When I was a teenager I had pet monkeys. As an aside I do not recommend this. They are like toddlers forever and need constant care and attention. (Go to www.honesttoddler.wordpress.com and see what I mean.) Finding pet sitters is a BIG issue. (Thank you , Dany. I know you still have issues because of your abuse at the hands...well, not HANDS, exactly...of Spock) My father gave them away. After feeding them twice a day for YEARS, I used to wake up dreaming that they were starving and trapped in cages because I had forgotten to feed them. Horrible, scary nightmares.
I have had the horses for sale for some time. There have been callers, but no visitors, so I am sending them to a training stable to get them sold. If they aren't sold by winter, I will have to bring them back and start over in spring. Now, every time I go to the barn I think about whether this is one of the last times.
There are some really great things about having to get up early in the morning and get outside. When I had to go to work early, it meant getting up before 6:00. Many times it was dark when I got to the barn. While I worked the sun would come up over the Blue Ridge Mountains behind the house. Now it is bright when I get to the barn and the mornings are crisp and beautiful. The birds are out and the dew is on the fields. The horses are happy to see me and it is a wonderful way to start he day.
If I wake up early, I go to the barn by myself. When I get up later Lee will come and help me. We have worked out a routine that we follow.
I take the horses out to the pastures and he goes in the stalls and gets the water and feed buckets to clean.
I scoop the stalls and the turnouts and Lee refills the water buckets and puts fresh hay in the stalls. RJ helps with everything.
We don't put out grain until just before we return the horses to the stalls. No point in issuing engraved invitations to the wee mices! If Lee finishes first, he helps me scoop.
We drive the muck buckets to the compost pile, dump them out and we are done.
We now have a veggie of some kind growing there. It is probably a zucchini or a yellow squash. I won't know until the blooms turn into a recognizable vegetable. I won't let Lee dump anything on my rapidly growing plant and Lee firmly states his resolve that he WILL NOT eat whatever it is. My compost volunteers are doing better than my actual garden. Perhaps I can sneak them into the house...
So Lee and I get up every morning and usually spent a companionable 15 or 20 minutes together before going to get our breakfast. It can be great. It can be a dreaded chore. I will be glad to see the last time I have to do it. I will miss it a lot. I hope I don't get nightmares.