Keep your sand in a "ready to use" condition. This is done by covering with a tarp or keeping the sand in a plastic container.
Fence off "animals" from contaminating your sand.

Allow aluminum casting to cool at least 5 minutes.

Lift cope and remove casting. Aluminum casting is very HOT, so is the sand. Be careful!

Remove hard crusty sand sections. Areas that have touched the casting.

Remaining cope sand is returned to the "good pile", a used sand pile is created.

   

Hard sand removed from drag.

Good sand returned to "good" pile.

         

Dance!

 

Crush all lumps flat.

Apply small amount of water.

 
Amount of water will very with climate. If too much water is added, let sit over night without covering. Trial and error is the only way to perfect this. Next flip pile over a few times with a shovel to mix the water in.  
Cover your sand!