|cover crop of oats & peas|
This year's garden was bountiful. The pantry's shelves are lined with canned tomatoes, peaches, pickles, dried tomatoes and hot peppers, and ruby red strawberry jam.
The freezers are filled to the brim with corn and peas, roasted tomatoes and red peppers. Bags of spinach raviolis, and eggplant parmesan just waiting to be layered with tomato sauce and baked into a casserole. Shallots, onions, potatoes, winter squash and carrots are in the cellar. Enough food to see us through a long winter,,, and well into the next growing season.
And now it's time to turn our attention to the cows and the dairy, the winter side of the farm. We're milking 3 cows now, and the other 3 will calve by next week, giving us a total of 6 milkers this year. There is a lovely sameness to our winter, the rhythmic breathing of the cows mixed with the sweet smell of the alfalfa clover hay they eat. The sound of the milking machines. The softness of their fur as we brush them. It remains constant.
A thorough cleaning of the cheesehouse is the next step. By next week it will all be cleaned, and sanitized; waiting for the first load of milk to be pumped into the cheese vat and turned into cheese.
There is so much to be done, so much reliance on pure muscle memory that I sometimes forget to stop and look around me. To see the beauty and the magic of it all. And then, I glance over to the cows, and there they are, chewing their cud, taking it all in, and reminding me to stop and smell the roses.
(click on the video below to see our happy cows)