The grass in the barnyard is eaten down low. The sheep and donkey’s hooves squish in the mud around the feeders. But after I scrape the manure from the pole barn, the ground is clean, dry, and hard-packed.
I think that the dirt floor in the barn is hard enough to sweep. Then I think of the stories and letters I’ve read of women sweeping the dirt floors of their sod houses and log cabins. Did I read about a family who would write “Happy Birthday” in the dirt floor when it was someone’s birthday, or did I make that up?
I drag my feet in the grass to wipe the mud and manure off the soles of my boots as I walk to the house. If I leave Fate outside to dry off before coming in the dirt freezes on her fur. When I rub her down with an old towel that I keep in the laundry room, the mud and manure drops to the floor, a dusting of fine black sand.