Waking up in the morning around 5:30, and I jumped out of bed. I didn’t need an alarm clock, my body just knew. I ran to the bathroom and then back to my room. I put my jeans on first, then my shirt, and the belt always coming last. I strained my ear to hear grandpa, just to make sure he was awake too. Then I slipped down the stairs and poured myself a glass of sweet tea and waited on him. I stayed with my grandparents during the summer occasionally when I was little. I enjoyed spending time with them and it always meant being on the farm. I could hear grandpa coming down the stairs and knew exactly what he would be wearing–his white button down shirt with the sleeves cut off, blue pants with the ends rolled up twice with his pocket knife in the right pocket, and of course his watch on the left wrist. He smiled at me when he walked in the kitchen. He sat down in his chair, I sat down in mine, and we put our boots on together. I think he enjoyed this ritual, being together, watching his grandson grow up.
We left the house and started walking towards the barn. It was still dark with only the stars twinkling in the morning sky. The gravel rocks crunched beneath my feet. I walked faster than him for he had years of hard work behind him, but I always stayed by his side. We got to the road and he grabbed my hand, his hands were rough from baling hay, milking cows, driving tractors, and making a living. We crossed the road and walked into the barn at exactly 6:00am just like every morning. This was my favorite part of the day. Nobody else awake, feeling like I had the world and Grandpa to myself. Grandpa flipped on the lights as we walked through the barn. I could smell the fresh cut hay in the loft above, the animals, and my favorite smell, the farm. By the time we came to the cows, they were all up for they knew their day had started. I ran to the back of the barn, where all the babies were housed. I looked into the pens to check on them and as soon as they saw me, up they went ready to be fed. Grandpa went over to the dairy store to get coffee and apple juice, while I raced around the barn checking all the animals. We sat in the office like best friends drinking apple juice and coffee, holding some conversation about the weather, today’s schedule, and the farm. I enjoyed talking to my grandpa, he told me stories about the farm when he was a kid. All the while, I thought that I had to be the luckiest kid in the world. And I was.
Now it was time to go to work. Grandpa got the feed cart and down the aisle we went as the cows waited impatiently for their turn. I can hear the calves mooing, the goats baaing, the chickens cackling, and pigs oinking. As Grandpa milked the cows, I fed the rest of our family. I prepared each breakfast recipe by mixing all the grain, corn, wheat, and pellets together into buckets. I walked from pen to pen with all my buckets, scooping pan after pan of feed into the tubs. Grandpa saved some milk for me and I walked back to the calves who were ready to jump out of their pens. I poured my milk into the bottles and down the row I went, calf to calf. I spent time with each one thinking of the perfect names. We didn’t stop for a break, because work needed to be done. With everything fed and watered, we started our next chore. With the cows knowing what came next, they started to get anxious. My favorite thing to do on the farm, is to let the cows out. I looked each one in the eye, said her name, gave her a pat, and then out she went. Grandpa and I followed the cows out to the pasture. They ran out into the fields playing like children on a playground. Grandpa leaned against the white fence and I sat on top. We gazed at the cows grazing in the pasture, with the sun rising in the east. I smiled to myself, knowing life doesn’t get any better because tomorrow we will do it all over again…just Grandpa and me.