Feeding the animals their morning breakfast should not be rocket science, but this morning it is. I take the calf bottle out to the shed and hang it in the holder and then turn to the ewe, who has followed me in. She wants her grain, but what she really wants is the calf’s grain, which I haven’t put out yet. I persuade her to leave him and follow me back outside where I dump her grain in a pan. The chickens come running. I don’t want them eating her grain because it’s rather expensive, so I dip some cornmeal out and call, “Chick, chick, chick.” The ewe comes running. I chase her back to her dish which is full of red hens. I chase them out and herd them over to the cornmeal, which I’ve poured in two straight lines along the ground. The chickens settle in and I turn to the dogs. A little kibble in the morning helps keep them warm. When I pour Luke’s in his pan, the ewe hears the rattle and comes running. I have inadvertently locked Luke in the shed with the calf, so I shoo the ewe back to her grain and hurry inside to free Luke so he can eat his breakfast before the ewe does.
When I go back out, the ewe is licking up the last of the dog food and the chickens are pecking up what she has dribbled on the ground. I hurry over and pour Rex his breakfast and step down to the creek to dip out some water for him. While I am down over the edge of the bank I hear him bark. Climbing back up, I see Luke eating Rex’s food. I chase him back to his empty bowl with a promise of more food if he’ll just be patient. He wags and follows me back to the shed where the calf has finished his bottle. I dip out some grain for him. As I’m pouring it in his trough, I hear the door behind me rattle. The ewe pushes through and I grab her by her neck wool and drag her back out the door. The calf follows and I chase him around the shed twice before I manage to get him back inside. The ewe has taken advantage of my distraction and slipped in to finish his grain. I pour him some more, muscle her back out, and cross back through the shed to grab a flake of hay for her. When I go back outside, she is just finishing the chickens’ cornmeal. Meanwhile, they have scuttled over and are eating out of the horse trough, where I had dumped some grain earlier.
Luke has watched all of this with interest as he waits for me to refill his bowl. I drop a little food in it for him, but the ewe runs up and pushes him out of the way. I give up and head back to the house. Luke runs behind me and slips in the door. I had placed a pan of leftover gravy in the kitchen for the cats and apparently he could smell it from over at the shed. He scatters the cats and they hiss and complain, so I shoo them outside. They have a bowl of dried food on the porch and they’ll just have to be satisfied with that. Except it’s empty. There’s a blue jay perched on the edge of it laughing at me as he swallows the last bite.