The sun shone brightly through the window as I awoke this past morning.
The wind had taken a few hours’ vacation and like spilt popcorn, the white clouds littered a deep crystal blue sky. They were floating in no notable direction. Why I had slept in so late, I have no idea. It is the kind of day that I like to be up and out.
Breakfast, as usual on the front porch, left me more annoyed at having slept in. The front yard was alive with activity. The first that caught my eye was a pair of killdeer running back and forth across the rain-washed gravel lane. They seemed to be searching and eating a particular tiny insect that my eyes refused to identify.
Further up the lane, a pair of mourning doves seemed to be selecting the same type of insect. Periodically, the male would bow before his loved one and proceed to serenade her with his long, drawn-out, mournful coo, coo and coo. Typically, she just ignored him and ran about picking up her selection of breakfast.
Close at hand, a white-crowned sparrow, followed by its mate, chased a pair of chipping sparrows away from our front walk. They in turn were sent on their way by Mollie, one of our barn cats, who came over to demand her usual morning petting. This entitled a robin, who was building a nest somewhere hidden in the nearby cedar hedge, to scream insults at the cat that lay purring upside down at my feet, waiting to get her tummy rubbed.
From my position, I could see the long line of Boer goats as they tiptoed out of their nighttime paddock and headed up over to the sunny side of the hill. It is one of their peculiar little traits to avoid getting their feet wet in the morning.
Beyond the hill over which the goats disappeared, I could see a low-flying trio of Canada geese bank sharply to land on the waters of our overflowing pond. Two nights earlier, Jennie, my jitney, and I had sat there watching a mother goose with her newly hatched young dabbling in the short grass of the flooded lawn. I suspect by the welcome gabble of the arriving trio that she was still there.
Bonnie and Bell, our two Pyrenees puppies, have just been released, and they run for hours on end enjoying their repeated visits to the animals that they are out there to protect. Though now having grown to full size, they still love to play like puppies, and it is not unusual to see them in rough and tumble play with each other. They have been trained as barn animals and have not been encouraged at all to come to the house.
Our newly arrived laying hens have not yet been allowed out of their new hen house on wheels, as we want them to learn to roost at night within the house and lay their eggs within the nest boxes provided. We expect this will take a week or more, but then the doors will be opened and they will be allowed to become completely free-range. Even now it is pleasant to hear them singing, as hens do, and cackle each time an egg is laid. At WestWind Farms, we feel that eggs laid by free-range hens that are happy and healthy are well worth cackling about.
Take care, ’cause we care.