Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Milkmaid

This is the famous painting The Milkmaid byJohannes Vermeer c.1658. I think it depicts the Puritan milkmaids of the time rather well.
Farmstead cheesemaking as well as the milking was the job of women during that time, and while a diverse array of cheeses were made for family use and local markets the focus quickly moved to exporting hard English cheeses, like Cheddar. These cheeses would be used in trade with the West Indies for molasses, rum etc. The land of New England was better suited at the time for grazing than growing crops anyway.
Dante is now a full time farmer, for the summer. It is wonderful. I've been farming full time while being a full time mother for the last 4 years, and Dante has been farming every spare moment outside of his job. It was very hectic, him having an off the farm job when the cow poop would hit the fan, it was extremely difficult for him to come home and help or for me to drag the kids along on some farm crisis. I can't believe how much we have gotten done, in just the last 2 weeks.
Yesterday I made creme fraiche and fromage blanc. Today I'll be making another wheel of hard cheese, and turning that fromage blanc into some cheese spreads. I also need to make butter again.
The cows are great. They look beautiful, and Happy is getting maternal, it is very sweet she has to give me a big wet nuzzle every time when we finish milking. Amazing how some of the cows get like that as their pregnancy progresses. She loves me.........

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