Morning routine

Anna is settling in well and learning the routines of our life. She watches the door for her breakfast in the morning and when she sees me come out the look just intensifies. Then she follows me as I follow my feeding routine.

The routine starts by collecting the 3 different bowls of food from the back deck. Into the first and largest bowl goes some lucerne chaff. Anna loves lucerne and being in chaff form makes it easier to eat for her. One of the reasons she’s a little on the skinny side is that she has come a cropper with something hard at some time in her life and broken off the teeth on one side of her mouth. Foraging and chewing up tough plant stems isn’t easy for her with only one side of her mouth able to bite. So she loves the chaff as she can munch it down with ease. I then fill an old colander with some chook grains then finally a small round plastic take away dish with chick crumbles. Stacking these all up and then balancing on my way down the stairs I head for the greenhouse.

Excuse the toys and sundry all over the place - we're focusing more on the getting things done than the cleaning up.

Excuse the toys and sundry all over the place – we’re focusing more on the getting things done than the cleaning up.

Inside the greenhouse I have my grain sprouting set up. I also have a cheeky mouse who has resisted attempts to bury and drown him out. Next step is find a cat and Here’s hoping it’s a hungry or playful cat. I do NOT like feeding rodents. Anyway, I take a tray of sprouted grains and put half in Anna’s bowl with her chaff, close up the greenhouse and head to the chook pen gate. Can I still call it a chook pen with chooks, ducks AND a goat?

Anna at this point has been watching me in the greenhouse but then follows me at a prance up to the gate where she waits for her tucker. She knows already that I won’t feed her just anywhere, but only in her bowl inside the shed. Still, she waits eagerly, trotting in front of me much like a large dog with hooves, not trying to get to the food but desperate to be where it is. “Hey Anna. How you doing lovely lady? In the shed you go. Come on girl, out of my way. Into the shed. Thaaaat’s a girl, here, head out of your bowl til I tip in the food. I know you’re hungry but out f the way. Here it comes.” Yes, I keep up the chatter as I visit with my lady. πŸ™‚ Once she’s chowing down I head into the now fortified chooks side of the shed to tip in their grain. Mandy greeted me very loudly this morning with a “Hey lady, hurry up there. I’m STARVING hungry as that mean old goat keeps stealing our food. I hope you’ve sorted it this time already!” To which I reply with a “Hey Miss Mandy. Has mean old Anna eaten all your food again? Sorry lovely. Here you go. I’m sorting it out for you at the moment but here’s hoping the newly locked door stops her in her tracks.” A quick look for eggs, a release of the roosters and then back out of the chooks shed. We bar the roosters into a nesting box each at night so they can’t arch those long necks to wake us at the 2-hours-before-the-crack-of-dawn that they consider dawn. They still manage to crow but nowhere near as much or as loudly. The only problem is we have the room to lock 4 in and we have 5-6 crowing roos.

We’re also looking at a different feeder for our various fowl as we’re wasting a lot and we also want to stop the goats from accessing it. Yes, goats. I’m planning for the future when Anna has babies. πŸ™‚ I’ve started off following up inspiration from Gavin from Greening of Gavin fame. He has a new chook feeder that is working a treat for him although won’t work so well with our ducks but the inspiration has helped immensely. Thanks Gav. πŸ™‚

My wonderfully green veggie gardens in the background

My wonderfully green veggie gardens in the background

Once the chooks and duck are done I head out with the last and smallest bowl for Miss Blackie and her chicks. If I fed her first I would be mobbed by hungry creatures clamouring for their food so she and her babies wait until last. I tip in their food, check that their waterer has enough water for the day, pat anything I can reach or catch and then close their pen back up to keep them safe and to keep Anna away from their food. Being crumbled pellets it’s really not good for Anna at all so it’s vitally important she can’t reach it.

Animals fed, I bemoan the cold (it was 2 degrees out there in fairly thick fog with frost and dew earlier this morning) before heading back inside via the feed bins to deposit the various feed carrying bowls and containers ready for tomorrows run (and Anna’s dinner run too). As much as it is insanely cold I don’t mind the morning feed run. It’s quieter and more peaceful than the same run required inside I can tell you. πŸ˜‰

I feel distinctly farmer-like in my gumboots and feeding our livestock, but a little less so when I consider that I’m in my oh-so-sexy knitted trousers (hey, they’re warm), a woolen jumper and crocheted hat. It’s a good look but it is warm so I don’t care. πŸ˜€ If it’s not raining or nothing is pressing inside I also stop and just stand and soak in the glory of the morning. The sun was just over the hill and sending light-sabres of gold through the trees as I stood, breathing in the clean (but icy) air this morning. It’s pretty much a perfect winters day. πŸ™‚

Winter sun seems so special. I can see the smoke from the wood-fire and the dust motes dancing in those beams as I type.

Winter sun seems so special. I can see the smoke from the wood-fire and the dust motes dancing in those beams as I type.

The best bit of all though? Miss Anna is becoming more and more comfortable with me. She’s a bit antsy about me stroking and touching her all over at the moment but gets a little more comfortable every single day which is great. Slowly slowly is the motto here, patience is something that I am generally not soΒ never good at so it’s a great learning experience for me too. πŸ™‚

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23 thoughts on “Morning routine

  1. Sue says:

    Patience has never been one of my strong points either πŸ™‚
    I delegate animal feeding to the children who are a little bit older than yours and able to enjoy the responsibility ( though less so now the mornings are chilly πŸ˜‰ )
    I do miss the interaction with them though so I often find myself visiting them during the day to just say hello and check that everything is as it should be.
    I totally agree about feeding animals and feeding children. It seems to become more chaotic once they are able to get their own breakfasts too πŸ˜‰

    • The kids will be coming to help me when they want and soon, most days. Jas is more than just a little scared of Anna though (she is the same height head to head so fair call) but he has helped me prepare her food, albeit for dinner. Allegra is less scared of Anna and has patted her and her job will be the chickens as she loves her Honey hen (poor chook gets pounced upon any time Allegra sees her) and loves collecting the eggs too.
      As for the kids, they’re on the cusp of that now. They’re up and down from the table, refilling water etc and helping themselves to the fruit bowl but I don’t mind. We don’t have cereals in our house though, breakfast is eggs etc or porridge or toast, none of which they can yet do themselves (we toast on the wood stove in winter) so for now my kitchen is little people safe… Ok, breakfast is safe. The kitchen is invaded at least 5 times each mealtime… Per child! πŸ˜‰

      • Sue says:

        I hear you!
        The 6 year old is not so confident around the chickens but he is happy to tag along if someone else is there for moral support.
        My 9 and 10 year olds are both budding cooks so are more than capable of making their own porridge which they do ( though one of us is never far away ) They just havent quite worked out how much porridge is needed in the pan yet πŸ˜‰ it tends to be a bit hit and miss most mornings!
        We tend to use our wood fire for most cooking through the winter months too. Last night we had a delicious casserole made from vegies from ours or someone elses garden ( produce swap ) and the kids polished off the lot which is always pleasing.

  2. missusmoonshine says:

    Hehe, my gumboot collection is growing, I just took delivery of a tall pair (I also have some sloggers which are good when the weather’s hot, I also need some medium length ones I think!) I’m excited to follow your goat adventures, I’d love some one day.

  3. When I was on a dairy farm we had a wee bichon friese dog, 2 lambs and twin baby goats who had lost their Mum. I went out one day leaving the back door open for the dog and came home some hours later to find my house a mess – s..t everywhere..all the beds had been jumped on and all 5 animals asleep on the couch lol. They grew up and were lovely but very naughty. I’m sworn off goats ever since but hope you enjoy yours πŸ™‚

    • Snort! I’m sorry but that is rather funny. Aside from the poop. It sounds much like human kids would do if left unsupervised. Well mine would for sure if they could get away with it! πŸ˜‰
      Shame that’s done it for life for you against goats. Did it put you off sheep too?

      • The sheep were worse, never could keep them contained. But it was fun times. I have met lots of lovely goats since πŸ™‚ I expect it would’ve made a very funny video lol

        • I follow a blog 23Thorns who recently wrote abut baboons breaking into houses in South Africa and they do a similar thing. They eat any and every available source of food, rifle through everything else and poop everywhere. I even saw a video of it and man I was laughing. Very sympathetic of the poor owners of course but still, it made for good viewing. The moral of that story w to never leave a window open if you’re not home when Africa. Maybe one day a goat will endear themselves enough to you. πŸ™‚ I can well imagine your face coming home happy, opening the door to seeing the destruction and that priceless moment when you find the culprits all fast asleep together. That image has made my morning! πŸ˜€

          • lol, I often think about it and laugh.
            I will have to watch that….I imagine it’s hysterical when it’s someone else’s house lol.

            My sister in law lives in Brazil and has the same problem with the spider monkeys who live in her garden.

  4. greeningofgavin says:

    Jessie, you are truly incredible. I don’t stop by for a few days, and now you have a goat! You are the inspirational one, my friend.

    No drama about the feeder advice. Just part of the sustainable living service.

    I will have to organise another visit soon. Looking forward to the Chevre.

    Gav x

    • Welcome ANY time Gav. πŸ™‚ Actually I was thinking of you all last night… We had pizza for dinner πŸ˜€
      Reading your post really was a huge inspiration although sadly the same brand won’t work for us due to the ducks beak shape.
      As for cheese, well I need to get me some equipment first. πŸ™‚ Where do you source your kit and supplies from? I did have a look on your blogs.
      P.S. The soaps you gifted me are just wonderful. Onto our 3rd one now. πŸ™‚

      • greeningofgavin says:

        More soap where that came from! I can even teach you how to make it yourself.

        As for cheese making stuff, I bought my original kit from Green living Australia, but have kits for mozzarella and feta for sale myself.

        Gav x

        • I attended a soap course the other week which was very exciting. It’s curing now. A lovely face soap and a scented body soap too. I’ve got all I need to make 1 more batch too but it’s not something I want to be doing with the kids around, not with lye and all that.
          Thanks for the heads up on Green Living Australia. I’ve heard of them and also Cheeselinks in Little River (we considered moving there back in the early tree-change days) and also Ozfarmer on eBay but it’s hard to know what’s best. I’m thinking of going the whole hog as I’m very keen but then again a single starting kit is probably a great place to start hey. I think one of those mozzarella kits has my name on it. πŸ˜€

  5. Jo says:

    A lovely peek into your morning! I love the detail in this post. I would (sort of) like to get chickens, but it all seems terrifyingly complex.. posts like yours demystify the process, so thanks. One day..

  6. Lynda D says:

    Well, what can i say. Its sounds like heaven but goodness, it must be cold out there. Do you think that you have enough to look after yet Jess? I’ll keep my eye out for a mouser.

    • Mousers we have, 2 really good ones at that who even clear up most of the evidence (usually) but unfortunately they also tend to poop in the gardens in the greenhouse so not sure I want to sic em rex with the cats. Maybe if I water the heck out of the garden in all areas except Mr Mickey’s or Miss Minnie’s (Mouse) hole then send the cat down.Shy of hanging the sprouter from the roof which will be int he way I’m fresh out of options.

      • Linne says:

        My Auntie on the coast kept cats out of her flower gardens for years by scattering a lot of small pine cones in the beds; the cats don’t like walking on the prickly stuff. Not sure how that would work in your garden, but you may have something else that would do.

        Have you tried pouring some ammonia down the hole? Sometimes that works . . . just don’t mix with bleach (you may know this already, but some of my friends didn’t, so I always share); it’s a very deadly combo.

    • And yep, aside from the gardens, I’ve bitten off enough… For now! We are still planning to breed Anna this year if conditions are right. πŸ˜€

  7. graceoverflowing says:

    Look at you, Farmer Jessi! I hope one day I can come and visit you gorgeous farm. You sound like you are loving every minute of it!!

    • Most of it. Freezing my fingers off digging soaked grains out of near freezing water in the greenhouse for next weeks ration is not my idea of a good time. πŸ˜‰
      You know you’re welcome to visit any time hun. Hopefully next time you’re over this side of town we can catch up.

  8. Linne says:

    I loved reading about your morning . . . such fun! But really, cold at 2 degrees?? I envy you (although I do remember how icy hands get once wet, even at only 2). Here it goes down to -30C every winter, sometimes for a week or more at a time. NOT fun and I’m always glad I’m not dealing with livestock here . . . I can just see you in your woolies!!

    Thanks for the mention of Gavin again; I forgot the last couple of times, but have now added his site to my ‘follow’ list. A great resource, I thought.

    Gotta go. More later. ~ Linne

    • Oh I laughed at writing cold at -2 as I KNEW you’d laugh (nicely of course πŸ˜‰ ). This morning really WAS cold, but more about that later.
      Gav’s blogs are really fantastic educational resources and also great reads too.

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