Perched upon the big white fencepost, in the faintest dawning light, the old rooster stretched his head high and crowed. One long crow was all it ever took him to wake the farm, such was the power of his call. Soon all manner of creatures began to stir. Nearby, the gentle clucks of mother hens gave permission to their chicks to go scratching around in the chicken yard. One by one, eager little birds popped their heads out of the entrance, then raced down the wooden ramp. A group of five or six came out at once, hopping and tumbling down together as one fluffy, yellow mass. They untangled themselves at the bottom of the ramp, then each one went off to explore. Behind the henhouse, a mother duck led her ducklings down the hill. In single file they waddled, with most of the ducklings still half asleep and bumping into one another. Through a patch of tall clover the young ducks were guided by their mother’s quacks, until they made it to the pond. The mother duck seamlessly glided onto the water and then paddled out a little from the water’s edge. With varying degrees of apprehension, each duckling followed, giving a shiver as it splashed in. Around behind the farmhouse, far up by the western fence, the daily chaos of the pigsty kicked into gear. Twenty-eight greedy, hyperactive piglets commenced their relentless hounding of the poor sows, whose one, never-granted wish was to be left alone for five minutes. In the south paddocks, the sheep and cows strolled out for a little early morning grazing, while over toward the front gate, in the first rays of sunshine, the Clydesdale and her foal emerged from the stable. Up at the farmhouse, the cat checked on her kittens, snuggled up in their box. The sheepdog yawned as he stretched his legs in preparation for another day’s work. Finally the farmer, Mr McGinley, stepped out of the front door and put on his gumboots. He took a sip from his coffee mug, gave the sheepdog a scratch behind the ears, and then headed off to the barn. So began every day on McGinley Farm.
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