This morning, it was warm and light enough for me to do chores at 6:30 am. I donned Grandpa’s quilted flannel shirt and stepped out into a toasty 36 degrees. It was like that first warm day of spring, where my arms feel sun after months of deprivation.
I blessed the straw that Philip had thrown on the ground that is quickly helping me appreciate that New England time of year – mud season – and got the chickens loose with my usual “Good morning, every birdy.” I fed them and carried hay from the wagon shed to the goats, who have been waddling about the pasture with a bit of spring-hoped vigor all morning. I dropped some food in Bella and Boone’s dishes and patted the white gal on the head – her eyes cross every time. Then, I watched the goats’ delight as the sweet feed made an reappearance after a rather disappointing bag of regular grain.
One more chore to go – water for the chickens. I came inside, put the kettle on to boil, and started the human sustenance of coffee. A pretty typical and easy morning, I thought. Of course, this was a jinxing thought if ever there was one.
I picked up the kettle and leftover quesadillas for the chicken’s treat and headed out the side door to the run. After pulling open the run door, I tossed the tortilla, beans, and cheese to the crew and bent to pour steaming water in their frozen water trough. . . . just in time to hear the tell-tale squawk of a chicken under attack.
I turned to see Sabeen chasing Lily (or was it Petunia? To my human eyes, these gals are twins) up into the crepe myrtle outside the run. Good thing our girls can fly. Xander the rooster was screaming his fool head off, and I was dropping the kettle and headed for Lily when I heard the side storm door slam open and saw Meander charging, her collar for the invisible fence tucked neatly on the table by the front door.
But here’s where miracles happen. Sabeen gave up on Lily, and I was able to lift Meander (remember, no collar by which to pull her) up 5 steps back into the house. I grabbed the offended cat and tossed him after her, hoping Philip and Mosey didn’t mind a little tussle for a wake-up call. Then, I went back and coaxed Lily – after a few tries – back into the run, where Xander quickly herded her into the coop for safe-keeping.
This balmy morning had me in a sweat before 7am, and I am very grateful I didn’t have to do all this shuttling and guiding on the frozen rain of yesterday. Small gifts.
Here, we have a lot of lives to keep going, and sometimes, little things get missed – like shutting the door to the chicken run when doing morning chores. Yet, in equal measure, we have grace and gift and the miracle of fickle cat nature.
I’m doing my best these days to see these little fiascos for what they are – reminders that much of life is beyond our control and, therefore, it’s just best if I learn to herd a chicken, lift a dog, write the story, and laugh all the while.
We are hosting three Writing Retreats here on the farm this summer – two day-long workshops and one weekend retreat. We’d love to have you join us. You can get more information and sign up here – http://andilit.com/writers-retreat-at-gods-whisper-farm/.