Why? First, there are the habits of the farmette master himself: he works on his various machining projects at odd hours. If inspiration strikes at 9 p.m., that is when work for him begins.
And when he finally crawls into bed say at 2 at night, that sleep may not last long if our ever the nocturnal cat decides to cry at 3 second intervals beginning, say, at 4:30 a.m. We interpret that to mean he wants to go out for a romp across the yard. The farmette master and primary caretaker of said cat will stumble down to let him out and then will wait until the cat decides he's had enough -- usually ten minutes later. Cat inside, master upstairs, once again trying to sleep.
At around 5, the rooster will begin to crow. We don't mind. He's not very loud. Since sunrise now is at 5:47 in these parts, we don't immediately respond to the crow (besides, he doesn't stop crowing just because you let him out). Indeed, we're afraid of releasing the cheepers too early. Don't racoons cavort sometimes just before sunrise? So we wait until closer to 6.
Hold on - why do I write "we?" The responsibility for cheeper care has shifted to the farmette master -- that same guy who has a soft spot for the unpredictable rooster. And the routines have changed somewhat from the time when I did the job back in the spring months. Nowadays, the white hens perch on the fence at bedtime, and Scotch, the brown hen, goes in the coop, and the rooster rests somewhere on the pile of logs behind the coop, so that the night chore consists of shooing the hens off the fence and picking up the rooster and giving him a final sweet rub on the cheek and then making sure they are all inside the locked coop for the night. Only when Ed had the summer sniffles did I take over once again. Now that we're both well, he does the chicken care.
Well, that's how it mostly works. This morning, I felt sorry for him, what with the late night and the incessantly meowing cat and so as 6 a.m. approached, I said to him -- sleep on, dear man. I will do chicken duty this morning!
I go outside and.... what's this? The chickens are running toward me in a morning greeting that is sort of unreal. How is it that they're outside??
Ah! Someone forgot to do the evening chore of locking them up for the night! Only because members of our local animal kingdom (racoons and possums come to mind... I haven't heard the coyotes lately) chose to rest this night and not prowl around for food do we have chickens scampering about the farmette at all!
The cheepers do appear to be a tad disconcerted. As if that freedom wasn't so comfortable after all. As if the break with routine made them feel at loose ends, not knowing what's next, or what the day's agenda may be for them. Shortly after the morning greeting, they retreat under a bush and feign sleep. Or maybe they do sleep. A late night party requires some compensatory shut eye.
As if all this wasn't enough to set everyone in a tizzy, it is the day that two families of wild turkeys decided to march across the farmette land, right by the cheeper noses. When each party noticed the other, it appeared for a minute we would have a scene straight out of a Capulet-Montague confrontation. With dire consequences for some involved. But, I heard the squawking and threatening noises, and my presence caused the turkeys to retreat and the cheepers to settle back into their comfortable positions under the birch tree. Crisis averted.
The good part about having had a morning stroll is, of course, the loveliness of that garden walk then. Just a few photos -- I'm sure you think you've seen all blooms from all angles already. Not so! They're ever changing!
And now that August is almost upon us, they are going to recede. Our gardens peak in July.
On a calmer note, I must note that breakfast was back to the old paradigm again...
...and, too, today marks the last evening Concert on the Square (and if that isn't a mark of a summer in retreat, I don't know what is!) and my daughter and I attend (along with 35,000 others). We eat supper on a spread out blanket...
...and look up at a Capitol awash with lights...
...and after, I return to the farmette and the cheepers are put away already and (I hope) all's right with the world.