Most days my mornings are a bit chaotic. I often work late (1 or 2 or even 3 AM) and as a result I don’t get up before everybody else has left for school and work, and the house has been taken over by cats and dogs.
It happens that the dogs just wait for me patiently outside my door, especially if I remember to barricade myself before I go to sleep, but most days I forget and then the biggest of the dogs – Maddox – bumps his head against the door until it opens. It’s an old house and the doors and locks are not what they should be.
After that his part of the job is done. He just walks through my room, sees that I am still sleeping and walks out again. Here is where the smallest of the dogs – Maggie – takes over. She comes in, looks at me and then puts her cold nose on any bare patches of skin she can find. If that doesn’t help she starts licking.
On rare occasions even the cat takes part in their conspiracy and comes in, jumps up on the bed and sits and looks at me or walks on me.
Throwing the animals out at that point doesn’t help, because once I’m awake I’m not able to fall asleep again, so I get up, get dressed, take some chicken fodder with me, let the dogs out – sometimes also the cat – and go to see if the chicken and hens have been let out. If they haven’t, I open the hatch to the hen house while I try to teach the dogs to stay out of the chicken run. That’s not the easiest task in the world, because Maddox loves chicken poop and chicken fodder, and Maggie feels an irresistible urge to tell the hens and chicken, what they can and cannot do. She also loves to make them all run.
After all that is sorted out the dogs, sometimes the cat, and I go for a walk down our long driveway. It lies between fields and a piece of forest, and there are pleasant smells of pheasants and dears, hares and mice for the dogs, and bushes and trees to climb for the cat.
We live in the middle of nowhere, so I don’t use leashes for the dogs, and we walk until I can see the next neighbor’s houses before we turn around and go back home.
Sometimes I take some pictures while we walk, and two days ago it was cold and windy, and while I looked through the lens of my mobile phone’s camera the sun came out between the clouds and changed all colors for a few seconds, before it disappeared again.
Maddox likes to run ahead of the rest of us on our way back home, because that way he can get into the chicken run and into the coop and eat some chicken fodder before I get there and tell him to stop.
Then I fetch some firewood from one of the barns and light a fire in our oven/central heating. It can take a while to make a good fire, especially if we had a cold night, and while I work on it, the dogs take a view over the garden and make sure the chicken and hens are behaving well.
Only when I’m sure there is a good fire in the oven we go back into the house and I can get to the bathroom and in the kitchen and get some breakfast and a cup of coffee before I start working.
Living this way is very different from what I was used to until a few month ago, but it’s actually nice and all those animals make pretty good companions, and because we feed the chicken and hens several places around the house, we also have other birds coming here to see what’s on the menu. Most of them are sparrows and chickadees, but there are also a few pheasants and a bird I’d never seen before I moved out here, even so it’s said that they are quite common – a jay.
I like to feed the birds in winter, even so I’m not a bird watcher, but this one is something special.