I’m woken up this morning by a thump-thump-thump. Somebody has gotten up to use the toilet and is stomping through the house of sleeping people, wearing shoes. I’ve never understood wearing shoes in the house, and my first thoughts of the morning are grumpy. I open my eyes to see blue sky and the last dregs of what must have been a nice sunrise – wisps of pink clouds dance across the sky. Normally I would roll over to catch an extra half-hour of sleep, but this morning I’m hungry for a few minutes to myself to enjoy the peace and solitude of the morning. I get dressed and tiptoe downstairs.

As I put a pot of water on to boil for coffee, I hear an odd noise from the forest. I turn to look, and hear a crunch, creak, CRASH! I watch as a tree totters and falls, almost in slow motion, down the steep hillside, landing where only yesterday we had staked a pig by the forest’s edge to clear some land. I watch for a moment more, but nothing else moves. While the water heats, I sit myself in a hammock with my journal and enjoy the first rays of the morning sun. A dozen different types of birds are twittering, tweeting, and chirping in the bushes by the house. I catch sight of blue ones, bright yellow-and-black ones, and tiny green hummingbirds darting around. A beautiful butterfly floats by, rising higher and higher into the sky until I can’t see it anymore.

My moment of silent reverie ends almost before it began. Ingo heard the tree fall and has gotten up to investigate. I assure him all is well, but he is followed by his two-year-old daughter, Laia, who makes a beeline for me in my hammock. She has put her hands in wet paint, and shows them to me. “Sucio!” she announces. “Yes, they’re dirty,” I agree, and take her to the sink to clean them. Soon, the sounds of birds and butterflies are replaced with the bustle of a busy day – we’re driving into town this morning, and everybody needs to be ready to leave in an hour.

Ellen gets up and Laia wants us to take her to milk the goats before breakfast. Motivated by a desire for fresh milk in our coffee, we let her help us put our boots on and choose a container for the milk. Off we go to the greenhouse, which has been converted to a makeshift nursery for newborn goats and chicks. Ellen has taught Laia how to milk a goat, and the two-year-old eagerly and insistently wants to try her hand at filling her tupperware container with fresh milk. Once the goat has been milked, we spend a few extra moments admiring the baby goats and chicks before returning to the house. It may not be a serene solitary morning anymore, but dawn on the farm is pretty pleasant nonetheless.

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