We are a little over a week into Peach's several month stay here. She's settling in quite nicely, I'd say, and we're settling in quite nicely to having her here. I have a better sense of how her body moves, and how to move around her - where she likes extra love (under the chin). She is such a sweet girl. And she, in turn, is figuring out our order of things at milking time and starting to predict and wait for what comes next. Getting acquainted with the sheep (who are still quite uncertain of her). We're getting to know one another. It all feels very romantic still, even in the freezing cold and high winds (of which we've had plenty this week). Milking time - right now - is nothing short of dreamy and any difficulty or nuisance is totally overshadowed by adrenaline and joy. I know that can't and won't last forever. And it's far too early, of course, for making predictions or declarations about our future with (or without) a cow, for there is so much to consider still. And so, for this moment, we are enjoying the discovery of so much that is new, and appreciating the beginnings of a rhythm that is forming around her presence here.
We do not have water or electricity in the newly constructed barn, nor will we until spring (or later) which means there's a great deal of hauling buckets back and forth from the house to the back pasture, where she and the sheep are. It is a job made much easier by two sets of (bigger) hands. Given the option of going out to help us milk or hanging inside and reading or playing games with the littles, the two older boys hardly skip a beat in their answer. And so...milking time has become a twice daily 'date' that Steve and I share. I milk her while he shovels and freshens hay and water...and sometimes we switch jobs. By manner of hooks and buckets and wagons, we did figure out a way to eliminate a few trips, making chore time actually possible with just one adult. But shhh....let's just keep that to ourselves, shall we, and save it just for emergencies like Mama's night out and Papa's guitar nights? Because we're not telling anyone inside that. They're all quite happy without us for a few minutes, and dare I say the feeling is (lovingly) mutual and appreciated. Beginning and ending the day together this way is such a gift - sometimes deep in conversation and planning for what is to come, and sometimes working together in silence.
And the milk? Oh my, the milk! Four gallons a day, it turns out, is just a bit too much for even my milk-loving kiddos and all my cheese making attempts. No worries, we have friends to share with, and there are many more cheese experiments to come that will require gallons and gallons to get just right, I think. With a lot of willing helpers, there's a lot of kitchen time happening these days, and a refrigerator full of our experiments (it's a white world in there). We are having so much fun with all of that.
No matter how full and busy the rest of our day may be - and they are right now, deep in the middle of nutcracker and construction and life - there is no rushing through the milking and the animal chores. I think that might be what I love most about it - it just is the pace it is. And bookending our day with the chores - together - well, it feels like a steady anchor to home. And I like that a whole lot.