A Sweet Break


Lulu and Fanny at the salt block

It’s become a kind of daily ritual for me.  Between 3 and 4 pm, I sit on the step of the back porch and place Minnie’s bowl of food next to me.  Minnie rubs up against me and I scratch her under the chin before she starts eating.

The hens are already there.  Like the rest of the animals, they know when it’s time to eat.

I either place a plastic bowl with leftovers on the stone path in front of me for the chickens, or I have an old muffin or piece of bread that I break into tiny pieces and toss to them one at a time.

At some point Fate, who has been waiting patiently at the pasture gate, comes to see what the hens are eating.  Fate listens when I tell her to back off.  She knows she’ll get a treat eventually.

Today I saw a tiny ant running frantically back and forth with an even smaller crumb from the stale cracker I tossed to the chickens.

Everyone gets something.

I sit there for as long as it takes Minnie to eat her food.  Then, Fate and I go to the barnyard.

This time of year I pick up a couple of apples that have fallen from the tree to give to Fanny and Lulu.  Then I toss a handful of the smaller apples over the fence for the sheep.  I fill the water bucket, scooping out any insects that might have fallen in and are still alive.

I’ll kill a fly in the house, buy rescue it from drowning in the water bowls outside.

I brush the donkeys,  Lulu still has some winter hair, but Fanny is as sleek as a seal, then muck out the barn.

I used to try chasing the hens away from Minnie’s food.  But it never really worked, they always came back, even if I lured them away with something as tempting as mealworms.  And that only got me annoyed and frustrated.

Now it’s much better.  I guess I have the hens to thank for that.  They got me to slow down and appreciate this part of my day a little more.

I always loved feeding and taking care of the animals, its a nurturing and satisfying thing to do.  But now,   it’s become an even sweeter break in my day.

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