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Ryan Dennis

Ryan Dennis is the son of a New York dairy farmer and a literary writer whose early essays were originally published in Progressive Dairy.

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After milking, we sat down to a plate of lamb, which is fairly common for lunches on Icelandic farms. Systa, the wife, decided not to prepare the slátur they usually eat on Saturdays – which, in simple terms, is sheep blood (or liver) mixed with fat and oats stuffed in the stomach and often let sit in whey for several months.

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While in college, someone gave me a computer game called “Civilization.” In the game, the player is leader of a major society that existed at some point in human history. You build up and improve your nation, battling other world powers doing the same.

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Full confession: I have to write the Christmas column for “The Milk House” in October. It is well before the Christmas decorations or snow on the ground, and I’m often in another country. I beat Wal-Mart, the radio and TV ads to the holidays by five or six weeks.

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The Vikings, besides being fierce raiders and conquerors, knew how to settle a land.

In addition to the livestock they brought – sheep, horses and cattle that have now evolved to unique breeds only found on the island – they are believed to have kidnapped the best-looking women they could find in Ireland and Scotland, taking them to the new land as brides.

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As dairy farmers, we’re at the beginning of the food-production system. It’s our raw product that gets packaged by the manufacturers and shipped to the retailers before ending up in the hands of the consumer.

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When the parts of the whole are added together, it’s not surprising that I grew up listening to country music. I lived in the most rural county in New York state, it dominated the local radio stations, and it seemed like the logical fit for someone on a farm.

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