Isn’t this just a photo of country-kid perfection? Out with her dog, bringing watermelon rinds to the chickens. We got her hat at the thrift store yesterday; they’re having a cowboy-themed promotion right now, so they have tons of old hats like this hanging at the front of the store. We might have to go back, because I’m jealous of M’s! We usually wear ball caps to keep the flies off our heads, but this is a little more stylish.
The chickens have been ranging free for the past several days. Before this weekend, they would stay in their coop and run most of the time, and then I’d let them out when we were outside, too. But the chickens have proven that they like to stick close to home, and they sure are happy now that they get to roam around all day! Their favorite spot is in the photo above: under the weeds and raspberries surrounding the propane tank. It seems cool and sheltered, and funnily enough, it’s only about 15′ away from their coop.
The chickens love M best (even Aster no longer has time to visit with me anymore), and she has bought that love with countless clover flowers. She picks them and offers them to the chickens, and they almost always take the flowers, although I don’t think they eat them that often. It’s not like they can’t eat as many as they want all day long. But they’re polite chickens.
Speaking of offering food to animals, I’ve started showing M how to feed the dogs. I scoop up the food and hand the scoop to her, and then she pours it into each of their bowls (they get breakfast and dinner). It requires quite a bit of focus from her — she has to walk with the full scoop, trying to keep it level so the kibble won’t fall out; then she has to remember to bend her knees when she gets to the dog dish (instead of, like the first time, dumping it from standing height — oops); then pouring it all in the bowl, which takes some good wrist turning. It’s an example of something that definitely takes five times as long with M’s help, but it’s worth it to see how much she enjoys the responsibility. What amuses me is that she likes to pick up the dog dishes when the dogs are finished eating, and she puts them up by the dog food. Then, the next time, she carefully puts the dishes back in their usual spots. I just leave the dishes on the floor the entire time, so it’s anybody’s guess where she got that from. She just likes to keep a tidy house (in some very specific, limited instances).