Last Morsel—A Perfect Day

Corn stalks

Written on

March 01 , 2010

Each year, Monkton Central School in the Champlain Valley holds its annual Farming in Monkton Writing Contest. Students in grades 3 to 6 are invited to write a sketch about farming, and entries are evaluated by a local judge. Following is the 2009 winning entry, written by 11-year-old Ashley Turner. It’s a fictional account, based on her real-life experiences on various Monkton farms.

In the fall when I wake up to do chores on my farm in Monkton, the trees and grass are frosted, waiting for the sun to warm them up. I walk outside bundled in my soft, warm, purple hat, and my favorite navy blue scarf. Even with it over my nose I can still see my breath in the crisp, cold, autumn air.

I always feed the barn cats first, because five o’clock in the morning is the only time when they’re all in the barn. Zebra has black and white stripes, and he is a faster runner than I am. Icicle is pure white except for her eyes, they are deep blue. My favorite cat is Judy. She is golden brown with white boots. Every morning when I come in the barn she runs toward me and jumps into my arms.

Next, I feed Riley and Boots (the dogs). I have them herd the sheep toward the gate, so I can give them their food. The chickens come after. I have to sneak into their coop to get the eggs or else the rooster will attack me. I just sprinkle the grain on the ground for them, so they can scratch around for it. The cows are the easiest to feed. They are always sleeping when I feed them. I just dump the three buckets of food in the tray and move on. Last, but not least is Charlie my horse. First, I muck out his stall and give him more hay. Then I feed him and fill up his water bucket. When I come inside I hand Mom the eggs and get cleaned up for breakfast.

Today, Dad came downstairs and ate breakfast with Mom and me. I asked him if I could ride Charlie on the trails out in the woods.

He said, “Not today, there’s too much work to do on the farm. We need to harvest the rest of the corn and put it in the silo.”

“All right,” I replied glumly.

Dad, Mom and I attached the chopper to the back of the tractor.

Dad said to me, “Why don’t I show you how to run the chopper and you can operate it when we cut the corn.” I was so excited he was finally going to let me run the chopper!

When I climbed up the ladder that led to the cab of the tractor, Dad pointed to the silver key that was in the ignition.

“This will start the engine when you turn it all the way to the right,” he said. Then he pointed to a black lever with a blue knob on the end. He told me that when you pull this lever down it will turn on the chopper. I nodded letting him know that I understood.

Dad did one row first to show me how, and then handed the wheel over to me.

He shut off the engine to say, “It’s your turn now.” I took the wheel, shaking. Once I got the hang of it he said I was driving like a pro. Before I knew it we were done the entire field. We loaded the corn into the silo just as a pink and purple sunset was creeping over the bright blue sky.

Mom yelled out the door, “Dinner’s on the table, hurry up.”

Once Dad and I were inside the smell of mashed potatoes, broccoli, buns, and chicken filled our noses.

We all sat down at the table and I said, “Today was a perfect day!”

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