Being in the countryside, with a lot of empty land around us, you would think that there would be a lot of peace and quiet all the time, especially in the very early mornings as the sun is just rising. But you can’t imagine the awful barnyard noises I was ignoring while taking these pictures!
It gets quite hot in the middle of the day, and I like to get all my work done before the sun is over the tree line in the East. I usually wake up while it’s still night, and stars are still shining through the black trees. Only the night insects are chirping, and I lie still for awhile watching the stars peeking in the oak branches, and think of all the things that need accomplished for that day. When I hear the whoop of the whiporwill in the dark, closely followed by the trill of the first bird, it’s time to get up.
It’s so dark in the kitchen at first that opening the fridge to get out milk to warm for the little goats is blinding. I clean and boil the milking pail and jars as the pale light grows stronger and stronger.
In the orchard, the turkeys begin peeping and heavily flying down from their perches, which brings them over the fence to come peek in the kitchen at me while i am sweeping, and idly peck at things in the barn.
Soon the geese, Ralph and Dolores, greet the day. Ralph bursts out with flurries of horrible honking at little things like song birds, or whatever else he finds objectionable, while Dolores arranges her nest.
This is nothing to the excitement of seeing me approach with their scoop of supplemental feed, and perhaps some greens from the garden. The turkeys, whistling like a flock of small children on tin whistles, scramble for the ever-elusive gate, while Ralph, like a congested white-feathered teradactyl, finally puts his heart into the horrible racket he makes.
After the poultry is fed and watered, i move along to the swine. There are four separate batches of pigs to feed and check on each morning – the just-weaned shoats, last year’s piglets in the garden, the six young sows with their small piglets, and our big boar, Tresspassers William, and the two big sows.
As soon as I reach the crest of the hill and they catch sight of me, laden with buckets in both hands, the squealing begins. The big pigs make big, fat-sounding squeals, the medium pigs make medium squeals, and the tiny small piglets make very loud but high- pitched squeals in exactly the same sound frequency that my children whine for something sweet and unhealthy.
This alerts the goats that someone else is being fed something first, and they immediately realize they are starving, probably to death. I am followed by their pathetic bleating, like the wails of the damnned, all the way up to the corn field where the big pigs are being pastured in the paddock beside the cows.
Geranium, who is usually calmly chewing her cud this time of day, stirs her hooves and erupts into a series of her Jurassic Park-like honking and hooting that has led visitors to believe we keep a donkey. Flora, taking up the cue, begins alternately pacing the fence line and shouting at me in anticipation of her milking time treat. The plastic buckets vibrate in my hands from the sound waves as Flora directs a bellow at me that reminds me of the tuba section of a parade that you can feel in your chest. Geranium, with eyeballs bulging aggressively, takes it up as Flora finds it necessary to at last draw breath, making such varied hooting and mooing it sounds as if she had been ruminating on an entire brass band.
On my way back to get ready for milking, the little goats are waiting for me, wondering if their milk might be warm with desperately shrill, wavering bleats that sound as if they were being tortured.
This morning was so lovely, I set down the buckets and took a few pictures in the garden, while the geese honked, the goats bleated, the pigs squealed, and the cows made some kind of strange noises that definitely weren’t mooing. At least it looks peaceful in still photographs!
Wishing you a peaceful day!