Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas on the Farm

Like most folks, we go shopping for Christmas presents for our family and special friends. Running around town is not our favorite thing to do, ever! But we make the trip and hopefully find things that will make each person pleased and joyful. But unlike most people, we have a farm full of animals who also know it is a special day. So we "shop" for their "presents" too.

I had the hubby pick up a bag of cow knuckle bones two days before Christmas. Our meat cattle had just gone to the butcher, so we had no bones in the freezer for the dogs and they surely deserve one on Christmas Day!

I checked through my round bales for the Grassy/Alfalfa ones and made sure hubby and tractor would be able to move them. Hubby also got a great box of treats from his work. A huge bag of roasted and mixed nuts and another huge bag of dried fruit. Now, we both like nuts, me more so than he, but we really have never been big fans of dried fruit. And I kept looking at the bag, wondering what good useful purpose I could find for all that dried fruit...staring at it was more like it....when it dawned on me HEY!!! All that fruit is animal friendly!! So now there were dried Mangos, Apricots, Apple Rings, Pineapple, Banana Chips, Raisins and shaved salts, no sugars, just plain-jane dried fruit. COOL!! I was hoping they would like it.

Hubby got an extra nice bag of barn kitty food and I set aside a can of Tuna for them to share.

The sheep are just too picky, it is grain and alfalfa ALWAYS for them!! But they are cooking up lambs for spring, so maybe a little extra grain would help them enjoy the blessed morning.

The cattle are extra spoiled by the hubby most of the time. If you ever asked him how much they eat per day, he would have no idea. He picked out an extra nice round bale for them full of nothing but green leafy Alfalfa and nice wet cob in buckets.

Our two indoor kitties are already spoiled rotten, but they too would enjoy slurping a can of Tuna.

And so Christmas morning came...doggies are the first to go outside in the morning. Fanny lept off the bed to beat me to the door, waiting anxiously as I opened the crate doors for the Labs and Abby. Out they went, all waggy tailed and frisky. While making the coffee, the indoor kitties sat indignantly awaiting their portion of kitty food. To their surprise, the sound of a can opener and the aroma of Tuna filled the kitchen and they lost all modesty to whirl, curl and meow!

Hubby and I enjoyed coffee and a little gift exchange before we donned our cold weather boots, hats, gloves and coveralls. With doggies bouncing everywhere, we schlepped to our respective feed positions and began our morning rounds. Carrots are always a favorite with my horses. The reaction to the dried fruits was simply hilarious!! Casper was happy with the Mango pieces and wanted no part of those dried Apples (but he is not a regular apple eater). As I made my way down the stall alley, I did not think Josey's neck could get any longer. The smell of Apricots was too much for the old girl! She ate every last one of them and nosed through all the other fruit looking for more Apricot pieces. Jack would have eaten all the dried fruit if I had let him (pig!). Andy and his dam, Kinky, were both very fond of the Mangos and Banana chips...weird! As I fed the dried fruit and crisp Carrots out, hubby drove the Christmas Round bales to each paddock. I went out to help cut the ties off of them and started the ritual barn-to-paddock walk.

Casper had never ever had a round bale, it was as big as him too! He stood looking at it with a snort here and there and then finally sniffed it....I never saw him again on Christmas Day, he immersed himself fully into his round bale. The mares, along with Andy kicked up their heels at the sight of the big leafy bales and were content to munch as long as possible. A very happy feeling to watch your horses enjoy a real royal treat day!

The barn kitties scurried to their places on top of the straw bales. Wide eyed at the smelly Tuna atop their kitty food...nom nom nom nom was all you could hear!

The cows and sheep were quite content with their Christmas feast. Sweet grain seems to have a lulling effect on livestock...maybe it is just a sugar high!

After several hours outside with the animals...hubby and I returned to the warmth of the wood stove within the house. We gave each dog a nice large bone in their crate. They were happily gnawing away when we settled into the kitchen to make ourselves a bit of Christmas breakfast.

God blessed our farm with a bountiful Christmas.