Monday, August 13, 2007

Three A.M. at Old McDonald's Farm

During the day, the animals are quiet. Sheep, horses, dogs... mostly they relax in the shade, reluctant to move much in the heat. But lately, during the night it's a different story.

I'm already behind on my sleep because I've been lying awake worrying about our finances a lot. Now, apparently, the animals have decided not to sleep at night either.

All night long, it's a "neigh-neigh here and a baa-baa there. Here a bark, there a bark, everywhere a bark-bark." A regular Old McDonald's Farm animal sing-along. And since to me every one of those animal noises could herald a possible emergency that might need my attention, I am getting no sleep.

Of course, none of the sounds actually DO herald an emergency. It's just animals being animals.

It starts with the horses. Glory in her weaning pen cries for her mother. In the paddock behind the barn, our stallion Senter--ever hopeful that some mare might be calling for his services--screams back.

The broodmares decide that now would be a good time to make their hourly commute from stuffing their bellies at the hay feeder in the front pasture to brushing the flies off their backs and bellies among the close-growing cedar branches down at the bottom edge of the big pasture.

It doesn't matter that it's 3 a.m. and pitch black outside, this commute always takes place at a gallop, 12 sets of thundering hooves shaking the earth. This sets the farm dogs barking. The sheep, hearing that everyone else seems to be active, wake up and decide to do a roll call to see where each of their flock mates is.

Yesterday, I was so tired from being wakened so many times through the night by the animals, I ended up having to nap on the couch for most of the afternoon. I had a million things I should have been doing, but I was just too drained and incoherent from sleeplessness, I knew I needed to catch up on the sleep first. I hate being so tired that I forget stuff and can't form a logical train of thought!

It was another active night last night, but I can't spend today napping. I have to load up four lambs into the back of the Outback and haul them off to the vets (an hour away, each direction) to get their health certificates for interstate shipping.

It's only two more days until I head out on my sheep delivery trip!


Susan said...

Wow, what a day. I felt overwhelmed for you just reading about it. I hope everything turns out. I have a companion dog I love very much too. Best of Luck to you all.

Mark said...

I bet "Old" McDonald was not even middle aged. Farming seems like an extremely tough haul.