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Windy Morning Chores

Posted 12/16/2011 7:51am by Julie Hurst / Roy Brubaker.

Last night the wind came roaring down the mountain at regular, sleep-disturbing intervals waking the girls and us up from our otherwise peaceful night. When I crawled out of bed just before dawn and peered out the window to the west, the tops of the spruce trees were churning and dancing in the moon and starlit sky. Minnie, our furry feline, sprung up to claw at the window on the backdoor while I was grinding coffee, and startled me out of my morning stupor.  Apparently the warm night she was shooed into before bed was no longer as inviting and she was ready for her daytime nap under the Christmas tree.

I usually try to schedule my week so that I am at home at least two full days. Those days might include a "quick" run to East Waterford, eight miles southeast, to go to the bank or perhaps a bike ride to check on the ewes a 1/2 mile down the road at our neighbors, but for large part of the day I am catching up with book work, communicating with customers, throwing in a load of laundry and preparing food. I admit, I love these days.  I love them more than I used to because they are a far rarer gem.  (I barely remember when I tried to find excuses to leave the farm, - a Christmas bazaar at a local church that usually offered very little I was actually interesed in purchasing -- an infant strapped onto my hip and another in a small stroller.)   Today is an "at-home" day and knowing I was going to be home,  Roy asked if I would feed the pigs and do the morning chores.  On a brisk, breezy, sunny morning, there are few things I like doing more.

Ebony greets me when I enter the pigpen.   Ebony greets everyone but not everyone is as excited to see her as I am. She's a bit of a nuisance, but I can't helped but be charmed by her willingness to be scratched and petted, even if at times she might be actually trying to bite me.  I take it as affection; Roy and the girls think she's a bit aggressive.  When she gets to be three hundred pounds and comes running at me squealing and barking, I might change my tune. One has to find things to be amused by in life and Ebony makes that a simple task for me.

The dogs too bring us a lot of joy and amusement. They greet every day with so much energy and enthusiasm it is like unleashing pure happiness when we open their pens. They bound around chasing each other and dashing to each family member to get their morning greeting.  We've done a poor job at teaching them to stay "off".  It seems to take more discipline than they can manage to not try to greet us face to face.  What is so amusing about them is as soon as we give the "off" command they sit directly in front of us, noses pointed towards our faces, eyes pleading to be petted and rubbed.  Pip cannot just sit at look at us; she lifts her paw and persistently strokes our legs till we rub her ears.   It is so damn affective and impossible to resist.   I am constantly amazed at how clearly they manage to communicate, with eyes and head gestures, exactly what they want from us. They've trained us far better than we have them.

This morning Bob seemed a little lonely.  We know he is lonely for horse companionship, but he may need to wait a few more months. Finding the right horse at the right price is tricky.  He is now in the barnyard, close to the cows and pigs, but in his own pen.  Because he had been out on pasture for the last several months, it had been a while since I curried him.  He stood so still this morning while I curried the dust off his coat it was as if he were waiting for the pastor to serve him communion.  His hooves are large and his legs so powerful that to be close to them and feel they are completely relaxed is a holy experience.  So much grace is given to us from these creatures and so often our lives are too busy to recognize it.  Doing the chorse on a windy morning has done far more to bring light to my spirit in middle of winter than the brief time I spent shopping for stocking stuffers at Target yesterday.