snow + sweaters

The first snow is falling outside the window and my first sweater is coming along on my needles. Two days ago I finished my first pair of socks – only a year in the knitting. This was my 6th morning of milking Miss Fluckli.  She really is a sweet cow, but being positioned between two cows higher up n the rankings than she, she does a lot of shuffling about and avoiding their horns while I’m milking.  Other than that little dance, I think I’m actually beginning to get the hang of it.

Jen and Ezra, who are apprenticing at Hawthorne Valley Farm just up the road in Ghent, came over yesterday with about 6 gallons of their milk to add to my 6 from the week so that we could make butter.  We set up the milk separator and the kitchen aid and chatted about milking and dairy products and flipped through The Cheese Book daydreaming about recipes. We’ve decided to make every Friday a dairy day – next week it will be mozzarella. It’s nice being around other young people who want to farm, at least in some context.

I’m finding it easy to slip into the routines here – to let go of the frenetic energy that defined my last 6 months or so.  I know that I’m cloistering myself a bit right now, but I think I just need a break and some time for peace and reflection.  Yesterday I requested 6 books on homesteading from the library.  I’m most looking forward to reading A Handmade Life by Bill Copperthwaite.  He lives up in Machiasport Maine in a yurt and turns spoons and bowls and teaches other people how to live simply.  People I know keep bringing up his name, and seeing as he’s from Maine, I suppose I ought to see what he has to say.  I’ve been thinking about chicken coop plans and researching which heritage breeds are the best for both meat and eggs.  I’m coming to terms with the fact that I won’t get a cow for at least a few years, but maybe a pig or two.  In my head I’m sketching out layouts for vegetable gardens.  It’s fun to dream about what life can look like.  Even more fun, I imagine, to make it happen.

This morning Wyatt and I picked a giant rutabaga and some Brussels sprouts and I think I’ll thaw out a big sirloin steak. We’ve got that fresh butter and some amazing garlic.  Sea Salt from Maine. Fresh pepper. This afternoon I might make ricotta from today’s milk, to put on a pizza that we’ll fire in the oven tomorrow before making bread.  I can’t say I’ve got my life figured out, or that I know how I’ll get to wherever I need to go, or that it will be easy, but in the meantime, it sure is delicious.

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