In the cold Vermont darkness, Marjorie Susman and Marian Pollack slide into endlessly pocketed Carhartt pants and tall muck boots. It is February, and though the snow is gone, the earth is hard when they step out of their small farmhouse. Their breath hangs in faint wisps before disappearing in the early morning air. It is 5:30 a.m.
Pollack, 68, heads to the barn to milk their six Jersey cows, Clover, Hershey, Kudo, Pookah, Slinky and Bounty. Her boxy body moves briskly, gray shorn hair standing on end.