Saturday, December 27, 2008

Birds In Winter

We feed our birds year round. The late spring days begin at early dawn with the songs of intensely colored birds.The Goldfinches other worldly yellow color is at its peak. As the days shorten,their colors fade until now,these short short days where they are an olive drab, but still just as beautiful.The flit of red from a cardinal is brilliant against the snow.There is a silence that slowly seeps into the world. The birds are silent visitors now. The snow mutes all noise. Sounds are more rounded. It is a starkly beautiful time of year. The exact opposite of the longest days. None of those garish greens, reds and blues , it's all monotones now.

Here is a wonderful winter poem by David Budbill From his book Moment to Moment.

All the raucous birds of summer
Faithless, transitory, fly-by- nights
Finally gone. Sky quiet, ear empty.

Chickadee, companion through
The cold and dark, little friend
At the door yard feeder again.

Now those of us who stay, we quiet ones
Settle into the winter

-David Budbill

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

These Short Days

There is a certain beauty to these short days. Days when the sun rides low in the south, never really giving us much light or warmth. It is this time of the year that, for a moment, we have done all we can do to prepare for the winter, a time that we are, in a way, set. The hay mow is still full. The cows have all calved, and we are back into the swing of cheese making.
This year we had a total of 3 heifers out of 7 calvings. Their names are Bingo, Presto and Hazy.Here's a picture of them:

And, all our summer produce is in and canned or stored.
Our root cellar, and freezers, and pantry still overflow with food. Although we've been getting seed catalogs, we haven't looked yet.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cheese, Again

Today was our 1st cheesemaking. Even though I've been making cheese for years, I am always amazed by the process. It never ceases to be a magical and very ancient experience. By adding enzymes to milk, we are able to make a wonderful ageable cheese from the cow's wonderful but perishable milk. We pump milk from the milkroom in the barn, to our cheeseroom. After the starter culture and rennet is added, the milk sets into a soft curd. To tell when it's time to cut the curds, I test them.

this is called " the clean break test". And its this that I find so awe inspiring. It worked. It always does.
So, let the cheese season begin !!