Our Maine Street's Aroostook Issue 5 : Summer 2010 - Page 17

The Cheesemaker by Robin Elsbeth Jenkins Ten miles south of Houlton, and just down the road from Pioneer Place in Smyrna, a young couple is building their life together, raising their children and adhering to the tenets of their Christian faith and community – the Old Order Amish. Work and family life mirror their beliefs. To the Amish, the choice of a vocation is personal, but serves the needs of the community; while family life provides the community’s strong foundation. At 28, Robert Kauffman is an accomplished cheesemaker, and his wife, Lucinda, is his helpmeet. It’s mid-May in Smyrna, Maine. Lush green pastures line the country roads. The trees are beginning to blossom. A distant view of Mt. Katahdin is muted in aerial perspective. Amish farmhouses and barns seamlessly intermix with the properties of residents who were there before them. As a visitor drives slowly up the lane to the farmhouse, chickens scatter. The visitor catches a glimpse of a black buggy parked in the barn, a pile of tree-length logs ready to cut, and a mountain bike lying on its side in the dooryard. Bits and pieces of machinery and equipment are stationed by the barn. Bleeding hearts have been lovingly planted beside the foundation of the house. A Welsh Corgi appears in the driveway with its tail wagging. A slim young woman wearing an ankle-length blue dress and white cap is in the garden, setting out lettuce seedlings.