Most mornings round here start with a bang – the ducks burst out of their house with indignant quacks and flap, waddle and dart off across the garden. The geese lurk about the apple trees, honking impatiently, waiting for me to fill the feeder, then set to sweeping it all up into their greedy beaks before the ducks even get a look in (Note to self: buy another feeder for the geese!). I fill their water trough, then tip out the muddy sludge left in the bottom of their wading pool and refill it with fresh sparkling rainwater whilst they gather about, waiting for that glorious moment when they leap in and make it all muddy again in seconds.
Then it’s over to the chickens who are standing patiently against the door of their house, bumping into each other with little mutters and clucks. They flutter much more gracefully down their stairs and head straight for the hedge of grevilleas and bottle brush where they have scratched out individually shaped scoops for dust bathing and snoozing. I top up their seed, give them a good dose of apple cider vinegar and garlic in their water, then vainly check the nest for eggs. Not yet.
The goats – they just yell. “Come and get us! Come and get us! Come and get us! Where’s the goat nuts! We said GOAT NUTS! And WHEN ARE WE going over to the weedy kingdom? ” There’s little point making them wait, so I fill the bucket with nuts, open the gate, and we bump and bustle over to the weedy field – them stopping along the way for some lillypilly, then some box hedge, then a few gum leaves, check out the woodpile, stand up on the trailer’s edge and peer in, check that yes, the grass is indeed greener on the other side, then finally into their electric fence which they are completely compliant with these days, thank you very much.
Then it’s back in to the guinea fowl who bustle about their A-frame waiting for their seed and water and wondering whether today will be the day they get to roam like those lucky ducks. (No, sorry dear guineas. Not today, I need to finish the new duck – goose pavillion first, then you can have the ducks’ old house and their electric fence – we call this “Ernie and Bert Farming”) I make sure the crazy Hamburgs are around – yep! – open the gate and let them back into their yard, and check for eggs – nope.
Finally I check in with the guinea pigs – move them onto fresh grass and roll some treats down their ramp – they’re currently loving raw pumpkin halves, sweet corn husks and small slices of watermelon from the local farm gate stalls.
As I fill their water I hear Julian making coffee. Mmmmm … And then it’s time to sit down together on the porch. Me with my museli and knitting. Him with his morning news and ponderings on what we should plant next, would pigs stay in the electric fence, how much he really wants cows, and where do I want the next hole dug for yet another tree I’ve bought home from the lovely nursery in Cobargo.
We have grown and shaped this lovely routine over the last few months and it never fails to fill me with gratitude and delight that we are here.
But now, we have another spot to sit and soak up the magic – under the white cedar. We have the old cast iron table I bought from the Sacred Heart Op Shop last year in Melbourne – unfortunately one leg had snapped off halfway down – so Julian trimmed off the other 3 and now it’s the perfect garden height. And last week I found two chairs at the Merimbula dump – a fabulous source of thrifty treasures – they are in perfect nick – I’ve not seen anything like them before – kind of like a canvas deck chair, kind of like a simple squatter’s chair, kind of like a rocking chair. And wonderfully comfortable. I’ve bought some garden furniture oil and will give them a sand and polish to help keep them lovely for longer.
The goats play and munch and ruminate behind us. The chickens cavort and scamper after bugs in front of us. And after Julian heads back inside to work, Noah comes out, and we get to move on to the second round of coffee and breakfast and more crafting.
Ah yes, the morning might start early and busy … but then it slows down in the nicest way, easing us all into whatever it is the day holds next for us.