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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Milking Memories

Well, not much going on here in the middle of the week so I thought I would tell you a true story. There is plenty more stories like this in the pea patch of my itty bitty brain. It is the start of a book of memories. Let me know what you think.

My first experience with cows must have been when I was about four or five. We had a jersey cow which we called "Old Jerz". My grandmother did all the milking. My first job went we went to milk was holding the cow's tail to keep her tail from hitting my grandmother in the head.

One day we bought a box of oatmeal which had a little dipper in it. Actually it was a 2 cup measuring cup with a handle, but that became my milk bucket. I wanted to learn to milk so my grandfather made me a little stool and gave me that dipper. My grandmother sat on her stool on one side of the cow and I sat on the other side of the cow on my stool. She taught me how to milk, I would milk my dipper full and pour it into her bucket. I could quit when I had milked two dippers full. For a four or five year old thats quite a long time to sit still. You had to sit still because if you moved around or pulled too hard the cow would kick and you certainly didn't want to end up with her foot in your milk bucket.

My grandmother had a stroke in December of 1955, milking was never the same after that.

Since we had no refrigerator our milk, butter and dairy products was kept in the springhouse. The springhouse was a small building which stood over a small branch from a spring. It had a wooden trough in it that the water ran through. Once the milking was done we would take the buckets of warm milk to the house and strain them through a white flour sack similar to cheesecloth. We would then pour the milk into gallon jarsand store them in the trough in the springhouse. The water kept the milk good and cold. The cream came to the top usually two to three inches thick. It was skimmed off to be used for making butter and put it into another jar so that we could make buttermilk. Most times we would churn once a week. So it took quite a bit of cream to make butter. We would pour the cream into a churn. and sit and churn and churn. Finally you would see bits of butter appear. These were all skimmed off and put into a bowl rinsed and salted and then put in a wooden butter press. Usually made about 3 to 4 pounds of butter and then you would also have buttermilk. There is nothing better than a good cold glass of buttermilk.

Sometimes if we had extra milk my grandmother would let it set out and clabber and make cottage cheese out of it. Cottage cheese was a great treat and nothing like you get in those little cartons at the grocery today.

Its nice to remember all those good ol' days when life was easier and a lot slower ---- not so complicated and rushed as it is today.

And in the words of my father "That's it for Today."


Debbie & Rod said...

GREAT story Jenny!!


Dee & Jim said...

wow, what memories! I did a lot of milking with several cows, and gathered eggs. It all went into the concrete "house". A little place that was always cold no matter how hot it was in the summer. Thanks, what a blog.

Joe and Sherri said...

That will make a good book. Memories are all we end up with in the know that. I am glad that you and all the Dreamers will be in mine and Sherri's memories. Someday we will set back and read these journals and relive all those memories that we are making now.


Sandra said...

We had similar chidhoods except we had 18 cows, did the churning and all that. When I was small we didn't have a refrigerator so used the cellar where it kept things cold. It was an interesting part of my life.

mae and ralph said...

Why did I only get to hold the cow's tail? I guess because I was alway's afraid of "old jerz". You need to write your book of memories, we enjoy reading them.

Mae and Ralph