Occasionally I sleep in, but not too often. Mother Nature usually encourages me to answer her call in the porcelain parlour not too long after the  big hand reaches the top of the circle and the little one points at the five. I know that is going to confuse those of you who have gone to the digital time clocks, but their jerky mimed posturing never appealed to the Little Lady and I, so there is still several of them thar old fashioned battery operated time pieces, whose hands go round and round and round, hanging around the house. Which I refuse to throw out until they wear out, and they are just as stubborn as I, and not wearing out.
It took us several years, as a matter of fact half a lifetime, to switch from the old clocks that, each and all, had to be hand wound. I still have a hand winding pocket watch, which I happen to cherish, as it belonged to the eldest of my late sons. It still ticks quietly away in my pocket if, of course, I remember to put it there in the first place, and remember to wind it while there put.
In my growing up years, way back when I was just a little guy, I can remember having only three main time pieces in possession of the whole  of our family. One was an alarm clock that sat on the bedside table of my parents, which had a metallic scream that almost shook the whole house each morning, at an early, before daylight hour.
The second was a pocket watch that my father kept  tucked in a little pocket of his jeans, which happened to be designed for just that purpose. This he would pull out several times during each day, just to check the time, as farming and feeding, both animal and family, was dictated by the hour of the clock.
The third was a large old masterpiece which hung on the livingroom wall, which ticked loudly while we talked, seemingly taking part in every conversation. It had a pendulum which swung back and forth, forth and back, behind a glass enclosure. It ding donged once on the quarter hour, twice on the half hour, and three times on the three-quarter. Then, without fail, it bonged, bonged, bonged, the proper number of times, to indicate verbally the hour that its hands so indicated.
It was the pride and joy of my father as it had to be wound only once a week. He did this little ritual, usually each and every Sunday evening, along with a little squirt of three-in-one oil here and there. That was usually done along about the after-supper hour of nine, during which time our mother would be reading, out loud, the serial storey that was published weekly in the then, Family Herald and Weekly Star.
It was then and there, in the company of the old clock’s tock that our whole family was introduced to My Friend Flicka, Thunderhead, The Road to Avonlea, and many other country life stories. All courtesy of the weekly paper and my Mother’s softened voice.
It was not a bad way to end the week, in readiness of the busy next. It was a way of life. A good life. But farming was never a simple life, or an easy life, nor was it meant to be. But it  was a life that I have never regretted.
Though yet, just a distant memory, I still miss the comforting tick-tock of the old clock that once hung on the wall of our, high ceilinged,  country livingroom. It was a couch cornered room that was heated by a pot-bellied, cast iron stove, which was fed by a large elmwood block, to last through the night. It warmed both body and soul.
Take care, ’cause we care.

Barrie Hopkins