It’s still dark, the air has a hint of chill in the air, it’s quiet except the beeping of my alarm going off.
5am rolls around again and beckons me to push the tiredness from limbs and shake off thoughts of slumber. The rhythm of my early routine gives me structure and the direction I need to start my day.
With only the stars awake as I shuffle into rubber muck boots my thoughts turn to the constellations and I take a second to see how many I can make out in the early morning sky. A vapor is coming from the North down the pasture, attempting to block my view of the ancient star scape.
I reach for a five gallon bucket, one of the most essential things on a small-scale farm in todays day, yet largely taken for granted. So vital for transport of feed and water, especially the way we raise animals, outside in the grass where we have to bring to them the essentials of food and water, rather than house them in a barn without access to fresh forage and sunlight and fresh air. It’s a compromise I’m happy to make for the sake of happier healthier animals.
With truck loaded up with feed for hundreds of birds and enough water to last the first half of the day I drive out to the field. The first few flighty hens are already starting to wake up, with barely enough light to make out the shadow of an owl they begin their ever important task of eating and scratching dirt in order to find a grub or two.
Portable fences are taken down and put up around new forage, the egg mobile driven forward onto fresh grass, feed poured out onto the ground. Waterers filled up and the first streaks of dawn are seen across the sky, like streamers from a banner, beckoning the day.
The wet grass heavy from the nightly dew bends beneath it, with each step I take spraying me with the early morning distillate. As the sunlight begins to stream across the the pasture, filtering down onto the thick clover and orchard grass, I make my way back to the house. Ready for my morning ritual, a cup of strong pour-over coffee and a few still moments to take in the day before I start the next job.