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The life of a mountain shepherd. Domenico is outside every single day and in any weather condition
Moving constantly through a harsh landscape that seems to dwarf the human condition, the shepherd knows where to find the richest pastures.
On a calm summer night the light of Domenico’s cave is the only sign of human presence in the mountain wilderness.
The cave has been soberly furnished like a little room. There is a bed, a table, some shelves and a fireplace with all the necessary equipment to make the cheese. A little radio is always on and pop music spreads through the valleys.
The cave and the corral– “stazzo”, are placed beneath a rocky cliff right in the heart of Majella’s wilderness.
Every morning and evening, the goats are forced into a small corral to be milked. Domenico knows the habits and temperament of each single animal.
Living alone for three months with 160 goats, twenty sheep, eight mules, two donkeys, one horse and three dogs, makes it mandatory for Domenico to mantain control of his animals through a severe discipline.
The goats wait patiently for their turn to be milked. On the best days, they produce about twenty liters of milk.
Everyday Domenico must collect wood in a nearby forest and gets water from a natural spring. Even though he is approaching his seventieth birthday, the shepherd is admirably fit.
Domenico prepares cheese twice a day. Afterr milking, the warm milk curdles slowly and then is boiled in a old, large tin pot placed on the fire.
After cooking it, Domenico’s large hands carefully squeeze the cheese into the form.
About every week, Domenico loads his favorite mule – the “most stupid one”, he says - with the new cheese and takes the long way home. There, he takes a shower, shaves his beard and has a lunch with his wife. In the early afternoon, he is already back to his cave.
Goats and sheep move fast and ruthlessly on every terrain
If the animals linger too much while on the move, the shepherd uses his special language of words and sounds, but also his stick, to spur them ahead.
The journey from the summer pasture back home is a small epic quest for Domenico and his animals. They must cover in afew hours almost twenty kilometers and a gradient of 1500m.
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