Waking up at sunrise to ride and tackle a growing to-do list is gratifying when it’s for a new home.

wood fence roundpen
Photo by Katie Frank

I understand that getting up early is something to be celebrated in cowboy world.

In Texas, it’s just a matter of common sense. We’ve got to try to beat the heat. Wake up early, drink stout coffee, work hard and celebrate the first hours of the day. It’s easier on the stock to be active in the cooler hours, and there’s certainly a rewarding feeling of productivity when starting early.

But admittedly, I’ve never been one with much gusto or enthusiasm for really early hours. I understand that some people really do enjoy waking in the dark, but I’ve always been more of a night owl who wakes up at a respectable time. I’ve never been one to revel in a sunrise, and it’s possible I will roll my eyes at anyone who does so in my presence.

Now that I’m back in Texas (after spending my spring and summer in California and Hawaii, respectively), I’ve got more than I can accomplish on my daily checklist, and the only way to attack it properly is to start in the dark. I feel behind on all of my paperwork and general organization from being gone for so long. We’ve got horses to work and start in different parts of Parker County. There are horses and ponies of our own that need to be ridden, weanlings to be handled and colts to get saddled and going. And on top of that, we have moved into our very own place for the first time, which is a wonderful experience, but time consuming all on its own.

It’s an exciting thing, to own property. We’ve got a little place in Stephenville, Texas, which means we’ve got a little more of a drive this fall to get some of our colts started and going up towards Weatherford.

I’ve moved plenty of times in my adult life, but it’s a little different for me now that there is a permanence factor. Instead of looking at how to make a place work for the time-being, I’m looking at improving our place for the long haul (in moderation). I’m dreaming up fencing materials and wash racks, roping boxes, feeders and troughs. My husband and I have been talking about how to get the most out of our acreage and run our place as efficiently as possible. We’ve been cleaning out our barn to make room for our things (by the way, how on earth did we get so much stuff?!) and figuring out which horses go where. And yes, occasionally spending a little time on the inside of our house, too.

But hey, we’ve got to keep working in order to realize our dreams. And although fall is just about upon us, the days are still warm enough that we’ve got to start In the dark to give our checklist a proper shot.

So, come tomorrow morning, I’ll be rolling out of bed a little earlier than I would like. I’ll make my coffee strong, try to avoid stubbing my toe on moving boxes and gather up the necessary horses, saddles and lunch items to make it a successful day. There’s no doubt I’ll notice those first pink rays of morning rise from the east as the dawn blankets the surrounding hay fields.

And although I may not revel in it, I must admit that the sunrise that lights up my own little place may be the most beautiful one I’ve ever seen.

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