Winter morning chores start quietly at dawn. Rattling buckets bring the dogs piling downstairs, eager for morning rounds. The slamming screen door as we head to the barnyard cues the inhabitants, and a rising tide of uptalk rolls out to meet us. By the time I heave the big barn door open and Chance rushes in to greet the cat, the rooster crescendo is peaking.
George eats first, and Chance acts as butler while I toss hay flakes into each stall and give the donkeys their carrots. A good chin scratch and handful of feed to Callie the barn cat and we’re off to the coops.
Youngest first is the golden rule, fresh warm water and warm mixed crumbles, oats, corn and barley with a bit of molasses, topped by black oil sunflower and flax seed. The chicks go for the water first, then the food, while the hens do the opposite.
Everybody is very happy to see me, and quiets down immediately, with only a sneezy cough here and there, as some bird eats too fast.
And then it’s back to the house, to pour a coffee and start my work day.