The Art Site

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Coffee Part 2

written by Lydie and Andy Moore.

Read the first part of this story at Andy's blog

Dirty dishes covered the kitchen bench, It was getting beyond a joke. Squashed baked-bean cans lay in a heap in one corner of the room, and coffee grinds clogged the drain. Sculling the last of his coffee, he eyed the mess, then looked across at Barry. “We'll sort the place out this evening,” he coughed and surveyed the rest of the room, “before they get back” he continued, with little conviction. Barry stood up and stretched, “Right o. We'd better get out there. I'll feed the pigs, and might as well feed the chickens while I'm round by the sheds. Unless you want to?” He added, knowing that his friend hated feeding the chickens. He gave Barry a withering look. “Your job, mate.”

The sky was still dark, but the faint outline of trees and sheds were just visible as he sat on the old wooden rocker on the veranda, easing his feet into the damp leather boots. He picked up the thick swandri jacket that lay across the seat where he'd left it the night before and pulled it on. It was damp too, but had a comforting heaviness which protected his body from the bitterly cold morning. His father had been a big man and this jacket, as well as being baggy, came down to his knees. He swung the axe down from it's hook on the wall and left it by the wood hut on his way to the milking shed. Better chop some more firewood before the girls get back.

The milking shed was in pristine condition when he arrived. His father had always insisted that everything to do with milking should be perfectly clean, and the boys respected this. Even though they didn't have enough money to get proper milking machines, all the buckets were washed and sterilized every night, and the floors were hosed down.

Grabbing the stool, he tied the cow to the bar, washed his hands in the little sink, and started milking. Leaning his head against the cow's side, he milked automatically, his fingers moving in time, the milk spurting into the bucket with a hissing sound. The steam rose from the half-filled bucket as he untied the cow and moved to the next one. Pausing, he took down a chipped cup from a shelf, and dipped it into the milk. Might as well get the calcium intake for the day. He rubbed a bit of grease on his hands, to make the milking easier on the teats.

He'd finished all six cows and it was 7:00am. His fingers ached and he bent and unbent them trying to get the circulation going again. The light streaked across the fields, creating a patchwork of shadows and blurry light. As he walked over to the wood hut, his feet crunched the frozen grass, and he admired it's virgin beauty, while realising how dangerous it was. A hard frost could destroy an entire crop, and not for the first time, he was thankful they had decided against growing wheat this season.

He dragged the chopping block over to the entrance and picking up the axe, swung it hard on to the first log. The axe bit deeply into the hard grain, and he swung it again, catching it perfectly in the notch, and splitting it in two. His face was set into deep lines of concentration as he split log after log into kindling. The stack of fire wood was steadily growing. He could feel himself becoming overheated, and with one swift movement, he pulled off his swandri, rolled up his shirt sleeves and returned to the job.

to be continued...

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4 Comments:

Blogger Livi said...

Hey Lydia, You website is fantastic, I love your flower paintings.

7:50 pm  
Blogger Isabella Clinton said...

I agree with everything Liv just said, It is fantastic and your flower paintings are awesome!

3:59 pm  
Blogger Livi said...

I have just seen all your portraits. They are very cool. You are so talented!

1:29 pm  
Blogger Lydie said...

thankyou! that's really nice of you :)

6:37 pm  

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