Sunday, September 12, 2010

september mornings

By 5:38 I was up. I had not set my alarm, but apparently the extra hour was all the sleep my body wanted (or needed) anymore. I had gone to bed early the night before, around 10. I had had a long day that started on the back of a horse, rounded out with a five-mile run, and ended with a bowl of pasta. I love hooves, heart rates, and carbs. I enjoyed all three, with gusto, but they tend to wear a woman out. After nearly eight hours of sleep (twice of what I normally get a night) I felt like I'd go crazy if I went back to bed.

It was dark outside, 2AM dark. A few weeks ago 5:38 would be full daylight and morning chores would be done in a pair of jeans and a tee shirt. This morning seemed chilly, and I was already barking for coffee. I stood up in the dark farmhouse and went about a favorite fall ritual: candle mornings. I lit the Jack-o-lantern on the stove and a few pumpkin-shaped votives in giant quart-sized canning jars. The big globe around the flame reminded me of hurricane lamps. I lit another orange candle in the living room and let Gibson out of his crate. He had been whining for a while now. His whimpers are short and high, chirps really. When I first heard them I thought the battery was low on the smoke alarm. But in the gentle light, started with out an alarm clock, his whines were more melodic then piercing. I let him out, leashed him up, and stepped out into the light of the lamp post in the front yard. Gibson peed like a champ.

Then the ruckus started.

The sheep realized their servant was up. All three erupted in a chorus of baaing followed by the nickering of Finn. They raced down the hill from the shed to the gate. Soon after they started hollering the chickens caught on and crowed and clucked to be let out of the coop. The semi-feral rabbits started to circle me (they knew I would be throwing down grain shortly for the birds) and June Carter howled from a nearby tree stump. Gibson barked and lunged at the noise. This was a full-blown hootenanny. I was silently grateful everyone who moves to Washington County has to sign a waiver saying they understand they are in an agricultural area. All my neighbors (though I doubted any were up yet) couldn't call the cops about the party I was throwing. They literally signed up for it.

I took G inside and fed him back in the crate and started coffee on the stove. I then walked Jazz and Annie, fed the sheep and Finn two flakes of hay, dumped some cat food, and scattered chicken feed outside the open coop door. I grabbed yesterday's eggs and realized I only had four in my hands. This meant about thirty were hidden on a pile somewhere else and I would probably find them when I moved the hay bales later. Farming is mostly outsmarting your animals, or learning to play their games in a way that lets them think they won; and you still get omelets.

Within moments the hungry noise had been replaced by chewing mouths and gentle coos. Why had none of my beginner farming books described the whole point of a job well-done before coffee was if everyone shut up? I went inside, content that everyone outside was well fed.

I started my coffee, grabbed my book, and let Gibson join me on the daybed. Under the quilts I snuggled with a memoir (Reading the Bucolic Plague and loving it) and on top of them he snuggled with a rawhide bone. Jazz and Annie were already back asleep in the dim morning light. The coffee I had started before walking the dogs was perking. The outside animals were quiet. My dogs content. It was how I wanted to start every day for the rest of my life.

24 Comments:

Blogger seagoddess said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

September 12, 2010 at 8:25 AM  
Blogger seagoddess said...

What a lovely Sunday morning...it calmed me, too! I sometimes awake a little anxious on Sundays...if I can't go to the beach, I'm not sure what to do with myself in the city. I pulled out a wool blanket around 5 or 6am and snuggled in and called Sash up to my bed for more warmth. Got up, made my soy latte, and took Sash on her bizness walk (I need my coffee before her walk so she gets a better one), fed her, made myself a broccoli and egg and feta omelet, sat down to read your blog, and immediately felt a sigh of relief and comfort. Thank you, Jenna and happy, cozy Sunday morning to you, too.

http://mygirlsasha.blogspot.com

September 12, 2010 at 8:28 AM  
Blogger Tami SouthStreetShabby.blogspot.com said...

Jenna,
It sounds like you are in your paradise! As much as I like summer and spring...the Fall...is probably my most favorite season. I love sweaters and cool nights and sunny days. It would be just about perfect...if winter didn't follow. I am just tired of the snow...and we get a lot of it in Syracuse!
LOL...I was going to look for that book today...been thinking that it would be a great read. Let us know how you like it!
**Tami

September 12, 2010 at 9:24 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

Jenna, that's exactly how I start every morning here. I don't even get anything before these animals do. They know when I am up. They can see me in the house. And they are all out there staring at me. Chickens, cats, dogs, goats. So I have to run outside and feed the masses (and feed the turkeys and let them out) before I can even go to the bathroom! Then I have goats to milk too. Then when they are all fed and and milked and happy, it's my turn. I have been doing this so long I can do it with my eyes closed. Enjoy these mornings!

September 12, 2010 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger treehuggers kitchen said...

Even though I am happily married to my husband, and I fully know that you are completely heterosexual....Jenna, will you marry me? :) I love your writing, love your mornings, love the feeling it gives me when I read them...I wish I could be a fly on the wall of your house, to enjoy your life just as much as you do. Although I'm not sure if a housefly enjoys coffee quite the same as you and I do. :)

September 12, 2010 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Tami, I love it. It is hilarious. I am almost done and I haven't even owned it 24 hours.

September 12, 2010 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

TK: thank you, thanks all for the kind words.

September 12, 2010 at 9:36 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

I agree about getting everyone to shut up. We always do a re-check if everyone has food but someone is still hollering! I always get my coffee first around here (them's the rules) but everyone - and I mean EVERYONE - eats before I do.

September 12, 2010 at 10:02 AM  
Blogger Sense of Home said...

Sounds like a perfect way to start the day. I started my day by canning tomatoes, just turned the pressure cooker off, finishing a cup of coffee and am almost ready to head out for the day. A beautiful, sunny, calm, crisp fall day by the way.

-Brenda

September 12, 2010 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger TMC said...

"All three erupted in a chorus of baaing..."

what a wonderful turn of phrase!!

September 12, 2010 at 10:30 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

What a charming idea for your votive candles! I think I'll look for some candles- the quart jars aren't seeing much action this year....

September 12, 2010 at 12:27 PM  
Blogger Marxwell said...

Sounds like an awesome morning! I'm more of an oil lamp person than candles, but love that kind of lighting. So, what do you use to brew your coffee? I've yet to find a good stove-top percolator, and my coffee is a necessity for my day :)

September 12, 2010 at 12:33 PM  
Blogger Alicia said...

I love your prose. You have this way of making what seems like the most mundance of tasks interesting.

And I love the beauty of September mornings....

September 12, 2010 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger E said...

8 hours is twice of what you normally sleep! - perhaps some of your recent dips are related to lack of sleep?

Fall is such a lovely time - glad to hear all your animals are happy.

September 12, 2010 at 2:04 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

E, I think you're right. Any illness or stress would be a lot easier to fend off if I was getting more sleep.

September 12, 2010 at 2:28 PM  
Blogger Lisa Richards said...

Sounds like a glorious morning!

September 12, 2010 at 2:52 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

I LOL at the smoke detector chirps coming from Gibson. Oliver does the same thing. I guess there is a universal "let me out of the crate" dog sound (can't really call it a bark).

Your animals spoiled. Coffee comes before animals at my house, in spite of the doggy warning beep.

September 12, 2010 at 3:39 PM  
Blogger leafonatree said...

Love it. :)

September 12, 2010 at 6:09 PM  
Blogger daisy said...

Glad you are getting just what you deserve! You've earned it! ;0) daisy

September 12, 2010 at 8:00 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

Your morning routine is similar to mine sans sheep as the rooster crows by 4:30. Let the 3 GSDs out, let the 2 cats in, let the chickens out and give them scratch, feed and check water of the rabbits, feed the 3 GSDs in their crates. Pour a cup of coffee and check CAF blog.
Yes the mornings are dark now but I never thought to light candles and drink in the soft glow. I'll try it.

September 12, 2010 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Love hearing about your morning. Sounds so beautiful. Mine is similar except that I don't feed the animals until somewhere around 8am, maybe later. i'm a lazy farmer :)

And I need waaaaaay more sleep than 4 hours. Even 8 hours is a little slim for my liking. Too little sleep and I'm an emotional basket case. Too little sleep for many days in a row and I'm sure to get ill. Sleep is good.

September 13, 2010 at 12:53 PM  
Blogger jenomnibus said...

I love these descriptions on of your daily chores and the feel of the place! You evoke a nostalgia for something I"ve never experienced myself, which is quite a feat. Erm, you need to get more sleep though. Seriously. Getting only 4 hours is bad for your health. But on the other hand, you're running 5 miles now?! Damn, girl!

September 13, 2010 at 12:55 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Jenna! I love the picture! Here in Arkansas the mornings are barely chilly enough to feel like fall, but I'm heartened enough to make it so! Today at the grocery store I saw a display of pumpkins, gourds and the beloved apple cider! I nearly filled my cart with the delicacies but remained calm and kept walking. After all, our big box grocery store isn't the best price or choice for things of that nature.

September 13, 2010 at 7:50 PM  
Blogger Manzanita Farms said...

Aahhhhh - what a wonderful morning.

September 18, 2010 at 1:34 AM  

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