After an excessively long day at work, I drove straight home trying to beat the steady retreat of the sun. Using the last fading rays to help me, I gathered eggs, filled waterers, and doled out feed to the menagerie that has grown to include chickens, guineas, a turkey, goats, cattle, horses, and even three pigs that will soon share freezer space with old "Bellar" the yellow heifer that we fattened last year. And while the nasty cold did make me move a little quicker, my brain slowly wandered over what I had to do next.
You see, life on a farm has it's own routine. It's kind of like standing in the middle of a ballroom and waiting for the music to decide which dance to begin. Whether it's whirling through the rush of hay-making or the peaceful calm of filling water troughs for the horses, each season and activity has it's own pace and procedure.
The sound of crowing roosters and the soft cackle of hens laying their eggs provides the sound track for scattering cracked corn for scratching and filling waterers and then robbing the hens of their hard-earned prizes. And the challenge of battle from that small, over-confident banty rooster only adds excitment to the task. (Until he catches you!)
With the goats, there's nothing more soothing than watching as the baby goats twist and turn, jump and play while their mothers scramble to and fro for the best spot at the feed trough. It's remembering how that bossy nanny-goat was such a small, sweet baby when you had to get up 30 minutes earlier just so that you could feed her two bottles before you headed off to work, and how she rules the entire herd now. And, when the time is right, it's the soft, steady hiss of warm milk streaming into the metal pail.
With the cows, it's the rush of wind as you drive through the herd putting out range pellets or hay and the calls of calves searching for their mothers. Or the sun shining down on your cheeks as you race around the field on the 4-wheeler while you check for new baby calves in the spring and summer. And who could forget the rough tongue of an overly-friendly heifer who thinks that she's going to get fed any time you're near her. (I call her Precious... Daddy calls her Fatty!)
There are days, like today, when after 12 hours of work all I want to do is crash on the couch and make like a vegetable. But, more often than that, I find myself wandering around, listening to the rythmn of the farm and hoping for a chance to step into it's unique routine.