Hayley’s Morning

Every morning my alarm goes off at 5:30am. In the warmer months of the year I am usually able to wake before the dreaded beeping, however as the light changes I frequently find myself pulled from a deep slumber by my wrist watch. It is completely dark in our house as I grab some warm clothing, a headlamp and my milk pails. Hoping not to disturb any sleeping boys, the three dogs and I creep out the front door, the flashlight beam our only light. Two glowing eyes slowly approach from the bottom of the pasture as my calls of “Jeannette! Jeannette!” echo down the valley. It’s milking time.

As soon as I have emptied our beautiful girl of her morning milk, the dogs and I head back to the house. If I am going to sneak in my morning run, which I do at least 5 times a week, now is my chance. Strain the milk, change my clothing, and dash out the door, hoping to leave, once again, boys sleeping in my wake. Of course many mornings the boys are sprinting in circles around the house, wrestling with the dogs, or simply requesting five different breakfasts simultaneously by this point… nevertheless, it is out the door I go. Gabe is well accustomed to dealing with the morning chaos that is our home.

For my second trip into the morning darkness, though there is usually at least a hint of light in the sky, I take only Isis, my running partner extraordinaire. What dog, at mile 10 of a 12 mile run, is still jumping up to bite the leash (or my arm) in excitement? She is truly the most energetic beast I have ever known and loves, more than most things in this world, to run. We cruise down the driveway and out onto the surrounding roads, only to return 4-16 miles later (4 being the short runs of late, 16 the long) with chores looming.

A chorus of “baaa”, “moooo”, and pig grunts generally meets Isis and I as we top our driveway to hungry farm animals awaiting their breakfasts. Now that fall has truly arrived, and the grass is lacking in nutrition, most of our animals are eating a daily ration of hay and are thus arriving back at the farm from their summer grazing locations. Isis and I quickly switch modes. Grain, whey, hay for the three pig groups, hay and water for the lambs, double check the cows’ water trough and a quick peek at the layers (who generally only need water and grain in the evenings) before we hurry back to the house. By this point my mind is usually wondering what state Eben and August will be in…happy?…wild?…furious? Hoping for the former, we open the door to cries of “Mama! Isa! Mama! Isa! Mama!” The day has begun.



IMG_3595 (800x600)Fall is my favorite season but it is also the one that I get the least time to enjoy. Fall is a foreshadowing, bringing the prospect of winter and 7 months of frozen ground and cold. To be ready for winter we must have all of our winter animal shelters ready, water, hay and fencing all lined up properly. I am not going to pretend that I am ready or that it will be smooth. We were overly ambitious this summer and the roof needs to be put on the new barn, the new water system needs a pump and winter pig area needs a bed of wood chips. Oh and the house addition needs a chimney, insulation and a roof.

We are just beginning to think about bringing our cows and sheep back from their summer pastures. The sheep have another 3 weeks of grass but the cows need to be brought back and put on hay. This week will be our last summer farmers market and we will say goodbye to our last batch of meat birds and turkeys. I like to think that with these things wrapped up I will have time to finish the barn and our house addition. The truth is I am not so secretly hoping for a glorious and long fall, another three months before snow and frozen ground please. This is a dangerous thing to do with our increasingly unpredictable weather but this is my favorite season and I would like for it to last.