It’s funny that the more animals you have, the more routine you get in your life. This is great for me as I love routine!
Note to Amanda, however - this doesn’t mean that the more animals we get, the better. At some point, the routine then becomes unmanageable.
First it was the cats. Feed them first thing, top up water, clean litter trays and then feed them at tea-time. Biscuits before bed. Done.
Then it was the hens. Let them out first thing, check for eggs, water and food levels (they eat a lot!), scatter some seed and then put them to bed just before dark. Done.
Next it was Louis the Golden Retriever puppy. Take him out first thing. Feed. Monitor. Play. Take him out. Feed. Monitor. Play. Take him out. Feed. Take him out etc. You get the picture. He’s a puppy! Never done!
The challenge is how to maintain all routines seamlessly, especially while serving breakfast to guests staying at the house, as the other thing about having animals is that they’re not very helpful in managing another species’ routines - they’re just interested in their own!
Louis wants the cat’s food. The cat wants Louis’ bed. The hens want to go out of the back door of their hen-house. Louis wants to play with the cat. … I want to lie down!
However, despite the challenges inherent in animal husbandry, they do serve to keep you in routines.
I mention all this, really, because, when you have these fixed routines, you begin to notice little changes around you.
“I’m in the garden with Louis. It’s 6.45am. It’s pitch black. I need a torch to see where he has excreted” becomes “I’m in the garden with Louis. It’s 6.45am. It’s light enough to see that Louis has excreted on the drive, just next to one of the cars.”
“I’m going to shut the hens up because it’s getting dark. It’s 5.15pm” eventually becomes “I’m going to shut the hens up because it’s getting dark. It’s 6pm.”
The days are getting longer, as they tend to do at this time of year. And it’s great!
Nutsford House stands on high ground overlooking a valley and facing south. On a clear day - and we’ve had some beautiful clear, sunny days recently - you can watch the sun rise in the east, move across the sky and set in the west. I’m already dreaming of June when this process could take seventeen hours.
Gustav Mahler said, “Spring won’t let me stay in this house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again.”
After five months of house renovation and the now lengthening days, despite Spring not quite being with us quite yet, I think we both know what Mahler meant.
Here’s to more time outside, fulfilling all those animal routines.