I wake up just before 5 am to the sun rising, birds singing and the Sandhill cranes honking out on the pond. I take a look out the window and see the landscape which makes me excited to get the coffee started so that I can sit outside on the deck, survey my surroundings and see what needs to be photographed. I come downstairs to make coffee but am confused by the coffee maker since I have been using a french press solely for the last several years. It is not comforting to be confused by a coffee maker especially when it is 5:15 in the morning and coffee is one of the first things on your mind. I eventually get it figured out and bless my husband for having ground the beans for me so that I am all set. I take my cup outside and let out the farm dogs, they are sleepy and take their time coming out to greet me. When they do come out I see in the behavior that they are looking at me as a food source provider along with their tail wagging.
The bird chorus is still on and I am loving it, along with the fresh air and scenery. I sit down and the dogs join me, my coffee begins to kick in as does my curiosity when I notice that the female cat is asleep in the chair next to me. She opens one eye and then meows at me, she too sees me as a food source provider even though she is a great hunter and I have seen her freshly caught victims aka food. I continue to look around and it is so lovely everywhere I see that I don't seem to be able to sit still as my mind wants to photograph what I am seeing. I throw my camera on and walk about with coffee in hand. I snap a shot of the very shy and elusive cranes, and cedar waxwing birds. I need a telephoto lens, and this becomes a daily mantra for me while I am here.
I take photos of peonies, Siberian irises, trees, sun coming through the trees, dogs, cats, and chickens scurrying around. A loud humming sound tells me that the hummingbird is at the feeder, I turn to watch and grab of few shots. Wandering around I see chickens pulling up worms and other tasty morsels and laugh at the site of chickens and all I can think of is that they are "free-ranging” it. The sheep and lambs are already out in one of the pastures and a few "mahs" are called out. I walk back over to the deck and attempt to sit down again and sip my now cold coffee. I look out at the land and wonder how long it would take for me to tire of this view, my mind tells me it I would not likely tire of it. I check in with myself and notice that I am feeling calm, no anxiety running through my brain or body, no concerns of carpool, no clients, no hospice patients. Nature relaxes me in a way that very few other things can and with all of this space around me I can just let go of everything and know that it will just dissipate into the air.
The alarm is set for 9am which is when I wake the sleeping children for their farm chores. I wake them up one by one and there is no resistance yet. Off I go with the older girl to feed chickens, collect eggs, feed cats, and bottle feed a lamb. She tells me she is hesitant to open the barn door, so I open it and a huge chicken flies out and over our heads. That was a huge surprise and a bit alarming so we both looked at each other and then laughed. Now I see why she was hesitant since chickens are kinda big and feel even bigger when they fly inches over your head, I was just glad not to be pooped on!
Older girl feeds the lamb and chickens, I take care of the feeding the Tom cats, and start looking for eggs. On this day I collected quite a few eggs in various places, some were still warm. The eggs feel so good in your hands and they are the color of light brown to light green and a pale white, unlike the pure white that you see in the grocery store. The color of the eggs is determined in part by the color of the chicken. These chickens are black, brown, red and a few with some white color in them. The grocery store white eggs are coming from white chickens.
Next I set out to do chores with the younger girl and she has said that she will meet me by the puppies. Oh yes, the puppies, it is also one of her jobs to check on them. She tells me that she thinks their eyes will open very soon, and that it is the mother who licks at their eyes to help them open when the time is right. I hold each puppy and notice how different each one is, not only in coloring but in size and weight. The one thing they all have in common is their softness and warmth, as well as the squeaky and grunting sounds they make when they are nursing or clumping up together for a nap. Their days and nights are pretty much all about sleeping, eating and being irresistibly cute just by "being."
The younger girl and I fill up buckets with water and we head out to the pig pasture area. It is a bit of a walk and the farm dog leads the way. Good thing too as I almost went over to the cow pasture which is a good realization for me that I still don't have a good grasp of the lay of the land. We bring some fruit for the sow and her piglets, they are excited to see us as it is feeding time and all kinds of grunting and snorting starts taking place. As I get their food ready, I notice that big farm dog is staring at one of the piglets face to face. They are clearly communicating with one another, big farm dog is taking in all the messages that piglet is sharing with her. I am fascinated by this, so much so that I spill some food onto the head of the sow and she could care less. Trying to feed the pigs is a bit chaotic as you cannot hardly get to put the food in before they are in there trying to eat as you put food in! Ugh! This is a mess! I need to devise a better plan for tomorrow. We fill up their water station and head back over to the kennel dogs and the boy.
The boy is playing with all 4 dogs, they are running all over the place with lots of energy and social interaction with all of us. Belly rubs, ball chasing and tricks. The boy has been caring for these dogs for a large portion of his life. He is quite competent and knows the dogs and their behaviors. He also knows how to operate equipment, tools, hunt, and where things are including animals. I learn a lot from him everyday and see the value of being raised on farm where life is one big experience on a daily basis.
Everything you need to know and learn about life is on a farm: Birth, death, growing, making mistakes, taking chances, careful planning, careless actions, fixing things, letting go of that which you cannot control, good times, hard times, loving and leaving, happiness and grieving.
With chores done we head out to the pool and the afternoon flies by. Evening chores are done, dinner is accomplished and rice krispy treats are made and eaten. I have not had rice krispy treats for a VERY long time and while there is no nutritional value in them I admit that they tasted kinda good and brought back memories of my own childhood. I wash a 2nd load of towels a 2nd load of the dishwasher, shower and head to bed. The moon is so bright and is beaming on the bed. I move my pillow over so that I can bathe in the light of the moon and drink in the day. With one inhalation and exhalation I am asleep.