January 3, 2011
I sleep under a sky light. So, when the alarm went off at 5:30 on this first Monday of the new year, I opened my eyes, and looked up to see what was going on out there. Since it's winter, and it was clear, the sky light was filled with the big dipper. A sure sign that it was, in fact, still winter. In the early spring, the big dipper still fills the window, but at 10:00 p.m. That's how I can tell the seasons are progressing.
Mondays we hit the floor running. It's a cheese making day, so I sanitize the cheese making equipment while Marian feeds the cows. We then pump the milk from the bulk tank in the milk room of the barn to the cheese house. After it's pumped, I wash the bulk tank for the morning's milking ( a bulk tank chills the warm cow's milk to 36º. ) while Marian gets ready to milk. Back in the cheeseroom I start warming the milk to begin the cheese making process. All this by 7:00 a.m. It's really all a series of well choreographed steps. We've done it so many times that I barely need to think about what comes next. The beauty of muscle memory. She tends to the cows, I to the cheese. Around 11:00 she'll come into the cheeseroom where we'll work the curds, salt them, pack them into molds, and then wash everything that can be washed. In our small cheese room, we never bump into each other, we know where to move.
And so goes the pattern of our life, our work, our farm. Really, it is all a dance, and knowing the next move is the secret.