... this morning 20 years from now. And may I laugh heartily. Until then, let me blog and vent my utter frustrations before going back out to make our little world right again.
The kids have been begging for oatmeal lately. So I soaked some last night. Did they eat it this morning? No. Farmer Boy 2 (FB2) dumped his on the floor. No matter. Its a common occurance. We let in the dog to clean up the majority as I tell the older 2 to put on their swim suits. I rinse out the 2 day old pool water from their kiddie pool and set it refilling. A fight breaks out over what swimsuit Farmer Boy 1 wants to wear because he's scared of the one with orcas all over it. Meanwhile FB2 has gotten into Farmer Girl's oatmeal, covers himself in cinnamon and leaves her crying because she wanted to eat it later. I finally get them outside. I pull the waterers from the chicken pens so FG and FB1 can get started on their chores. I get Doby on the stand (oh yeah, she kidded... a while ago... I'm behind, I know). I milk her into ZigZag (her buckling)'s bottle. FG and FB1 start fighting over how much (or how little) FB1 is helping. I give FB1 the bottle and he happily runs off to feed. I just finish milking her and discover that FB2 has taken to "feeding" everything dog food. There's dog food dumped all over the porch floor. I scold him and get him cleaning up his mess (keeping in mind he's about 19 months old) when the Solar-Fit guy shows up for me to sign the contract on our solar hot water heater. FB1 starts helping FB2 clean up so I assume that will go relatively smoothly. Doby takes forever to eat so I assume she's fine being left on the stand. I always let her eat her fill and do other chores after I've milked her out. I ask FG to unclip her from the stand so she's free to get down and graze when she wants but fully expecting her to stay at the stand the few minutes I'd be away. I go inside to sign papers and less than a minute later hear FG in the kiddie pool. I scold her for playing before chores are finished and I peak at the stand to see it empty. I run out and Doby's completely MIA. I run around the whole property, call the dog, call for FG, summoning the troops to find our little escapee (who no doubt would return, but how much of our gardens would she eat while I don't know where she is?). Mr. Solar-Fit is left inside. I finally see her against the side of the pasture fence (on the wrong side of it, mind you), way in the back happily munching scrub so I leave her again. Come in to find that the boys decided to dump the dog food all into the bag of game bird starter I'm trying to sell on Craig's List (another long story). I start to really flip then decide I can finish my flip out after Mr. Solar-Fit is on the road again. I sign my papers. He leaves. I find FG playing again. FB2 is back at the dog food. I scoop him up and plop him screaming in the crib. I retreive Doby and scratch my legs up on palmetto scrub while doing it. Then its Dulci's turn for milking. I tell FG and FB1 that I'm going to be the "faster" (FG's made up noun for her and her brother when they finish their chores before I finish mine). That usually sparks my little dilly dally-er into motion. Keep in mind, all she does is fill 3 chicken waterers, 2 goat waterers, pick leaves for the baby goat and collect the hay baskets in the garage. She's got a single chicken waterer filled at this point. I milk Dulci, give her first round of chemical dewormer and let her finish her breakfast while I prod the young ones from a closer proximity. Helen's up next and she's late so she's jumpy. The sheep are getting really noisy and I have to force Valentino back into the pasture because I'm not ready for him yet. FG grabs the bucket for leaves and goes to the front yard. I'm half way done with Helen and FG SCREAMS. I drop everything and run... to discover she caught a butterfly in her butterfly net. I've told her many times about not screaming in excitement because I can't tell if she's in serious trouble or not. I haven't had the heart to discipline her for it. After all, she comes by it honestly. Her father squeals with delight with just seeing colorful lichen on a tree. I get back to Helen who's very agitated. She's the only goat who HATES being left alone on the stand. She lets me know she's mad too. I spill about a pint of milk trying to finish getting her milked out. I get Helen back to the pasture and I go back to FG and help her move the butterfly from the net to their bug observatory. It's a white southern butterfly, one that's unique to central FL, so I'm thinking we'll have to do a special lesson about it and don't punish her neglect with chores by releasing it. Meanwhile, she still has leaves to pick for ZigZag, 1 more chicken waterer to fill and both the goat water buckets. When I go to let myself into the pasture, the sheep are done waiting for me. Valentino, Esperanza and Nina (those that graze the front yard) were ganged up and bull-dozed out. I let them go, afterall, they just eat grass. I fill the pasture water buckets. FG runs crying because she's supposed to take care of Nina. She's hoping to show Nina in a fair this year and she's practicing by leading her to her graze station each morning. I get her calmed down by showing that Nina's not tethered yet. I get the collar on her and hand her to FG who does a great job... except that the leaf bucket is still mostly empty. I water the gardens while she FINALLY gets some leaves for ZigZag. She fills his water bucket and takes that to him too. Then I see a black snake slowly exploring the garden I'm in. So this time I interrupt the flow of chores to call them over. FG tends to freak out at the sight of a snake so I wanted her to see this good one and emphasize that if it doesn't look like THIS snake, she needs to get away and tell an adult. So we stand and watch the snake for a while. Which gets them in the garden and picking unripe tomatoes while I'm not looking. More scolding. I kick them out of the garden back to filling water buckets and now, also cleaning up all their toys they've scattered around while they were supposed to be doing chores. FB1 finally just gives up and puts himself in his room (his option if he's not going to be outside working/playing with us... he's my little inside boy). FG is the one responsible for chores anyway. We just encourage FB1 to "help" which is as good as "just stand beside someone working outside". Then it dawns on me that I haven't yet filtered the milk. I get that going and go outside to pick squash, 3 HUGE zucchini that I must have missed for 3 days. I'm in and out, adding more milk to the filter with a bit too much on the brain... and discover that I caused the milk to overflow and leave a flood on the counter. FG is still working on that last goat bucket and collecting hay baskets. I start cleaning my own mess when FB1 comes to me with FB2's diaper... which FB2 apparently took off by himself and threw at FB1. FB1 himself is also naked and crying because he can't find his "Diego go go go" underwear. I leave them naked, move Copper's finally-full water bucket to the bachelor pad, finish watering the herb gardens, and powow with FG over her lack of diligence. Its now 3 hours after we started chores, and she's just now finished. I had filled the pool for them to play in this morning, but she doesn't get to now because she dilly dallied for 3 hours. Tears flow. I'm over tears. I'm about to shed them myself. I tell her if she cleans up the mess FB2 made in the porch she can have pool time while the boys are napping today. She decides its not worth it and she'd rather just go inside. Me too. I'd rather go inside and do puzzles and play piano and eat bananas. But instead I get to fill out complaint forms over legal malpractice all afternoon.
One day I really will laugh at all this. And before that time comes, I'll have another day just like this, only maybe with twice as many kids involved. One day I'll know exactly what the result would be if game birds eat a little dog food. Or rabbit food. Or if rabbits eat chicken and dog food mixed in with their own. And throw the dog's garlic tablets into everything too. Yeah, one day stories like this will make me rich.
Even if only rich in heart.