Around here, everyone has a job to do. There's no lolly-gagging allowed on a farm. You have to earn your keep.
The cat, Ethel, is in charge of internal extermination and quality control. Part of her job description includes regular patrols inside the house for any suspicious mouse activity. (Yes, I'm admitting on the Internet for the whole world to see that we have mice. It's a 100 year old house on a farm. It comes with the territory.) She also inspects every quilt and other products manufactured here on the homestead. And often, she'll fill in as a paperweight and or foot-warmer in a pinch.
The beagle, Lucy, is in charge of the alarm system and pest control. If a squirrel, chipmunk or raccoon makes the mistake of stopping by for a visit she will chase it up a tree and bark at it until the sun sets. That might be two hours or twelve. Doesn't matter, she's dedicated to her job. You don't want to know what she does with rabbits, so I won't mention it.
Then there is Bandit, Head Farm Dog in Charge. He is the house and garden security expert. Unlike Lucy he never barks unless he really needs to. He is aloof and has stealth capabilities. He prefers to sneak up on intruders. We don't know all of his background but we think he was a former Army Ranger or Navy Seal. Most people who come here are afraid of him. He shows no emotion except that I-could-kill-you-if-I-really-wanted-to look sometimes.
The Willabeest rounds out the farmstead security team. She patrols the barnyard guarding her flocks. And trust me she is very, very effective in her position. I heard the coyotes drop by serenading us with their howls just last night. A few barks from the Willabeest and they were gone.
The Fat Bottom Girls are here to exterminate insects, lay eggs and manufacture fertilizer. Pretty much in that exact order. Blackbeard, Old One-Eyed Calico Jack and his son JB are all here to keep watch over their respective hens. They fluff the nests and announce the arrival of the eggs and the sun. Because we surely would miss the sunrise if they didn't remind us it was happening.
The Golden Girls, Sophia, Dorothy, Blanche and Rose are on the landscaping crew. They mow the grass, eradicate weeds and spread fertilizer. During the off season they run a cottage industry producing wool to be used for quilt batting, spinning and/or felting.
Our operation is continuing to expand this year. In order to reclaim some of the land that has been neglected for at least fifty years we need someone to come in and do some brush cutting and tree trimming. Nothing can clear an overgrown pasture faster than a goat. So we're adding three to the payroll. A mother and her two young sons.
Once the ground thaws and new fence posts are able to go up they will come live here and go to work. And work hard. The decision to hire them has nothing to do with the fact that they are adorable and fun to watch, I swear. Really.
I hear you laughing. You don't believe me do you?