My favorite time of day is the morning meet-and-greet out at the barn. I feel like a major celebrity. On the walk out, the first thing I hear is the crowing and clucking of the chickens sounding the fanfare that, “Mommy’s coming!” They crane their feathery necks to see around the corner as the gravel crunches under my approaching feet.
When the barn garage door goes up, the goats jump off their lounging perches and begin “Baaa-ing” at the place where I always appear with their big scoop of pellets. I open the door into the chicken run and there they all are, clustered in front and looking up expectantly. I say, “Good morning, Girls!” (Internally, I tell myself I need to change up the script.) I open their run so they can spread out into the barnyard and they head right to their favorite spots for the morning bug hunt.
The goats crowd me as I step into their yard to pat their chins and push them out of my way to head for their shelter. They bounce around my legs, wagging their tails and feigning innocence as they bump me with the sides of their horns on the way to the food trough. I have to use those horns as levers to hold them out of the way so I can dump the pellets. Their greatest triumph is if they can bump the scooper so it spills all over the floor.
Next, I head back to the barn and get a scoop of cracked corn to scatter into the chicken run. I am training them to come running when I say the traditional, “Here chick-chick-chick!” They like the corn, but out of the corners of their beady little eyes they are watching for the bag of dried meal worms for dessert. This is like Christmas every day.
As I close up the barn doors to leave them all to it for the day, I notice that the massive bag of peanuts we bought for goat treats has been chewed open by the barn mice and is leaking onto the floor. One more task to tackle, later. The chickens are delighted to find this cache of extra treats.
Last, I pick up the morning eggs, snap off a handful of fresh asparagus, and head back to the house for my own breakfast. On a sunny spring morning, I feel a warm glow of satisfaction with my farm. Who knew that I would become a farmer at this point in my life? What an unexpected pleasure.