At the sounds of the eldest stirring, I roll out of bed. The chickens are already making a racket. I head to the wood stove and crush the newspaper and build the fire. I’m trying to beat my wife’s feet to the floor, but today I am going to be too slow.
The kettle screams with the coffee she’s started and I hear my eldest asking for breakfast. The chickens are waiting.
My family is apparently immune to the chill in the house this early spring morning and our eldest does not have pants on. I tell her to get dressed and smell the coffee brewing.
I check the fire, which has gone out. I glance at the damper, but it’s wide open. Not enough kindling. I restart the fire and return to the kitchen, the sulfur of the match tingling in my nose. The coffee is nearly finished and I pour a hot mug for myself.
Coffee at my lips, I grab the scrap bucket with the other. Some carrot peelings and an apple core today for the hens. I slip into my boots without tying them and pull on my jacket. I call for the dog and take her with me to greet the hens.
As soon as I open the coop door they sprint to my feet, impatiently eyeing me askance. I spread the scraps for them and open the egg door to check if we have any early gifts from our girls. I set my coffee down in some pine shavings and inspect the laying boxes. I grab three eggs and put them into my coat pocket. I pick up the mug and take a few gulps. The arabica aroma works with the pine shavings for me and I see the sun streaming through the white birch trees to the east.
Inside, everyone is talking and I have eggs to share.