Sometimes I would wake up to a silent house. That meant Mom and Dad were off on a walk, otherwise there would be sounds and smells of breakfast cooking. Everyone else was asleep from what I could tell. These mornings excited me, they were summer mornings, which meant no school to worry about, and at this age, very few chores. Being one of the first awake made me feel like I had a good jump on the day. Though I knew my day would be full, I felt like I could afford to take it slow until breakfast.
Lyman is very flat, so even early in the morning the rays of sunshine hit and warm every east facing surface. Though the air is still chilly it doesn’t bother you cause you know that it will soon be warm.
The air is still and holds the moist scent of dew on grass, earth and concrete. Robins chirp and sing from everywhere, out to clean up the worms. To this day their racket always takes me back to those summer mornings with nostalgic pleasure. I remember wandering through the silent kitchen, all the lights are off yet the room is bright with the sun shining through the glass door and white lace curtain, onto the island and the stools. The living room is also lit up and leaves from the cottonwood trees out front cast shadows on the flowery wall paper.
I go out the front door and sit on the cold concrete steps to wait for Mom and Dad to return from their walk. The sunlight glistens on the grass and the sidewalks are damp. I shiver a little and walk out in bare feet to where the sun warms the side-walk in front of the yard. Up and down the street everything is glowing in the morning light.
After a while, Mom and Dad come around the corner down by the canal. Soon they are back and the kitchen comes alive. Dad turns on the radio and Mom turns on the stove. The smell of pancakes brings more of us down stairs. The day starts right after breakfast.
Long before we ever got a hold of a cow or the means for keeping one we toyed with the idea of getting a milk goat. My mother grabbed hold of the idea and soon every level piece of furniture was stacked milk goat literature. We kids were also excited about the idea, but that might have been before we got chickens, which we learned need plenty of maintenance.
We never did get the milk goat but many years later we somehow found two billy goats on our hands. The cool thing about goats is they eat anything, and it doesn’t matter what you feed them. You could put them in a patch of thistles and soon they would have them mowed to nubbins. One of the problems with goats is that they eat everything, it doesn’t matter what you have fed them they will continue to chew to the last breath. We wanted to let them run loose on our vast acreage and let them do their magic on all the weeds and abundant thistles and tall, coarse grass. But unfortunately their magic entailed wandering into the flower beds, herb gardens and potato patch. Once all the tender shoots were devoured they decided to become garbage disposals and raided the garbage. I didn’t mind them actually eating it but they didn’t care for keeping their bearded chins over their plate. The solution was to stake them out where we wanted them to mow and they would do a pretty good job. It looked like crop circles. This worked fine except that we had to move them every hour or so and check on them to make sure they hadn’t strangled themselves on their ropes. Sometimes they got so wrapped around their post or a branch that they couldn’t move an inch. I’d trust my life on some of the knots those goats configured. And every so often a goat would either chew their tether in half or pull loose somehow. Luckily we were soon alerted of this by the panicky braes of the other poor goat who found himself alone. It’s funny how the one that’s free doesn’t mind being alone. Once they are free it is every goat for himself. Same with horses.