an interesting - if rather
degusting - new product that's caught interest inside and outside the
United States: cow pie clocks.
Murdock admits with laughter that some people who see her cow pie creations
tell her it's sick. However, those are the same people who moments later
are telling her who they know that would like one.
"I know this is strange. It's kind of sick in a way, but it sells and
it's fun!" she said after showing off her production facility - a picnic table
in her back yard - at her Provo home.
For those who may be a bit queasy about using a cow pie as a decorative
item in the home, Murdock assures them that these pies are not at all stinky
"These are desert-baked... They are not the least bit damp," she says.
In fact, Murdock gushes excitedly about the beauty found in each cow pie,
admiring the color variations or the interesting rocks embedded in the back.
"I think they're just real pretty," she said.
Each cow pie clock comes with a display stand and a saying attached such
as "A Chip off the Old Clock," "You Dung Good," "You are Heaven Scent" or
"You're Outstanding in Your Field."
Murdock will provide whatever saying the customers wants. She has lists
to choose from, with more suggestions coming in continually from friends
It all started one day when Murdock was hiking in a canyon by Lake Powell,
discovered some old cow pies and was fascinated by them. Sealing some up in
plastic bags, she brought them home with no idea what she would do with
them. Then it occurred to her that a clock might look good in them.
"My biggest struggle of all was what to dip these in, what to put on the
outside," Murdock said. "I tried probably $300 worth of glazes."
She needed a substance that would seal the outside of the pies and make
them more durable; the pies tend to crumble easily. The solution: a glaze
used on old wooden boats. "That seemed to stick on the outside and make them
tougher," she said.
She started giving a few out to friends as gifts, with her big break
coming after she gave a clock to a relative who was a friend of entertainer
Donny Osmond. Murdock said Osmond called her wanting a clock himself, so
she made him one and delivered it to him.
A few weeks later, her relative called and said to turn on "Donny and
Marie," Osmond's daily talk show. There, Murdock saw Osmond showing off her
clock to a nationwide audience.
Murdock panicked; she didn't even have a name for business. She
hurriedly took care of setting up shop and the calls began coming. Other
media attention has helped carry the momentum forward, and Murdock is now
selling her clocks around the country. She even did a live interview with a
radio station in Japan about her clocks.
"I've sold hundreds of pies" since beginning the business in January,
she said. Currently, Murdock travels to southern Utah's deserts about every
three weeks to gather cow pies. Northern Utah is too wet, she explained; the
pies have to be totally dry.
"They're everywhere," she said, adding that she collects about 400 at a
time, carefully placing each one in a plastic bag and loading them into her
Each pie is dipped in a bucket of glaze and placed on rows of nails
hammered into a wooden retaining wall in Murdock's backyard to dry for about
five hours. Due to the fragile nature of the pies, she can't work if the
air is damp or it's raining.
A neighbor then drills the hole through the middle. The holes are
precisely measured so the clocks can be slipped inside and remain there
Prices for the clocks range from $39.95 to $49.95, depending on the size
of the finished product. The largest pie she has made into a clock measures
approximately 15 inches by 15 inches, she said.
Murdock gets a lot of enjoyment out of the stories that go along with
the sales. One older couple wanted the words "Poopsie" on their cow pie
because it had been their pet name for each other. A man in Wyoming sent
Murdock cow pies from his own ranch to be made into clocks for his ranch
hands, she said.
For more information on Murdock's cow pie clocks, call 1(801) 225-1152
or check out Murdock's Web site.