The only way I can get out of bed when the alarm rings at seven is to make a solemn promise to myself that I will come back to bed as soon as “everybody” is taken care of.
I let Bisou out of her crate, pull a turtleneck over my pajamas, thrust my bare feet into clogs, and go downstairs to let the dogs out. While they do their morning rituals I fill a big bucket with water and a dollop of cider vinegar for the goats, and heat a cup of water for washing udders. I let the dogs inside, and they act as if they hadn\’t seen me, or each other, for ten years. I try to act excited to see them too.
When we built our goat shed, we attached it to the back of our attached garage, so I have the luxury of doing chores without having to step on bare ground, which makes me nonchalant about what I wear for morning milking. Today, with the thermometer at 18 F and the wind howling, I threw the barn coat over my sweater and pajamas and sallied forth hatless, sockless, and gloveless. The goats were calling, and I was in a hurry.
In the milking room, I put grain on the milking stand and let Virginia Slim in, then let the little does out of their bedroom so they could have some restorative sucks out of their mother, Blossom. I cleaned Virginia Slim\’s udder, dried it, and milked her, then ushered her out and let Blossom in. When I\’d milked her, I filled the hay feeder, opened the door to the yard, threw out the old water, poured in the new. Then I went into the chickens\’ room, checked that they had water and feed for the day, and opened their little trap door so they could rush next door to visit the goats.
My fingers had stayed mobile during the milking thanks to the warmth of the udders, but by the time I went back to the house, they felt like frozen twigs. And while I peeled off my coat and strained the milk those lines by Shakespeare kept running through my mind:
When icicles hang by the wall
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail….
I fed the dogs their breakfast: half kibble, half the home-cooked melange that I know will keep them healthy and alive forever. While they ate, I heated water for my tea, poured cereal into a bowl, and added the rich, sweet, organic, fabulous milk from my own adorable goats which will keep me healthy and alive forever.
But before I could eat, the dogs had to be let out again, and I had to watch to make sure than Bisou did her thing despite the howling wind and icy snow. While I watched, I refilled their water bowl, and sprayed the rosemary bush and the scented geranium plants lest they dry out from the stove heat.
All this water made me realize (Reader, I know that this may be too much information, but I think it is a telling touch) that I had not been to the bathroom since the night before….
The dogs safely inside, I sorted out my daily vitamins, ate my cereal and drank my tea. Now, I thought, I can go back to bed. First, however, I gave Lexi her arthritis meds in a spoonful of peanut butter, then brushed her teeth, and brushed Wolfie\’s teeth, and Bisou\’s, and reminded myself that they all needed to have their nails cut SOON and their coats brushed.
Plus, before going upstairs and plunging back into bed, I needed to think about dinner, and go down to the basement and bring up whatever was needed from the freezer, and I should also start defrosting the next batch of homemade melange for the dogs.
Then Bisou had to go out again.
By the time I got upstairs and brushed my teeth and checked my e-mail, it was practically lunchtime. I decided to just get on with the day, and maybe take an afternoon nap.
Naps, as everybody knows, will keep you healthy and alive forever.