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Growing up on a dairy farm, the cow milking was an ever-present part of my life. It was as constant as the change from darkness to day when the sunlight spilled over the mountains which formed the backdrop to our farm. Every day it happened; the cows never had a vacation. The only thing that changed was the weather—the extremes of the region creating a dramatic contrast in the conditions of our never-ending ritual.
Winter prevailed for more than half of the year. It made milking cows in our old wooden barn an endurance contest. Each January afternoon the school bus deposited us at home, and with great determination, my sister and I would resolve to get right out to the barn. The sooner we got to it, the sooner we could be finished. But, once inside the house, it was so hard to leave. If Mama had baked cinnamon rolls, or cookies, the smell was so enticing. Even the damp, clean scent of the drying laundry, hung in the stairway, created a coziness that drew us closer to the heater and slowed the donning of our chore clothes, chilled from hanging on the porch.