The kids were having a day off of farm chores recently so I was out early this particular morning taking care of all the new and old life on the farm.
As I walked out the front door the frigid air surprised me. The sun had just risen and it was so clear after a night of rain. So I stepped back into our house and grabbed a toboggan. I also remembered to get some breakfast for our golden family dog and headed out the front door steps.
Just then I looked out over the pond where 4 geese had landed. I have never seen 4 land at one time before today. Within minutes, I see a Blue Heron that the kids and I call Henry flying over. I am pretty sure the geese delayed his normal stop onto the pond so he kept flying to a nearby pond.
As I walked beneath my favorite Cherry tree blossoming, I remembered how this same tree was in bloom the first time we came to look at this property. Despite the near winter temperature outside, the giant white petals definitely announce that spring is here!
At this point, I heard the new chicks that I got for my birthday chirping and stirring like they do at day break. Each child chose a chick and named it. Our 3rd born child chose a Brown Leghorn, Caleb (child #2) chose a Jersey Black Giant, while Theodore (youngest child) and I couldn’t resist the tiny yellow chicks that we all see on Easter pictures.
I also, chose two Ameraucana chickens so that we can have some lovely blue eggs as they grow older and begin laying. One child who will remain unnamed chose a darling Cuckoo Maran that lays a darker chocolate-colored egg. ( With a name like that for a chicken how could we come home WITHOUT one?) Sadly, this Cuckoo didn’t make it 24 hours with the unnamed child carrying it around for hours on end.
Back to my early morning chores, I double checked the chicks for their water and food. Not to mention making sure their heat lamp was still going strong. I found the chicks huddled underneath their light.
And since they have grown so much lately we can’t seem to keep enough food in there for them. I am not sure which is growing faster- the dandelions, the children, or the chicks. I am sure that if I sit real still I will be able to watch each of them growing before my very eyes.
I made a turn through our gate over the gravel area next to the barn and heard our baby calf beginning to stir. She is about 10 days old and looks like a white-tailed deer when she runs through our small pasture.
As I put her bottle on the fence for her to self feed, the Rhode Island Red beauties were making oodles of noise so that I wouldn’t forget to let them out for the day. While I opened their old farm door to the coop, I bid them a “good morning chickens” and took a glance to see if any had laid any eggs yet. I was thrilled to see one had just laid an egg and the warmth of it was a perfect hand warmer in my pocket.
Despite having lovely laying boxes, most of the chickens have decided to lay their eggs in a variety of locations lately. We have been having a real live Easter egg hunt daily over here to find our breakfast!
I noticed that the chickens hurried out for their morning scavenger. They were eager to see what had turned up after the hearty rain.
Next, I took a peek to see how our steer was doing and he was mooing as if to say “Where is MY bottle?” I reply with, “Sorry buddy- enjoy your spring grass and clover today!”
The calf was still finishing her half-gallon of milk while I decided to look over at our newly planted orchard that some friends planted after Blake’s father died last year. They told us that as we see the trees bring fruit it will serve as a reminder of the “fruit” that his father produced in others lives (including ours) while he was with us. On this particular morning, I see the blooms are so gorgeous and the trees are coming along quite well.
I then walked over to the garden to see how my spring veggies were growing. The bright green lettuce, curly kale, cilantro, yellow onions, and bright red beets, were all showing signs that soon we can pick! Too bad that the cabbage seems to be as slow as Christmas coming in. Maybe it’ll be ready before the heat of summer comes. The spring grass is growing up around my boxes and is already creeping in and around my blueberry bushes… a mental note is made to come out and pull/mow with the kids in the coming week ahead.
By now I made a walk to the side door of the barn to see how our 5 little two-week old kittens were doing. Mama cat met me outside the door and meowed me in as she asked me for some food. So I lifted the bin to scoop her out some. The baby kittens were all still asleep as I oohed and awed over them.
Then it was time to get the calf’s bottle so I could get it clean for the next feeding later in the day. It was also time to let her have a try at going out into the small green pasture to graze. She licked me all the way as I lead her over.
As I shut the small pasture gate, I noticed that the geese were now on their way to their next stop of the day as they flew over head. “Henry, you can come back now! The geese are gone and I am sure there are some great catch for you in the pond!”
As I turned to walk back to the house, I saw our other female grown cat doing her duty spying out a mouse or a mole. I have watched her many a day capture one and also train her adorable kittens to hunt.
I finished my walk by thanking God for peace on the farm this morning.
Sometimes the days aren’t quite that peaceful. On occasion we open the coop to find one beauty is injured by other chicken pecking at her or the cow gets a wild idea to escape down the road to our neighbors house when the sheriff arrives to ask if our cow is missing! The grass is always greener I suppose….
Sometimes there are piles of manure that get stepped into and tracked through the house or we find that we are out of milk for a calf who MUST eat or else. Other times, a chicken hawk circles looking for his next meal. Then there have been times when the chicks were in the laundry room making a mess and keeping me from getting any laundry done (which might sound kind of nice, but the piles that built up said otherwise). Yes, life on a farm has taught me many lessons.
Yet today the morning routine was glorious and a great way to start my day. I see the handiwork of God in all His creation out here on our little farm.
And that my friends is how you do chores on a cold spring day!