I love to do the morning chores. There is something so satisfying about being the first person the animals see in the morning. As I trudge through the crusty snow to open the greenhouse door, I can’t wait to greet the chickens and to feel them pecking at the snow still clinging to my rubber boots (my favorite: www.lacrossefootwear.com). The water is sometimes frozen, occasionally I get soaked trying to fill the water buckets, there is often poop to clean out of the nesting boxes, but the work is honest and I feel so connected to the earth and to my food.
I take an egg with me for the cat and get my daily dose of cute as I watch him lap the golden yolk. I head into the barn to fill the water trough for the cows and to check on the goats. I hook up the hose to the pump and listen as the water begins to fill the hose. Sometimes I sweep while the trough is filling up and other times I just watch the animals. I watch the steam rising from their backs, their breath slowly puffing out like smoke, and their black marble eyes watching me watching them. The trough is full and I disconnect the hose. I pull the end out of the trough and hold it high above my head, rhythmically walking hand over hand toward the other end, draining the water so it won’t freeze. I breathe in the fragrant aroma of fermenting hay and I say thank you to the cows on my way out of the barn.
I breathe deeply and enjoy being outside for the few minutes a day that I have alone without the kids. I walk slowly and carefully through the barnyard and down the hill back to the greenhouse. I wonder how many eggs the hens have laid?