I take a vacation every morning when I go out to do chores. Chores at Sassafras Farm still feel like a vacation, and I am reminded daily of how easy it is here. Easy when I just, pow, flip the switch on the water faucet. Easy when I just, pow, toss a bale of hay out of the window of the hayloft. Easy when I sashay across the flat ground of the barnyard, faced with no greater obstacle than half a dozen chickens trying to trip me because they think I might have something in my pocket. Chores at Stringtown Rising Farm invariably meant getting something from one inconvenient location to another inconvenient location, slugging through mud, maybe climbing over a gate, hauling a bucket of water, and so on. I advise everyone to start with the most difficult farm you can find. Then after you are really, really tired, move to a properly laid out farm. Then you will never complain about chores for the rest of your life because a little hardship goes a long way, makes a really long-lasting mental picture, and you can spend the rest of your days in gratitude.
Chloe is still coming back to the house in the evenings.
Right at dusk, I go out to feed the chickens in the barnyard, at the same time enticing any that flew out of the barnyard during the day back in there. I’ve been pretty successful at keeping most of the chickens in the barnyard and around the barn most of the time now, and the chicken poop on the back porch has decreased accordingly. After I give the chickens their dinner, I let Chloe out of the goat yard and bring her back up to the house. I feed her dinner, let her sit at my feet in the house for an hour or two, take her out to potty, then she goes into a very large crate on the back porch for the night.
I bring her up to the house because she would never get any dinner if I fed her in the goat yard. The goats would steal it. In the morning, I give her breakfast then back she goes to the goat yard for the day. She was scared of the goats at first, but now she tries to be like them.
For some reason, they like that dry hay stuff! She nuzzles around at it to imitate them.
Sometimes she jumps in it, right in the middle of them, and that’s just one of a number of reasons they find a puppy so annoying. They question why I torture them so.
Sometimes I see that particular look on her face, the early, yet unformed visage of the livestock guardian.
But it’s too exhausting to maintain for long because, after all, she’s only a puppy.
About once a week, I take her on a car ride to pick up Morgan from track practice. I want to keep her accustomed to getting in and out of a vehicle voluntarily.
I’ve had the donkeys in with the sheep for a few weeks now. I moved them even before the cows moved.
The rear barnyard is on bedrest for now.
I’m hoping to get most of my fencing repairs and other new fencing done by the end of March. Grass is growing and we have warm temperatures in the forecast for the next week, too. I don’t expect we’ve seen all of the last of winter, but I believe the cold snaps left to go will be brief. We are having an early spring, and I am glad to see grass! I have just enough hay left to make it.
And, I have a sneak tidbit for you today: Remember my promise to Morgan when I brought her to see the farm for the first time? This weekend, we are going to look at a couple of rescue horses. I won’t bring one home until the fencing repairs are finished and there is grass in the fields, but we are going to start exploring while I’m making the preparations at the farm. We stopped by the little store last night on the way home from track practice and Morgan fondled the bridles, halters, and saddles. I told her it was too soon to think about any of that. She wanted to get something for her horse. I let her buy an 89 cent hoof pick. She was happy!