June 21, 2012


The wheels of the big, 3-wheel stroller swish as they glide through the tall grass. Out in the middle of the field, I park the stroller, back facing the sun and front facing me a few feet ahead. Or sometimes, I sit Zander up on a blanket in the shade of the stroller or golf cart. I place a few toys in front of him and maybe a cup of water and set off to do my work.

I step into the broiler pen, the youngest batch first, rinsing out the waterer and then grabbing the two feeders. I set them down outside of the pen, roll the sides up and use the dolly to pull the pen one length to fresh new grass. I refill the feeders, carry them back in, top off the water, adjust the sides depending on the weather, do one last check to see if this batch is well, and move on.

The stroller swishes on to the next pen where I repeat the process and then again until all three batches are watered, fed and well. We make a stop at both eggmobiles to make sure they have what they need and we're on our way to the brooder. The stroller just fits through the doorway and I park Z right in front of the 'teenager' chicks. These guys and girls are 3 weeks old and they're the most entertaining for him to watch.

Again, I place a few toys in front of him and get to work.  I start with the youngest batch who are a week old. Monitoring and adjusting temperature, managing bedding, cleaning and refilling feeders and waterers. I move on to the teenagers and do the same, only on a larger scale. Much more bedding to manage, bigger feeders and waterers.

Z keeps himself occupied most of the time but sometimes, at this point, he begins to fuss. He's been patient for so long and we're nearing nap time. I sing a song, he loves Johnny Cash, and he starts to laugh mid-fuss, every time. That's all it takes. I stop and think about my own mother singing to me. I can hear her voice singing "three little fishies" and it makes me smile.

When all is well in baby chick land, we move on to the sheep and cows. I look to see if all of the automatic waterers are functioning and filling properly. Check to see if everyone has the hay they need, check and manage bedding, maybe do some mucking with the pitchfork. The sheep and cows come into the shed to say hello and see what's going on. This is my chance to look everyone over and see if there are any issues we need to know about. Ella has usually just been milked and is content. I give Lucy a scratch on the head and check her stall. Sometimes I spend a few minutes just being with her. Out of the five sheep, there is one who greets Z daily. She puts her nose close to the stroller and he reaches out and gives her a scratch. Ironically, it's Clarice, one of the bottle-fed lambs from last season.

You might recall that it was my job to manage the three new bottle-fed lambs. I lost the littlest lamb and it broke my heart. I continued to nurse the two. I was very newly pregnant then and in between gagging from the smell of the milk replacer, I used to wonder if the lambs knew of the baby inside me. I was sure they did. I think of that every time Z reaches out for Clarice. How they have known each other longer than Z's been on this earth. Soul mates.

One last quick glance to be sure all is well, looking along the electric fence line to be sure it's intact and checking gates, the stroller wheels swish once again as we make our way back to the house to put Z down for sleep.

Though there is much more work in between, these chores are the bookends of my days. The animals may have changed but it's been the same routine for 5 years. Only now, it's just a little different. Life happens at a different pace these days. An excuse to slow down and really see things. To see the world through a new pair of eyes.

 A quick visit to watch daddy feed the pigs and Zander shows us that he can now stand up in the stroller. Yay for straps!

Oh, and look, I can turn myself around too!


  1. I love hearing of your guys days, absolutely beautiful and full.

  2. I love how you write Kristen. Can't believe all the hair on that cutie!
    You really should write a book. Love, Sam

  3. I just love this. And its something that he will remember always.

  4. What a beautiful post. Thanks for giving me a glimpse through Z's eyes as well.