Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, VERMONT CHEESEMAKING, by DANIEL LEAVENS CADY

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VERMONT CHEESEMAKING, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When white grass makes the pasture white
Last Line: Your man is 'mazing fond of cheese.
Subject(s): Cheese; Milk; United States; Vermont; Milkmen; Milkmaids; America

WHEN white grass makes the pasture white,
And butter needs a carrot tonic;
When ragweed seed invades your head
And bursts with noises disharmonic;
When cows shrink up about a third,
And neighbor children 'gin to tease
For curd and parings—then it's time
To think about a-making cheese.

And first you put your setting tub
A-soak to see how fast it's leaking,
When, Pop! the bottom hoop blows up
And sets your sputterphone to speaking;
A-next you get the runnet jar,
And scour and scald it all you please—
Oh! yes; there's quite a lot to do
To get in shape for making cheese.

And then you drag the cheesepress out
And wash it up in thirteen waters,
And prop the platform where it stands
Before the dumb contrivance totters;
Then Johnny crawls 'way underneath
Upon his anxious hands and knees,
To find the stone that weights the pole
That turns the press that shapes the cheese.

The basket, followers, paddles, hoops,
A-feel the scrub brush next in order,
And some folks run a cheesecloth hem
To hold the ravelings 'round the border;
You then rescreen the cheese safe door,
And make the button turn with ease—
Oh! it's a knack to get the hang
Of fixing up for making cheese.

You hunt the special table next
On which to do the daily turning;
'Twill be a change from skimming milk
And always and forever churning;
And last you pick a bunch of sage,
A-down there near the cherry trees,
And find your little pointed knife,
And then you're fixed for making cheese.

Then when the cheeses come along,
My! ain't it fun to pat and oil 'em;
'Most any other hands than yours
Would have a tendency to spoil 'em;
Each cheese a-setting on its board—
They beat the Neuchatels and Bries—
There's nothing more to do but hope
Your man is 'mazing fond of cheese.

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