I think one of my favorite things to do on the farm is to name the babies. We have a long list of names that we keep on the white board and add to when we hear a really good goat-worthy name, but somehow, when the babies arrive, they seem to just ‘tell us’ their names rather than choosing one from the list. I suspect that most of the names on the white board have been there almost a decade and have never been chosen by any of the hundreds of babies that have come along over that time, but we keep collecting them just the same…maybe just in case one of the babies doesn’t get the memo that they are supposed to tell us what they want to be called.
I know it seems silly to say they tell us their names, but it is true. Take Molly for example; Molly is a year old today. She came to us under less-than-ideal circumstances as the only piece of goodness out of a birthing that went terribly wrong. As we were standing there alongside the veterinarian making the dreadfully-hard decision about Lola (Molly’s mom who was irreparably torn from the delivery), she looked up at Shaun, who was holding her, with the brightest eyes and most beautifully perky ears and something told him her name was Molly….which was absolutely perfect! The names they tell us always seem fit perfectly.
So is the case with cheese names too. Each of our cheeses mean something in particular to us, so it was unusual that we couldn’t seem to come up with a name for our washed curd style cheese that we perfected last summer. We struggled through a number of different possibilities, but none of them seemed quite right until it finally came to us; we should give credit where credit is due! You see, the washed curd style cheese was the result of an encouragement from a dear friend of ours. It feels appropriate that we announce the name today since this weekend marks one year since we lost her. Our washed curd style cheese is to be named ‘Rosenblum’ in honor of our amazing friend and mentor Mary Rosenblum.
Last year, on March 11th, Mary was tragically killed in plane accident of the small aircraft she was piloting. Mary loved that plane and loved flying. She was a skilled pilot and had logged many hours in the air, so what happened remains a mystery to us. All we know is that we miss Mary tremendously and are forever grateful for the role she played in our life.
Mary was, quite possibly, one of most interesting people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. I think eldest daughter Ashley best described her in saying, she was wicked smart! Her vast array of talents included being a science fiction and mystery novelist, a skilled pilot, a gardener, a woman who was not afraid to tackle any home improvement project and a master cheese maker just to name a few. She was a biologist by education and had shared with me that she had worked at the Oregon National Primate Research Center using her biology degree. She was incredible. Always, so calm and unassuming, but so full of knowledge and wisdom.
The role that Mary played in our cheese making adventure was large. Our local goat club held cheese making classes every spring and every fall that Mary was our faithful instructor for. I think we attended nothing short of 30+ classes that Mary gave and, without fail, we learned something new from every single one of them. The woman was an inexhaustible wealth of knowledge and when she wasn’t certain about how something would turn out, she would encourage with, “Well, try it, and see what happens.” This was perhaps the best cheese making lesson of all because Mary knew better than anyone that cheese can sometimes have a life of its own and many times those turn out to be happy accidents.
So this is for you, Mary. Your incredible spirit lives on as our delicious cheeses’ namesake. Just like you, it is rather quiet and unassuming, but beyond the rind, so complex and rich. We hope you are looking at us from a better place and are well-pleased.
Thanks for all you shared with us, Mary.