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18 Acres

  
I woke up this morning around 6:30 and went to the front porch to see the sky in a pale pink, the sun was about to reach the top of the ridge and everything was still in anticipation. The smokey mountain mist draped around Bays shoulders like a pale coat, leaving the clover tops and grass blades soaked in dew. I curled up on the porch swing and waited, cold chills creeping across my arms against the chilly dawn.

The sun rose from the ridge in a perfect red circle, sending golden streams across the fields by the creek. Birds have already begun to stir, filling the misty air with early calls. In the yard before me, a proud bay grazes on the dewy grasses. I have moved to Tennessee, and these 18 acres are now my home. From the top of the hill covered in timber, to the old barn where the chickens live, down to the shed and the house, across the road to the tobacco barn that was built in the 30’s. From there to the grass that runs down to meet the winding creek, and up from the valley to the grassy meadow, where the sun has not yet reached.

In a few minutes the sun will turn orange and golden yellow and chase away that misty coat from the mountain ranges. My Aunt and I have been at work on the house – it sits in a blanket of leaves, covered in webs of spiders and nests of wasps. We have cleaned windows, swept side walks, we have pulled weeds, turned earth, watered plants and installed a scarecrow. Horses have been bathed and wormed, brushed and fed, we even moved kittens from the bathroom to the garage. I have bleached 100 gallon water troughs and shooed more spiders than I’d ever like to see again. There is still work that needs to be done on the chicken coop, but we let them out this morning to run in the grass, and I’ve never seen a group of birds more excited. I bathed the dog and my horse, getting myself wetter than both of them, and put out the kiddie pool for the remaining duck from the flock.

I don’t know why I get so much satisfaction out of seeing that mallard swim, but it put the biggest grin on my face. He thinks he’s a chicken, you know, so he doesn’t act like a duck. He wouldn’t use it until all the other hens came down from the coup to eat the sweet feed that the horses has spilled, and even then I had to scratch more out to keep them there while he paddled and preened. You could see he was happy without even trying – he was right where he belonged.

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