6:00 AM, I am woken by the sound of the song “Wagon Wheel” coming from our alarm. I can hear the other girls in Ranch House start to stir, but none of us get up. The fire in the wood stove has died so the cabin is freezing. Finally we get up, pull on our overalls and rain boots and head to the farm. It is still dark outside and the moon is out. As we approach the farm, our feet crunch on the frosty grass and the fog that has settled over the fields is beginning to rise. We all walk into the big old barn, and begin our chores. Catherine and I milk Lola the cow. First we clean the cow’s area in the barn; as I dump the wheelbarrow of manure, I can look out across the fields and see Jacqui feeding the sheep. The farm is peaceful this morning. When we finally finish mucking, we begin to milk. We sit down on the red milk crates and we fall into a rhythm, foam begins to gather and Lola’s warmth is comforting. I love this farm, these cows, milking. Sometimes Catherine and I talk, or sometimes we are both quiet, listening to the steady stream, watching the foam form. We are finished; we weigh the milk, 21 pounds. We let the cows out on the pasture and head back, carrying a large bucket of farm milk between us for the kitchen. I want to remember these early mornings on the farm forever.
-Martha White, Albuquerque, NM