Serene is what it is.
I wake up everyday as the sun rises and the animals stir. It's always a beautiful calm scene as the day begins. The birds are singing, the roosters crowing, sheep quietly bleating, mama cows softly mooing to their calves...The air is cool and perfect to work in before the summer day heats up.
Poultry houses are opened, the sheep's gate is opened as the nighttime predators are now asleep. Then the morning chores begin. Water to fill, barns to muck out, and eggs to collect. It's a lot of work, but it's not work if you love it.
While I work, there is always an animal close by watching, some want to help, some get in my way and my job takes longer to get done. Not so long ago I would get aggravated that I wasn't finishing in record time. Now I smile and take in the joys of the moment. How can you not smile when a couple dozen chickens come running to you just because you are walking through the yard - even when I walk through them and look back and they are following me because they want to see where I am going, what I'm doing, and what kind of cool bugs I will unearth for them while I work. The cows patiently wait for me to finish cleaning up their aisle-way. Since they aren't locked in the barn, ever, they chose to spend the heat of the day sleeping in the middle of the barn. Every morning, I clean the barn out while the cows watch. They know when I am done that I'm going to get the brush and give them their daily brushing. As long as April gets brushed first since she's the boss, the rest of the cows wait their turn. By now, the heat of the day is turning on and the sheep head back into the barn to nap the afternoon away until the cooler evening hours. Each one of them gets a good rubbing and off to sleep they go.
As I head back to the house, there isn't an animal in sight. All 200+ of them have escaped the heat in their spots all over the farm.
These animals bring a certain amount of peace to a person. They are a comfort. They don't ask for anything in return - just that you love them and provide them with their basic needs.
There's a young female chicken that flies onto my back everyday at feeding time. Not sure why she does - I never give her any food while she's there. But everyday she does it. Everyday it makes me smile.
Very few of our poultry have names. I couldn't even begin to name them all. One French Blue Copper Marans rooster is my favorite though. He has been since he hatched last year. Skye has a unique story. He was the nicest chick out of that hatch and quickly became a favorite. He was a big boy from the start. When Skye was a couple months old we had a raccoon get in the chicken house one night. The attack happened after dark, but before bedtime. I had neglected to shut the door at dark and didn't realize it until I heard the commotion. A lot of birds ran for their lives and were out in the yard. I scared off the raccoon for the night and spent half the night rounding up scared and loose birds. At daylight, I realized that Skye was missing. I was heartbroken that Skye was gone. I was really looking forward to him growing up and becoming a main rooster in a flock of breeding Marans. Six weeks after this fateful night my neighbor, who just got chickens, called me and said that one of my hens was at her house. I wasn't missing any hens, but told her I would come look at it. When I arrived, it was none other than Skye. For 6 weeks he survived, against all odds, in the woods between our properties. Skye came home with me that night but had lost his place in the hierarchy of the roosters. Every single rooster beat up on him. I had to rescue him countless times. I became Skye's savior in his eyes and he always ran to me when things got out of hand and he couldn't fight anymore. The rest of the roosters know not to challenge a human and always walked away. In time, Skye gained back the weight he had lost from his adventure and became an adult rooster. He is huge. He ended up second in charge of the flock, (no one ever challenged the elder one, Rooster Boy) . A few months ago Skye got into a fight and lost. His eye was injured and he ran to our house for protection. Every time Skye felt like he was strong enough to take on the flock again, he got beat down and his eye re-injured. Skye now spends all day at the house and garage and has his special food and water bowls up here. He has become a total pet. I can't even walk to the mailbox without him following me. I'm sure it's quite comical watching a rooster who has becoming totally bonded to humans as he has. He knows his name, comes when he is called, he helps pull weeds, he keeps my sidewalk to the house bug free, and provides us with many smiles everyday. Skye's eye is still healing (still looks pretty gross though) and hopefully one day he will be okay to take his place on top again. If you visit the farm, chances are that the first animal to greet you will be Skye. He might be big, but I promise he won't hurt you!
I wouldn't trade this life for anything anymore. My kids would't either. Sometimes I think that they love it more than I do. I wouldn't trade the peace and comfort that everyday life here brings to us. There's something to be said for the "country folks" who sit on their porch every night and watch the world go by. You learn a lot, you let the stress go, and take in the every day joys your life is blessed with.
Serene is a great word to describe it all.
Rising Phoenix Farm
14093 Madison Pike
Morning View, KY 41063