Whenever my grandfather’s secretary needs days off, he asks me to come fill in. I usually don’t mind since it means a little extra cash (which usually goes straight into books and chicken feed) and a free lunch, but I really didn’t want to go yesterday. It was BEAUTIFUL out and who wants to spend a beautiful Friday in an office when they don’t really have to? But I went, because I had said I would and I couldn’t take it back just because it was the first beautiful day in months.
Luckily for me, I apparently racked up some good karma in sacrificing my day. At noon, Granddad came and told me to go on home. The phone wasn’t ringing and there wasn’t anything for me to do, so he cut me loose. I literally ran to the car! I was so excited. It’s funny- I almost never have to be in the office (his or mine), but the moment that I do, I feel like I’ve been locked in there for weeks. Four hours was enough to make me feel claustrophobic. It was sunny and blissfully warm as I zoomed back home. All I wanted to do was sit in the sun and fresh air, read a book, and enjoy my chickens, so I loaded my backpack up with books, water, and snacks (for me and them), and headed for the chicken yard.
When I got up to the yard, I saw that, once again, the girls were all inside while the boys pranced around in the yard. So I decided to make it a girls’ day- locked the boys up in the coop and let the girls out to sunbathe and graze uninterrupted by juvenile attempts at romance. Even gimpy little Madeline got into the spirit of the afternoon and ran around with the others. When she got tired, she came and plopped right down in my lap and demanded I hand-feed her clover. That made Gretel jealous, so she came and climbed on top of Madeline, who didn’t particularly seem to mind. I wished I had a camera with me.
The cows have an insatiable curiosity about the chickens, especially when I’m sitting in the yard with them, so they came over to investigate. For a while they just milled about, checking everything out and wondering what I could possibly be doing sitting in the middle of their field. Eventually they realized that the chickens and I were on to something and they all laid down for a nice little siesta just on the other side of the fence- it was like a moat around a castle, only one made of cows instead of water! The two new calves were trying to prove they were brave and kept dashing over to nibble my hair and then dashing off when they wimped out.
It was a superb way to spend an entire afternoon.
Today was another beautiful day. The Hunt Club was out on the farm today for a fox hunt (no foxes are intentionally injured, just chased a little bit), so there were lots of friends to visit with and lots of horses to ogle and covet. I decided not to ride today since I don’t have a hunt horse of my own anymore and riding a school horse usually means a student doesn’t get to ride. Instead, I recruited some of my young cousins and Tracy to help me move the chicken coop again. It gets easier each time, but I still really really need to purchase a netted fence to replace the metal panels. I sat with the chickens for about ½ an hour and put fresh hay in their nest boxes, then went up to collect some worms from my sister’s freshly tilled flower beds.
My brother-in-law’s sister had taken my niece to the park today, but was dropping her off just as I got there. She didn’t want to sit in her seat and watch everyone work so I grabbed her up and we went to sit in the hammock. She’s at that delightful stage where she wants to touch your face constantly (even though her fingers are covered in drool) and babble to you constantly. We swang for a while and talked and sang. I noticed that she was fighting really hard to stay awake- she hates to miss anything. Finally, she twined her fingers into my hair, snuggled her adorable little face into my neck, and passed right out. We napped and snuggled in the hammock for about an hour and a half, until my parents and their best friends, my brother and his girlfriend, and my sister’s friend all showed up (it happens a lot out here, especially on beautiful weekends). We decided to have an impromptu bbq and enjoy the last of a wonderful day.
It’s days like these that make me really treasure the life I am creating out here in the country, surrounded by family and nature and animals. I wouldn’t trade this for all the $100K jobs in the world!