Back to Work

As the sun rose this morning, I finished my early workout, then slogged through the saturated grass to feed the animals. Dolly was first to the gate, as usual. She is large and in charge, always the first to the trough as she bleats commands to the others who follow. Kenny, her twin, has grown a little but is still the smallest. Kenny doesn’t let his size stop him, though. He thinks he is as big as Curry, and it seems Curry has decided he is one of the goats!

Reba and Hank jostle for their position, climbing all over each other and shoving their noses in between Dolly and Kenny to snag tasty morsels of feed. Then they all race to the hay rack as I plop a fat flake into place. It’s the same every single morning, and every morning I laugh anew.

While we were in Florida, is was nice to have a break. Allowing someone else to do the chores for a few days was nice, but despite the relief of duties I was so glad to be home. I noticed how fluffy the goats have become as they begin to grow their winter coats. The chickens, on the other hand, not so much. One of the Buff Orpingtons, in particular, appears to be on the verge of molting. It’s expected this time of year, so I’d better start saving eggs if I don’t want to succumb to buying store-bought ones. We are officially spoiled.

Farm fresh eggs are definitely better tasting than store-bought and I don’t want to go back. I read that unwashed, fresh eggs can last up to five months in the refrigerator. I don’t think we will need them to last more than two, but shorter days do mean less laying so I will probably eat more oatmeal and shakes for breakfast to avoid going through them too quickly over the winter months.

I’m glad to be home. The greetings from the animals can make a person feel like a rock star. No matter how groggy you feel, their excitement will lift your spirits.

There was even one more pumpkin, small, but waiting ripe on the vine. I’ll harvest it tomorrow and place it next to one of the big ones on the back porch. Now that the days are getting cooler I’m more motivated to be outside, so I plan to clean off both porches and get them all set for the nippy Autumn mornings that will soon be here.

Life is so busy with homeschooling, housework, the mini-farm and other activities that I often feel like my head is spinning. Maybe that is the reason I love Fall. The shorter days beckon us inward, encouraging us to gather together before the hearth with a warm cuppa in hand and a fuzzy blanket thrown over our legs. They force us to shorten our work days, to slow down. Even though activities don’t all stop for Winter, many do. The soccer season just ended, we just had our last women’s event at church, and the garden has gone mostly dormant (except for the okra, which is still producing like crazy) and will stay so until the Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, and Broccoli bless us just in time for Thanksgiving.

There is no end to the work that needs to be done, but the calendar ticks ever-forward to the holidays, the celebrations that will allow us to pause (should we wisely choose to do so) and remember the great and furious mercy of God. It begins with the harvest and ends with the harvested straw that lines the manger cradling the King of kings.

Bless the work of our hands, O Lord. Bless the work of our hands.

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