As fall turns into winter, and the nights get colder, my bed feels so good. I awaken at 5:00 am with a five pound dog standing on my chest with her nose on mine. With a giggle I lay in bed listening to the deep steady breath of the man next to me and the quietness of the house. A rooster’s crow breaks the silence. My mind runs through the day and what needs to be done. Grabbing a sweatshirt and slippers, I step into the dark quietness of the house. My mind is flooded with memories of winters when my children were small- rubbing sleepy eyes, wanting stories read, and marshmallows in their hot cocoa while staring at the Christmas tree.
I believe that joy can be attained by a mug that fits your hand perfectly, and when filled with something warm will bring great comfort and peace. My steps take me to the kitchen where my red tea pot is ready to go to work. The dark is beginning to fade to light after a few chores and the whistle from the pot tells me it is time for tea. A little honey and a drop of milk and I am heading for my chair overlooking the front pastures. Little black shadows move in the pasture, and an occasional crow or cluck lets us know they are chickens. As my cup of tea comes to an end and my sleepy little dog is perfectly comfortable in my lap, I look out the window at the eerie fog that moves like a living creature through the fields and pastures.
The goats wake up and walk to the fence and we stare at each other for a while. They slowly head to their trough. I gently take my little dog off my lap and put her on the chair as I go to change into muck boots and Carhartt. When the door squeaks open, a fluffy little dog zooms between my feet, ready for chores. We are greeted by the two big outside dogs, and we all head out to the back barn. The cats are meowing as if they have not been fed in a year and the back pasture goats begin to wake up and gently talk to me as I prepare their breakfast. Truffles, the guard llama is always asking for grain by staring so intently at me and I can feel her screaming I WANT GRAIN...Filling the wheelbarrow with alfalfa, I head to the front pasture. All the goats in the front pasture are with Jasper, the stinky buck, making little babies who will come into the world in April. I like to talk to the goats about the morning and the naughty dogs, and how I cannot wait to meet their babies and drink fresh goat milk. The dogs are running around like crazy possessed creatures and barking at the chickens who are running around like mad. Walking along the fence always make me laugh as thirty-five birds run right next to me to their feeding area. Five scoops of food and baby talking, I head to the coop and collect eggs. Some are warm from just being laid. What a gift these birds give me. I look over at the goats who are eating, and lift my head to look up as the last of the leaves gently float by me. This skeleton landscape makes me feel that there is a secret story of spring yet to come, and it is exciting! The big dogs are thrilled to see me back on their side of the fence and jump on my pocket full of eggs. As I scoop out my pocket, the dogs fight and tumble to get their share. One of the goats leaves her breakfast to come see what’s happening. A gentle pat and sweet words send her back to her food, and I take the wheelbarrow back to the barn.
“Okay” I tell everyone. “Let’s go!” And we head back to the house where delicious doggy breakfast awaits. I pour the drippings of last night’s roast on to the dog food and fill their water. Soon I will have to have the water heaters plugged in. Quietly I walk back to the barn, kiss the fat, happy goats while hold a purring cat, and tell my little dog to not be jealous as I kiss the barn cats. Off to the house for another cup of tea and to make a list of things that still need to be done.