It seems to have become a morning ritual for our funny animals to come and greet us by our front door. The cockerels toot away in all their different melodies, some in tune with Monty, most not even in tune with themselves. It's loud, it's funny and we really have to do something about the fact that we have eight of them.
The sheep hang around in the background, monitoring all that's happening. As soon as our dear dog disappears around the first bend in the road, all eagerly bouncing off for her first walk of the day, you can hear light tapping on the steps. That's My, the sheep stepping up, literally, to get to the front door. If you're not quick enough, the next sound is like a loud crash. That's Molly, jumping up and one should be careful because if there is no goodies forthcoming at this stage, Molly will try to get in to the house. Our lovely Molly is now the size of a small pony and as agile as me so you really don't want her in your kitchen, dancing around.
So, I run out to meet the sheep on the step, with dry bread and small talk. Mandy, who is shy, would never jump up to someone's house uninvited so I can find under the old apple tree, ready to be fed in style.
Then the hens arrive. They all liked to spend rainy days on our step. Now they use it as a club house in any old weather. This means that getting our young dog in and out of the house becomes more of a challenge than it should be. Ebba thinks that anything and everything could pass as food, if properly prepared and the hens think Ebba should respect the fact that they were here first. I wave like someone not altogether right in her head and try not to step on anyone at the same time. The waving does not always work so I end up tooting like one of the cockerels, before getting past all our birds. I'm starting to wonder if my antics are really the main attraction and that the hens think the step is our village theater, with Ebba and me in starring roles. If so, this play is hardwork for us actors and could unfortunately turn into a tragedy for some if I missed a bit of the script.
Henrika and her six fluffy chicks just rush past the house now and again. The beeping is so loud that they give plenty of warning, before turning the corner, any corner. They look like a small train, gliding past. (Our small village now sports both a theater stage and a local train service.)
Henrika is a brilliant mother; stern with everyone, completely lacking in humor and just focuses on feeding her small ones. Although the perfect mother, even Henrika does that funny thing of throwing sand and soil onto her chick's, when she gets digging. There they all stand in the shower of soil, wondering why their mother believes this is any fun. Hens never care who stands behind them when they get the urge to dig and your shoes fill up with sand and soil very quickly if you don't move away. Straightforward "hen logic."
Trisha, our hen that was once extremely stressed and not always kind to others, had five chicks and realised motherhood was hard work and became a very kind hen. This also sparked a thought in her head that life could be a tad bigger than just the henhouse and it's surroundings. So now Trisha visits us every morning as soon as Ebba has left the house.
The first time she came to call I did not really see it coming. So, when Trisha jumped up onto our bed I just sat there, a little surprised. As our lovely hen had waded through wet, newly cut grass, the bed ended up looking like a salad made in haste with a large, happy hen on top. There she stood, proudly informing me that "She has arrived!" We worked out some ground rules and Trisha now leaves the bed alone. She does love phones and any gadget with a keyboard makes her day. Otherwise she walks around, eats all our home spiders, investigates open bags, jumps into baskets and generally makes things fall over. When I get started with my day I must ask her to leave. She finds this to be bad manners, on my part. We have this discussion every morning and then we leave the house together.
All these rituals are part of the magic of summer. We all wake up at 5am, the sun is out and the world is a large, light place to play in, which the animals love. It does mean that we constantly sweep floors and tidy up. Our bread bill is astronomical, but come autumn we will miss it all.
It's also nice to know that we have created a world for our animals where they feel comfortable to be themselves and be a bit eccentric in the process. I guess dear husband and I are a bit dizzy too, come to think of it.
Hope you are all feeling the benefit of some sun and all the lovely berries and fruit we now get to enjoy. I'm chomping away like an oversized fruit bat. Be well!
A blog about a small holding in Southern Finland. Each original story is accompanied by a stunning watercolour illustration or resplendent photographs.