This time of year I’m not outside all that much, especially with a still-healing broken foot. My afternoons are usually spent trying to control some of the mud that is constantly tracked in by dogs, doing laundry that is constantly being soiled by kids, starting and tending seeds, cooking, and other such housework-related stuff.
But the mornings! A whole lot of farm stuff gets packed into the hour before I take the kids to school. Here’s how it all goes down.
First: The Coffee
I am not a morning person, so please don’t assume that any of these chores are done with a smile on my face or a spring in my step. They are done because they have to be done. And to do it, I need a good large cup of coffee.
Second: Release the Ducks!
These guys are loudest as I walk out the back door, so I usually let them out first. They are literally crowding their pop door, screaming at me to let them out. I oblige, then fill their two metal bowls with crumbled feed while trying not to step on the impatiently honking waterfowl crowding around my feet. If the temperatures dipped below freezing, as they are wont to do this time of year, then I also take a rake and break the scrim of ice covering their pond. Rain or shine, those Puddle Ducks like to swim.
Third: Let the Chickens Out Too, I Guess
Chickens are next on my list, although they don’t usually leave their coop until the sun has sufficiently risen above the trees. I check their feeder and refill it if it’s necessary, do the same with their water, and then spread scratch grains out in their run. As long as no one is pecking anyone else to death, the chickens are literally the easiest animals to care for. Also the most boring.
Fourth: Feed the Goats
Okay, I lied. THIS chore is done with a smile. These goats are so excited to see me every morning, just like dogs. I give them half a cup each of pelleted feed, then play referee as they eat, keeping them from stealing from each others bowls. After I feed them, I usually spend a little while talking to them and petting them, brushing them, refilling their water and chastising them on their blatant waste of perfectly good hay. It’s a good time.
Fifth: Second Cup of Coffee
Necessary and non-negotiable.
Sixth: Dogs and Cats Get Some Food, Maybe
It’s the girls’s job to feed the dogs and cats, so I usually just remind them five times to do it while drinking my second cup of coffee.
Seventh: Off to School
The most stressful, whirlwind part of my morning — getting two young humans and all their assorted school detritus out of the house and into the car. There are backpacks and papers and no socks and have you seen my shoes and water bottles and lunch boxes and I forgot to brush my teeth and where’s my library book it’s due todaaaaay?! Even if we’ve organized everything the night before, these interminable minutes before getting out the door are chaos. Finally, impossibly, miraculously, we buckle up and head out.
And that, my friends, are what morning chores on the farmstead look like this time of year. What are chores like at your house?