> jumping into life.

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I miss the barn. Our first farm experience was a modest disaster, but I did get to spend an hour or two a day in the barn. After dressing and brushing my teeth, I opened the coop door and let the chickens into their yard, then went back inside for breakfast. After that, time for bringing milk to the calf and hay to the yearlings, and later milk and grain to the piglets. I would turn on the radio as I came inside, and if I was on schedule, I'd be listening to the Writer's Almanac as I mucked the cow pen. After it warmed and dried some, I spent some time each morning picking the caked mud and shit off the flanks of the cows, a strangely enjoyable and relaxing activity. The rest of the place was an unceasing wave of stress - much of it having to do with the animals, in fact - but the barn itself always comforted.

I know I'm not the first to find solace in the steady work and steady bodies of animals and their care. I do not doubt for a minute that our decision to move was the right one, but I miss pressing my forehead against the calf's and breathing his warm smell. I do so miss the barn.