Stephen took the kids and our visiting company to Austin this afternoon, leaving me to enjoy a rare period of solitude. It was lovely... I read, I napped, I ate ice cream. :-)
Then I went out to do chores. The logistics of the chores this afternoon, for varying reasons, were so complicated, that I actually sat down and wrote out a plan before I started. Here's what ended up happening:
1) filled water bowl currently being shared by goats, dogs and chickens; fed laying hens
2) finished cleaning outside brooder from last batch of chicks so that the batch in our laundry room can finally move outside
3) pulled rubber glove out of goat's mouth
4) noticed red calf on lawn; looked for hole in fence; couldn't find one
5) put dogs in the house because they were scaring the red calf instead of helping me
6) got wheelbarrow (with chicken manure in it from cleaning brooder), took it through sheep pen, and into horse/cow pasture
7) herded cows away
8) put horses in corrals (so they wouldn't eat cattle feed)
9) climbed fence to sheep pen then back to lawn; put goats in trailer (so they wouldn't push into the workshop and eat out of the bins)
10) got cattle cubes (grain) and alfalfa from workshop (saw rat, mental note to tell Stephen)
11) gave goats in trailer alfalfa
12) enticed cattle up to where I wanted them with cubes, threw the grain over fence, saved some to lure red calf to gate, failed because she wanted to be with the other cattle, even if they were separated by a fence (because I was alone I couldn't herd AND open a gate, so I had to really finagle this)
13) got more cubes, tried at a different location, ALMOST got her in, but failed again.
14) got more cubes, tried putting the cubes on the other side of the sheep pen and herding the red calf into the sheep pen (had to open that gate, so now the sheep were on the lawn). Failed.
15) second attempt to get her into the sheep pen... I scared her so badly she revealed the hole in the fence (hooray!). She was through and back with her mom, and I quickly twisted the wire in a lame attempt at a makeshift fix (no time for anything else, to which the gorgeous sunset attested)
16) raced through sheep pen, closing gate so that the black calf wouldn't go out, climbed into horse pasture
17) dumped manure out of wheelbarrow
18) fed horses (I am moving like lightning now because the cattle are going to be done with that grain soon and they are loose in the same area as the horse corrals, and are soon to come begging for grain from the now open barn)
19) threw half a bale of hay into the wheelbarrow, along with the barn broom
20) closed up barn and got through the gate to the sheep pen just as cows started coming around the corner
21) pushed the wheelbarrow through the sheep pen to the yard
22) went back to the workshop, got a bucket of goat grain and a bucket of sheep grain
23) lured the sheep back to their pen, closed them in
24) set up feeders for the goats on the outside of the trailer, filled them and let the goats out.
25) got into the trailer with the barn broom, and cleaned out all the old hay
26) put fresh hay in trailer from the wheelbarrow
27) ran to house, made up 2 quarts of calf milk replacer in huge bottle
28) grabbed flashlight on the way out the door (sun is very set now)
29) went into the sheep pen, and lured black calf with bottle
30) she started sucking and I led her to the gate, then out onto the lawn and to the entrance to the trailer (her current night time shelter)
31) big challenge: she couldn't, or was afraid to, get up into the trailer. I am 5 1/2 months pregnant. I can't lift her. So I finagled it by lying the bottle down on the trailer floor and getting one leg at a time up and in, slowly sliding the bottle back into the trailer. The last leg was the hardest, but we did it.
32) closed trailer door, and went to the end of the trailer so I could brace the bottle against the wall (she is really rough, and I want to protect my own baby)
33) she finished, and really wanted more, but there was none, so she tried to nurse on various parts of me; no time for calf massage tonight (although I did some while she nursed)
34) out of the trailer, back through sheep pen, climbed over gate to horse corrals, bringing broom
35) let horses out
36) climbed back over and turned on water in sheep pen
37) back to yard; fished hose through fence and cleaned out the black calf's water bucket, slid it into the trailer and filled it up through the side of the trailer. I am happy that she has clean hay and fresh water tonight
38) turned off water in sheep pen; moon is full
39) went to shop to turn off light and close up; had to quickly dump some grain on the ground to distract the goats from racing in with me
40) with flashlight walked to check on 90+ broilers (meat chickens) in our newly made portable hoop-coop; all is well.
41) got mail
42) let dogs out and took last look for today's eggs
43) flashlight died, exchanged it for a working one when I put eggs in house
44) moved two roosting chickens off the back porch and into the chicken house; closed it up for the night
45) fed the dogs
46) checked on baby chicks in laundry room
47) washed my hands and ate the last chocolate chip cookie. :-) I think I earned that one.
I believe I climbed over the wooden fence from the sheep pen to the horse pasture at least four times. If you had told me when I was 20 that I when I was 36 years old I'd be pregnant, homeschooling my kids, managing horses, cattle, donkeys, goats, sheep, dogs, chickens, and climbing five foot fences, I probably would have laughed in your face.
What a long, strange (but magical) trip it's been!