The air has shifted to brutally cold and the wind is blowing with great force. The winter solstice has come and gone promising longer days ahead. The last two weeks in the cabin were quiet and full of reflection. I spent most of my time nearby the wood stove and in my sleeping bag thinking warm thoughts. When the time came to pack my belongings, bring Oliver to a friend’s house, and say goodbye, I was ready.
We were milking only once a day, the last two weeks, which left me with a very relaxed schedule. Saturday was their last day of milking. It is time for them to rest and grow babies. I only hung 13 balls of cheese last Tuesday, rather than the regular 40. We began thawing frozen cheese from the summer to make up for the decrease of milk. All the goats were off of alfalfa and getting used to a strictly hay diet for their winter pregnancies. The baby goats began to blend in with the adults and follow their regular feeding routine in the morning. Solomon, the buck, is spending the next month with the girls to make sure all have been bred. He knows best. We’ll leave that up to him.
The annual “Office Party” was over a week ago. 35 alums, interns, friends, family, and employees attended this wonderful evening full of fabulous food, a silly Yankee swap, and lots of CHEESE. Rubiner’s in Great Barrington provided the platter of goat, cow, and sheep cheeses from all over the world. All but two were divine. Warning: stay away from bright orange cheese that smells like old socks. It might ruin your palate.
I am very appreciative of how lovely the community is in Monterey. I have made many wonderful connections with people of all ages who are willing to open their hearts and minds to me. My first inclination is to refer to it as a ‘learning community’ since this is where I happen to be doing an internship, but when Susan declared how happy she was to be surrounded by farm family during the party, I had to agree. She has built an enormous family through her farm welcoming many different people from all over. It was a pleasure finally meeting some of the past interns and alum.
I will miss the farm this winter. I said goodbye to Susan about four times having to remind myself I’d be back in March. As I was driving home, I stopped to get a muffin at the general store where I ran into her again. It was like I just couldn’t leave. So, as I walked out the door, I turned around and shouted, “See ya’ in the morning!” But, unlike most days, I did not see her in the morning, nor the next, or the next. I got in my jam packed car and drove to my parent’s house.
I need a break and will use the time well. After celebrating the holidays with family in New Hampshire, I will spend a week at home in Northampton visiting friends and preparing for an adventure driving cross-country. Will I keep posting this winter? If I am inspired, then yes. It sure won’t be about the farm, but it’s hard to take my mind off of agriculture and people, so there’s a good chance I can come up with something. At least I’ll put up some photos of the Southwest for you to ooooh and awwww over.
Until then- happy holidays, stay warm, and thanks for reading.