Tuesday, August 14, 2012

This Day

This day started as it always does, with animal feedings - the inside dogs first, then bowls set out for puppies, then buckets filled for goats, then the walk up to the hen house where scratch is tossed out on the dirt and the big wooden ramp Jer built is unlocked and lowered so a bundle of feathers and fluff can stumble out and stomp down into the new day.

Next comes a peek into the chicken tractor where 5 new peeps are living, lavender and blue orpingtons (I have a weakness for blue tinged chickens) - a gift to myself after discovering the neighbors hatched them out 2 weeks ago.  On tiny blue stick legs they wobble around their mason jar filled with food, scratching at the dirt and peeping, just round balls of gray fluff and bright black eyes.

Finally it's time to release the goats and puppies from the night pen.  The six beasts line up at the gate.  I'm greeted by four distinct goat voices, Willy's always the highest pitched.  It rings out like a little bell above the others.  Once the gate is open, goats and Pyrenees spill out and lope towards their respective food bowls.  Four goat heads dip into buckets of feed until Pearl Snaps, our herd queen, begins the morning ritual of head butting her herd mates in the sides and neck.  The most important part of the goats' day is re-establishing hierarchy.  On Sunday I set out loose minerals and salts, a treat they've already learned to run for as soon as the feed buckets are empty.  From the porch I can make out four wagging tails and hear lips smacking around the mineral feeder.

By now the puppies, who are fed on the porch, have emptied their bowls and moved on to a chase around, around, around, around the house, down the driveway, sliding into metal roofing laid out for the barn.  They roll together and look like one white ball of fur tumbling in the grass.  Suddenly Betty stands and jogs to the pasture gate where she flattens her body and slides under, into the big pasture.  She runs down the path towards the pond.  Splash!  Momentarily she reappears wet and happy.  Bruce jogs near the grazing goats and sits like a sentry.  Watching.

This day I clean the hen house and bring dirty bedding into the garden we opened last week for the donkeys.  They've eaten each plant down to roots and deposited manure throughout.  I drop the bedding unceremoniously somewhere in the middle.  The tiller will churn the contents together in a few weeks.  New plants will go in.  And the garden starts again.  By 2pm I'll pull on my jeans and boots and head into Austin for a late afternoon work meeting and coffee.  By 5, I'm pointing west towards Spicewood and a visit with Kimberly.  I'm meeting a calf and milking her mama - my new cow - this afternoon.  In a few months, we'll have our own dairy here at Bee Tree and another set of animals to add to the morning routine.  My days will start earlier.  They'll likely end later too.  I can hardly wait.

1 comment:

Aunt Lisa said...

Routine at the growing Bee Tree Farm! How wonderful! I'm really excited to see all criters - watch how they all intermingle. The peeps won't be fluffy little balls, but that's OK.