Living here on the farm, chores are part of life. The mornings are never about me going to the restroom or getting my cup of coffee or even eating my breakfast. Someone else always comes first…always.
For starters, lets talk about the dogs. These guys can get pretty temperamental if there’s something they require. In their minds, their needs and wants take precedence. Always in a rush to eat, drink water, go to the bathroom, play and yes, even to sleep in (yes, Asha I’m talking about you)! You see, here at the Ritz, their every wish is my command.
After prying myself out of bed when a cold, wet nose is shoved in my face its obvious nature calls. Forget the alarm clock – that is what dogs are for!
Frolicking in the snow, finding the odd coyote or cat poo to chew on and pooping where it can be showcased for all to see…that is just part of what they do! Before long, the novelty of the cold and snow wear off – the automatic door opener (me) must be fully operational and at the ready.
Once inside, they wish to sit by the cozy fire on their plush rug. Marley’s theatric display of tremor-like shivers sends me a pretty clear message that he’s chilled. I can’t say that I blame the dogs, because I too love would love to spend my day basking in the heat of the wood stove.
I know it’s going to be a great day when I see hot cherries lying on the floor of the wood stove. These little gems mean today’s fire is going to be a breeze to get started. Just a few twigs, kindling and a few large chunks of dry wood is all it takes.
As always, the dogs are right there. Watching. Waiting. Hoping, I don’t see their attempt to grab a piece of wood to chew on. They are always so eager and enamored by the process, underfoot and crowding the area with their impatience.
One nice thing about winter is the fact that by this time of the morning, it’s likely still dark outside. This means I can have a nice hot cup of coffee before the second phase of my chores begin. Winter spoils me this way. While the pups lay by the fire, I can finally take care of my urgent needs (if you get my drift).
That is not to say that I get showered, dressed for the day and eat breakfast…oh no. My daily list of To-Dos will likely take shape around this time. Recyclable items on the kitchen counter are taken out, yesterday’s eggs put away, a few lingering items picked up and the fire…now established, must be fed.
As the sun cuts through the darkness, I down the rest of my, now cold, coffee. Donning a hat, gloves, muck boots and a heavy winter jacket, it is time to get the chickens ready for their day.
Typically, my wardrobe of choice includes the PJs I’m still wearing from the night before. You see, this farm fashion statement is all the rage these days. The chickens probably wouldn’t recognize me without bed head and flannel pajama bottoms peeking out from underneath my winter gear.
Having planned ahead, the feed and scratch are put down at bedtime the night before. This makes morning chores in the brutal cold, much quicker. I don’t like to dally around because believe it or not, wind and cold can cut through flannel like a hot knife through butter!
Because the dogs generally have more business to attend to after their morning meal, they sometimes accompany me. They don’t help much and are always more interested in play or running into the woods to find trouble.
Entering the coop the chickens squawk out in hungry irritability. I open the slider door to the covered pen where they rush out in a flurry of excitement to eat their first meal of the day. While I on the other hand, stay in the coop to clean up their nightly mess, check their water and fluff nesting boxes.
After making relatively quick work of coop cleaning, I wrangle myself along with the dogs back inside. All the while, they jump, cut in front of me and at times proceed to trip me as they play. What a life.
At this point in the morning you’d think I could finally shower and dress for the day, not so. Dog food and water must now be topped off as 4 hungry mouths to feed wait for no one. This also is the time to trudge down into the bowels of the basement to check the cat food and water status.
As long as I don’t get sidetracked, I can now focus on my needs. Yes, getting dressed is a monumental moment for me. Just think, the rest of my daily work can now be completed with a bra on! That includes eating breakfast…finally!