When I wake up this time of year, the dogs don't wake up - not until it is light which lately is around 6:25. I quickly fill up 4 water jugs, dampen my hair, wash my face, drink a half cup of coffee, put on my coveralls and holler to the kids for the first time to wake up. At this point, the big dogs are pacing back and forth and following me every (and I mean every) step of the way. So I let them out. I grab Birdman Joe and take him out to spend about 10 minutes outside while I feed the chickens. Now if Max, the farm chihuahua, decides to start barking at something - I have to put him in the house because once he starts barking, he won't stop.
We live on a hill. With the packed snow, it is very difficult to get down to the animals safely. Last year when we had all the ice, I would slide the water jugs down the hill and then sit down and slide on my butt. It was very efficient. And quick. Going back up the hill to the deck, however, posed some problems. Sebastian, being the kind and thoughtful dog, would usually let me grab hold of his collar and he would help me up the hill.
After the first trip back up to the house to put Birdman Joe and Max back in the house, I would haul down the first couple jugs of water. And it is the horses turn to be given their hay. Which I do. And I have to do it exactly next because if I don't, Snowball will follow me and try to stick his head in my pocket in search of a snack. We are all big on snacks-horses, goats, dogs, people- so I usually have horse treats or sugar cubes in my pockets and all the animals know it. On days my pockets are empty, I complete my animal feedings a little quicker.
Once the horses, goats, and Dolly Llama gets their hay, it is time to break up the ice and give everyone fresh water. By this time, I am ignored by everyone and that is fine. In the meantime, the big dogs are waiting for me up on the porch. And it is time for me to quickly change into my work clothes, make sure the kids are set for the bus, and to head to work myself. More times than not, I have hay in my hair or stuck to my clothes.
I'm crazy. Nuttier than a fruitcake. With all my disorganization, I should be the last person to have animals. But it works for me. And seemingly for them. I'll never have a sparkling clean, aesthetically pleasing farm or home - much of my stuff is held together with bailing twine or stakes or some other thing I've been able to grab.
I'm more into experiences than I am into appearances and I know that sometimes my older kids have been mortified by this. But the last time I visited, I saw that my daughter had a big roll of duct tape.
I think she's coming around.