Humidity drenches the early morning air; I’m sweating before I even make it to the gate. Slide the snap up and over the latch, haul the broken piece of gate up and slip through. I wander mindlessly through the field, weave right to avoid the monster rut left by the trailer getting stuck this spring, down to the left watch out for the wash rack run off. Dune has squeezed under the chain again; the uneven bricks that pave the floor are completely covered by a blanket of hay. Kick what’s left of the bales off to the side and unlatch the feed room door. Slowly crack the double doors, wary of the raccoon that has recently taken up residence. The smell of sweet feed overwhelms me as I start scooping grain into buckets. It’s automatic, four scoops, six, three, two, two, one, one and a half. Perfect for the early hour. Milky Way appears, rubbing herself on the doorframe then my ankles, purring and meowing breaking up the sound of grain falling into the plastic buckets. By the time I’ve filled her bowl she has hopped up to the top shelf, poised and waiting. Outside gravel crunches under my feet, lodging in my flip flops. “C’mon guys, let’s go,” I yell out into the distance. Ears swivel my way, heads pop up, and they start moving my way. A little encouragement and they’re all at the gate. I swing it open, letting in the four who stay in the barn. Those who eat in the field have already shoved their faces into their respective buckets. Back to the barn, shut the stall doors, double check to make sure Babe’s is good and locked since he has now figured out how to let himself out for a stroll. Out to the faded green lawn chair and watch the haze burn off the fields as the day begins to really heat up. Take a sip of coffee, lean back into the warped sliding door and relax as we have breakfast.