Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On “The Farm” Life Is Certainly Entertaining

This morning was one of those mornings that held a delightful surprise for me. It wasn’t yet dawn when I crawled out of bed, got dressed and started my morning farm chores. The morning was rainy and damp and I didn’t relish the thought of getting out in it and experiencing the ambiance of a cold, wet day. Morning farm chores. Sounds positively dreadful, doesn’t it? Well, let me explain…

My mom started calling the acreage I bought “The Farm” from almost the first day she heard about it. The name stuck, even though, in fact, it was not a real farm. We have always had dogs and cats but up until this year we had no livestock. Three hens, a rooster, and three guinea fowl are now my livestock. Livestock!

Since I am now an official farmer I have official farm chores, which include letting the birds out of their coop in the morning, giving them feed and water, and closing them up in the coop at night. These chores are not something I shirk or try to avoid. I know from owning dogs and cats that they need daily attention to not just live, but to thrive, and I happily try to give them what they need to be happy dogs and cats. And now I do the same for my chickens and guineas.

In fact, I enjoy working with the birds, especially the chickens. Each time I approach their covered yard they run to the gate to greet me. I’m sure they are expecting a treat but I prefer to think they are happy to see me. As I work in their yard, giving them feed and water, they follow me around and two of the hens come up close and watch me. I pet them frequently, thinking that they will be used to human contact when it comes time to clip their wings and then remove the netting from the yard so the guineas can roam freely, eating the dreaded ticks that plague the other animals on The Farm.

This morning it had started to rain so I decided to open the coop up early in case the rain got harder and I wouldn’t have to go out in a downpour later on. I figured that the birds weren’t even awake yet since I hadn’t heard Crowlee (our rooster) crowing. I grabbed my raincoat but didn’t grab my camera because it was too dark to take pictures anyway. The dogs and I made our way to the yard and I opened the door to the coop. The chickens weren’t too anxious to get out of their cozy coop and into the rain, and I was ready to get back into the house. Then it happened. Crowlee crowing. What’s special about a rooster crowing? This time it wasn’t an ordinary crow, the one he crows regularly. No this was Crowlee making his trilling crow. He was still in the coop, but he was crowing and trilling. I wasn’t sure if he would still be crow-trilling if I went back to the house to get the camera to record it, but I decided to try anyway. When I got back to the chicken yard with the camera he was nice enough to crow for me a time or two. Thank heavens I was able to catch it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Tag Team Alarm Clock

Do you need an alarm clock to wake up every morning? I certainly don’t! At times I daydream about the high pitched rhythmic “beep, beep, beep” of my old alarm, wishing that it could awaken me out of my dreamy slumber like it used to. But alas, my alarm clock has become worthless. Useless. Not at all necessary. Yes, my alarm clock went the way of the Dodo bird.

And why is my alarm clock extinct? Well, you see, I have cats. Not just any cats. Special cats. Cats who have a built-in alarm system all their own. And they are nice enough to share.

It usually starts with Mini walking up the length of the bed stopping near my pillow where she sits and waits for me to wake up enough to get up to feed her. Instead I move her away, then roll over and try to snuggle back into the covers for another few minutes of sleep. Again she walks back up beside me and tries the “slap at the light switch” and the “climb the lampshade” maneuvers. I move her away from the lamp and try something different by rolling over, scooping her into my arms and trying to hold her down, hoping she will settle in and decide to sleep with me a while longer. Since her efforts have not resulted in their morning feeding her brothers Bart and Yowlee step in and take their turns. One of the two will jump up on the bed and attack my feet while the other lies down on the floor and uses his claws to pull him along the perimeter of the box springs. Now I snap my fingers, which at some remote time in the past worked to stop the cats from their bad behaviors, but not this time. No, the clawing at the box springs continues, sounding like the plucking of a guitar string below the bridge. Plunk, plink, plooopk. Noises guaranteed to get me out of bed and reach for the spray bottle of water I keep next to the bed to discipline the cats. I step around the end of the bed and aim the spray nozzle at the cats but they are not there. They have skittered down the hall and are now waiting in the kitchen for their expected breakfast.

No, I don’t need an alarm clock any more, and if you’d like one of mine I would certainly consider sharing.

I wonder. . . would I miss my purring foot warmers?

The cats enjoying their breakfast after getting me up.