Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Morning Chores

Every morning, no matter what, I get up and 'do chores'. Skipping them , of course isn't an option. On the weekends, the critters grant me some leeway and I sleep in a bit. Come Monday through Friday though, and I'm out and about before daylight, getting everything tended to, before I'm off to work.

Unless the weather is abnormally miserable or I'm sick, this time of the day is one of my favorites (after I fall out of bed and get half way awake that is...). From freezing cold, deeply still and dark to warmly humid with mist settling in the hollows of the fields, there is always a certain peacefulness to this time. The stars shine brighter, the moon sometimes hangs in the west, the birds open with a few tentative calls and it's just me and my critters in the world. At least for a little while.

So, I thought you might like to come along and do chores with me this morning!
First we have to feed the kitties, who for the most part dislike each other. On the far table is Dixie, then Madison on the lower front table and Echo (Dixie's daughter) on the higher shelf. (Echo is sitting in Madison's eating spot, hence the glare) There is also Tibby, who is yellow and white and who was quite giddy this particular morning and wouldn't hold still for a photo.

Next, let's grab a bucket of feed. The sheepies are starting to demand breakfast!

Here's Boone, hanging over his gate--he was quite giddy too, as he often is. After I feed the sheep he gets out to run.

There is Gracie at the Gate (and her daughter Hope too)
Hurry, hurry, starving here!

Here are the Shetlands. They have already started filtering into their smaller feeding area (it has a 'creep gate' that is suppose to keep the bigger sheepies out). The grey in the corner is Rain, and she is very demanding, especially if I move too slow.

Hurry, feed us! We are going to starve! It's always a pushing and shoving match until I can get enough grain in the pans and they sort themselves out.

Ah... food. This is the absolute highlight of a sheepie day.

Here are my special girls Moon (front) and Chickie in the back. They needed a little extra TLC, so I started feeding them separate from the others. Moon has since moved to her new home. By the way, it takes about three days to teach a sheep to go into a stall. Once they learn, all you have to do is call their name or even point--or they will put themselves up and impatiently wait for me to get there.

Here are the poor starving boys. Come on little fellers, it's chow time. Move Angus, so I can open the gate!

This is the 'main barn' to the left in the photo, and the chicken house on the right. You can barely see the hoop house to the left edge--that is Blue and Lanny's 'barn'. I feed the big Dorset girls up in the 'main barn'. This is the paddock where I keep the sheep at night. While it has seen better days, I'm pretty proud of that chicken house--I built most of it by myself and it was my first 'Big Project'. I didn't think I would survive it....

Here are the Shetland girls, having finished breakfast, waiting to be let out so they can run off to pasture. If I don't move as fast as they think I should, Rouen will let them out. This is what I call the Shetland Barn, and I use it mostly during lambing, as all the sheep generally hang out in the 'main barn'.

Up before the Chickens. Come on gals (and guy), time to be up and about--the early bird gets the worm, dontcha know! See that black hen on the right? I think she is ten years old! She is a black production breed. The rest are Ameracaunas, except for the black one next to the rooster, she is a half Ameracuana, and you can barely see the Buff Orpington peeking out from in back.

Hi Lanny! You sure look pastoral there in the mist.

And the race to pasture is on--no one wants to be last! I love the little ewe lamb kicking her heels up in the air--nothing like early morning exuberance! (The building in the background is my garage/hay storage. (I'm standing looking out of the main barn).

After I get the sheepies done, it's back to the house, to finish up the house chores and take care of the dogs. Boone has had a good run and is ready to go in the yard and check for exciting new smells.

Hope you've enjoyed doing chores with me--come back anytime!


Corinne R. said...

Thanks for taking us with you! It is fun to see what another shepherd's routine is like.

Pat in east TN said...

That was really neat, being part of your morning chores. I had to laugh at the 'feed me, I'm starving', ooooh how I remember those days ... LOL! Looks like you've got your hands full before 'your' day starts!! bomvoe

kristi said...

It always amazes me how quiet it gets once everyone gets their grain. its like the calm after the storm. I am so glad to see that I am not the only one with extensive chores:) Now I feed the rams first because they get "pushy" if they have to wait too long! And gosh, forbid if I make the horses wait...boy to I get some hoof stomping:) But I always ask..."And which one of you will be making my breakfast?"

Wrensong Farm said...

Sometimes I complain that I have to go "do my chores" (usually when it's torrentially raining), but it HAS to be one of my favorite times of the day. I enjoy visiting everyone and making sure they are healthy and content. Thanks for sharing your chores! :)

Janna's Page said...

That was great! I don't know how you do it!