This morning I was feeding critters under a gentle patter of rain. There are times when I am tired or don’t feel like going out on my regular chore round, but for the most part I enjoy this part of my day.
Even in the rain. Or maybe especially in the rain. I like doing it in the snow, too. I have one of those long western-styled raincoats and a hat, and I wear my rubber boots.
All of the animals are waiting and ready every morning. You would think that something that occurs daily, in the same order with the same characters, in the same place, would eventually become boring.
Not so. Even though all the players are the same from day to day, week to week, and year to year and I make the same path in the same order at roughly the same time of day every day, it is not.
Each morning and evening is unique in its own right and I don’t really know how to explain why that is.
We don’t have any “single” animals. And even though an individual animal might die or a new one might join the team, it hasn’t changed the groups much in a decade at least, so I don’t see it changing a whole lot in the future going forward.
Each group has its place in the routine and expect that routine to not vary by much time or sequence. They get irritable when it does, but on occasion I do go about things differently just to keep anyone from becoming too set in their ways.
Most of the time the order follows this one.
First on the feeding critters route are the dogs. We have three of them and they have a certain order in which they are fed. One of them is on a lead now because he keeps fighting with Badger, and the order would adjust to feed him first if he weren’t. But because he can’t object very effectively now, the first one I feed is Bobbie Sue. She’s the oldest. Then Badger, and then Turbo.
After that are the chickens and cats. The cats insist on being first. They’re more obnoxious than the chickens and stay under my feet and at my shoulder on the loft ladder meowing and tapping at me until they see me en-route with the scoop of food going to the loft. Then they rush ahead and get in position to receive.
The chickens are waiting all this time, even less patient than the others.
Arnold is the only chicken with a name. He is my husband’s favorite chicken because he got to watch him from egg to first crow. The other chickens are all locked up in the hen house right now because they keep roosting all over the place and I have no idea where all the eggs are going.
So if I lock them up for a few days then they’ll most likely return to the house to roost instead of going in the shed and in the trees.
And hopefully they’ll deposit the eggs in the nest boxes in the hen house, too, rather than wherever it is that they’ve been hiding them.
The horses are next. They’re far less patient than any of the other impatient critters.
The horses have interesting personalities too. Comanche always, always, grabs his bowl and dumps half of his food before he begins eating. I don’t know why he feels the need to do this.
My son joked with me the last time he fed them and said he just went on and threw half of Comanche’s food on the ground to save him the effort.
Shasta always nibbles the side of her bowl in between each bite. She’s so much more polite while waiting for her food and doesn’t try to hurry me at the gate when I get there like Comanche does.
But she has a habit of carrying her bowl to hard to find niches between rocks down the hill.
I didn’t get a good picture of the horses. But here’s one that shows the path to the gate.
We live in a beautiful and wild place. There’s no “lawn”. And there are rocks and weeds and trees everywhere. Sooner or later we’ll get some of it under a bit of control.
The colors are beautiful right now. Here’s how it looks past the garden toward the back. There’s cardboard in the garden right now, waiting for me to cover the rows between the beds. This works really good for keeping the garden from looking too wild with weeds. There is always a lot of earthworms underneath the cardboard, so the kids pull it back to get a few when they go fishing.
The old tractor hasn’t moved in a while, but it still looks pretty, especially in fall and snow.
I haven’t named the chickens or the cats, but I did name a tree. This is Gloria. She’s a white oak or post oak and is probably around 200 years old. I added a filter because I loved the vintage effect.
That’s it for this morning’s walkabout. Hope you enjoyed the task!
Predator and Prey, or the hunter and the hunted is a common theme throughout my fiction writing. No Qualms, one of my short stories (free at most retailers) is about about a predator/prey relationship. Symbiosis, my first finished novel, not published yet, deals with predator/prey relationships and the balance of energy among life on earth, sometimes symbolic and often outright. Many of my flash fiction stories (I have twitterfiction and 100-word flash stories) are also dealing with this same dynamic. This is a strong theme that runs through most of my fiction and is strongly influenced by life in the wild Ozarks where we live. My first published novel, First Hunt, also has a predator and prey theme to it. I guess it's just part of my nature.
Wild Ozark is 160 acres of beautiful wild Ozark mountains. I call what I do "nature farming" because the land produces, all by itself, the shagbark hickory trees, ferns, moss, ground-fall botanicals, and the perfect habitats for growing and stewarding American ginseng. I'm co-creating with Nature - all of the things I use to make the Fairy Gardens and Forest Folk, the bark we harvest for Burnt Kettle's shagbark hickory syrup, are produced by nature without my input. This land is my muse for inspiration when it comes to my writing, drawing, and photography. It's truly a Nature Farm.
About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods
I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.