Very relieved this week is over. I work with some very challenging kids to put it lightly. Would love to share more of my experiences at school but would not be "professional." Let's just say coming home to my animals is a joy I can't express. They think I am the be-all and end-all. The alpha and the omega. The yin and the yang. I love them so. They pull me out of every nasty funk, even though I make it hard for them sometimes. Collectively they fill in all the gaps and keep me busy and active. Winter provides me with an opportunity to interact with them so much more than summer when they are always outside grazing and drinking from the pond. Lilly and her old girlfriends line up at the place where I have to pass them with the buckets of slop on the way to the pig pen. They stretch their long necks and try to tip the buckets of warm slop as I pass. I have to turn sideways to avoid their smacking lips and waving tongues. So funny. I do enjoy giving them a bit of warmth in their old tummies. Although aged they are still growing nice coats of wool outside of those bags of bones they live in. I've started giving the ducks and chickens buckets of warm mash at night. I don't know how the ducks are surviving after a rich diet of earth worms, bugs and swamp greens all summer and fall. I've only managed to keep six of them in a pen and failed to catch two more tonight after a mad chase around the barn. I concocted a plan to toss the hay mow ducks down a hole into the duck pen but couldn't catch them either. Matt is right. They know where the water and mash is and can wiggle back into the pen if they want. The hay mow kitties wait for me to climb the ladder with their dinner, milling around and yowling for me to hurry up. I take food up to them but have started putting a bucket of water at the bottom of the ladder. One by one they run down to take a drink, then run back up, much more gracefully than me. I spend about an hour and a half, refilling the hanging water containers as the sheep and goats tiptoe up for a long drink. As our nightly time together comes to a close, the ducks settle down and fluff themselves up, parking their beaks under their wings and covering their feet with their bodies. The chickens jump up to roost and the pigs snuggle down into their bed of fresh hay. Knut buries himself in a giant cardboard box of wool and Thor beds down in an old water tank also filled with wool. The third White Boy, Finnie, is living in the buffer room between the apartment and the barn. I was worried his brothers would beat him up for being so privileged but they've been good about it. I stopped by the Chenango County SPCA after work today and picked up my Fur Ball tickets. I'm hoping for a happy time with a husband in a good mood and no tractor injuries this year. I love this glitzy gathering at a local country club to raise money for the shelter. While there I said hello to the pound doggies in their pens, barking frantically in an effort to be heard, to be loved. An elderly couple was adopting a tiny beagle mix puppy. What a happy scene, and what a lucky dog to have two people completely to itself. That puppy will be a total joy to that couple and bring new life into their waning years. Time to bed down with my own puppies who are patiently waiting for me to lift the covers and give them the signal. I'm coming, kids.