Friday, September 3, 2010

'Twas A Dark Stormy Morning.....

We had to be in the Big City early one morning this past week, so that meant I'd be out in the barn earlier then most days. The sun wasn't even THINKING of being up yet...

....and neither were the cows....

Normally, when they hear the screen door to the barn slap shut, everyone in, around, and in earshot of the building, goes off like they're starving -

Three, two month old triplet goats scream for their bottles -
Two "momma" cows want their grain -
One lonely steer calf wants his momma -
Three Momma Goats want breakfast - Kittens yowling -
And that's just in the barn.

Well - I guess I got everyone on a bad day. I opened the barn door, stepped inside and turned on the lights. I expected the cats to scurry like big fuzzy roaches, and the three orphan goats to start howling for their bottle. Instead, I got SILENCE.

Nothing - not even a PEEP from ANYBODY.

Oh well, I figured that they'd be starting pretty soon, so I grabbed a couple buckets and got food for the Goats across the driveway and for Yani. I also scooped up some cat food and dumped it into the pan I have for them. I had already gotten dog food, and was in the process of filling the bucket for the goats when I heard odd crunching sounds behind me. I turned to see 3 of the cats with their heads stuffed into the dog food bucket, munching away. - and totally ignoring THEIR food, not 6" away.

So I grab the dog food, and the 3 cats go scurrying away into the night.

It's still dark, so I grab a flash light and trudge across the yard to feed Yani and her goats the food I just dug out for them. I always feed Yani first, because I have one goat that always tries to eat the dog food. I figure that Yani can eat (almost) fast enough to finish hers before the goats get done and the dog food-eater can get back to her dish.

On this particular morning, I dump Yani's food in the dish, then head off to fill the tray for the goats, and Scout (the dogwood eater) follows right behind me. As I finish dumping the food, the rest of the goats wake up enough to come eat. I shine my flashlight down the row of munching goats to count them and see if there are any visible problems. To my surprise, I'm missing a - oddly enough - BLACK goat, and in her place, is a fuzzy white "goat" named Yani, chowing down on goat food.

This she NEVER (until now) does. She's sniffed it before, but ALWAYS turned up her nose at it. Then there was the matter of the missing goat, so I headed off to look for her. As I shone my light down the fence row, a set of beadie eyes suddenly "popped" up into view. I couldn't believe it - the missing goat was munching YANI'S food!

Another she "NEVER" does that.....

I got everyone sorted out, and eating their OWN food, then headed back to the barn to take care of things there.

The cats were still nowhere to be seen, but I figured they'd show up when they found out I was milking the cow. Stew, the calf, was still ASLEEP, when I shone my light on him. I think he was even snoring.

After being rousted, both cows made their way into the barn - and promptly lay down. I got Mabel to her feet again, and headed off to the stanchion. As I was dumping her feed in, and latching the head stall, I heard another odd slurping, then a crunching sound behind me. Turning, I saw Daisy Mae, with her face in the cat food, emptying the pan. She DID NOT want to stop, either - I had to grab the pan and TAKE it from her.

Other than the missing cats, milking went on from there in an uneventful manner. I got the milk, filled the bottles for the Three Monsters, then let Daisy loose. Normally, everyone has to put up with the Monster's yelling and carrying on until they get a bottle shoved in their faces. On this day, I had to go FIND the little fur balls. One was easy enough - she's half white - the other two are almost all black, and hard to spot in the morning darkness.

They even slept through my calls of "Are you HUNGRY?", and "Come on Ladies, it's breakfast time". FINALLY, they woke up enough to WALK in and get fed. Usually they scramble around, circle in between my legs, and fight for the food. That morning, they calmly wove their way to the milk stand and waited patiently for the milk.

It was AMAZING! It would almost be worth getting up a 4:00 am EVERY day.....


So - to sum it all up, I had -

Cats eating dog food,
Dog's eating Goat food,
Goats eating dog food,
Cows eating cat food,
A calf who missed breakfast entirely,
Sleepy goat orphans who slept through the breakfast they ate,
and cows too sleepy to put up a fight on the stand.

The worst part of it was - I had a "fasting Lab" that morning, so starved to death while I was feeding everyone else....

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