Tuesday, November 4, 2008

An hour before dusk

I got home from work Monday and didn't feel like staying inside. When I asked for company, both Ben and Graham leapt up and started racing around looking for socks and shoes. A few minutes later we headed out.

The first stop was to the goat barn, to give some company (and apple treats) to lonely Eve. Her companion Dawn is away until the middle of December, and Eve isn't afraid to let everyone know that she misses her friend. Both Ben and Graham grab a small handful of treats and feed her through the fence. Eve chomps them down eagerly. I go inside the barn to refresh her water bucket and put another leaf of hay in her manger.

The boys follow me into the barn, and the outside cats aren't far behind. I give two large scoops of dry food to the cats, who eat like they've never been fed before (it was yesterday) while keeping a wary eye on my two little ones. Snips and snails and kitty cat tails, that's what little boys are made of.

The next stop is the chicken coop. Graham is just tall enough to reach into the nests, but Benjamin is not. Graham reaches in and feels for eggs in one of the nests, and I hoist Ben up to help him reach into another. Three eggs today. The hens are still in moult. One of today's eggs is a green one, the first green egg I've seen in eight weeks. Our hens have finished growing their feathers back, but the roosters still have a little left to go.

We bring the eggs into the house and return outside to fetch the mail. It's a running race down the driveway. Graham gets there first and takes out the mail. Benjamin is runner up and pulls the heavy newspaper from the box. They struggle with slippery ads and magazines as they head back up the driveway.

The mail and newspaper are put onto a chair on the porch, and Graham informs me we that should go for a walk. 'Where?' I ask. 'That way!' he says, pointed east over the fields. So, off we go.

The alfalfa is still tall and green, with long stringy stems. Benjamin has trouble walking through them without tripping. He reaches out and I take his hand, helping him along. We make it to the edge of our property line and begin walking across the barren, plowed field. The tines from the plow have created acres of small hills and valleys, etching a maze into the black earth. With each step we sink a few inches, until we reach the compacted path of a tractor tire. We follow the path down to the slough.

We read the edge of the slough. Duck wings are flapping in the water. 'I hear the river.' says Graham. He wants to step into the algae muck, but I discourage him. 'Let's walk around the lake,' he says and starts off. Then he pauses, puts a finger to his chin and says, 'maybe we should have brought a picnic.' I tell him that it would take too long to walk around it, and we should head back to the house to make dinner. 'Okay!' he shouts and turns around in mid-stride. We head back to the house, just as the last light of the sunset burns out over the tree tops.


kathy said...

Graham is the cutest thing ever! Well, aside from Molly of course, but he is dang cute! If only his mean mom would bring him to visit his favorite aunt more often...

Jo said...

If only his mean aunt would come to visit him more often...

Yes, Graham is one of the three cutest things ever. Okay, four cutest things including Molly. How could I forget!

Karen said...

Wait a minute! I have three cute things too! Actually, if you count our critters, we have nine cute things!! Why aren't you counting Sara and Sadie, Kathy? They don't take after they're Mom. They're cute too!

Jo said...

You're right! Seven cutest things ever. Although Em and Grace might argue the point - at what age do you stop wanting to be called cute? I don't think I've hit it yet.