Today only a few people can remember sitting alongside a milk cow and “milking by hand”. At milking time, twice a day the Holsteins waited for the farmer to open the barn door and then they marched each one to their own stall.
At every milking, a family of cats and kittens were also a part of the scene. As the farmer milked, the cat family stationed themselves behind the cow he was milking, begging the farmer to send a stream of warm milk to them. And he usually did.
In those days, the only equipment the farmer needed was a simple wooden stool, large shiny milk pails and a few sets of hobbles. To the farmer, there were several generous milk cows in his herd that filled the milk pail every day. However, there were some ornery ones that often kicked up a response at being milked, so to protect himself the farmer had to use hobbles on them.
The milk was separated and the cream went into the cream can, which the cream man picked up several times a week. The skim milk went out to the pigs.
Yes, this manner of “milking by hand” was the way they did it a long time ago. As time has passed, this chore of “milking by hand” was modernized by using milking machines. Today some dairy farmers have gone a step further and have progressed to robots. Things in the dairy business may have changed, but milk is still the same healthy drink, needed by all – babies to Grandpas!
Written by Doris Stensland – August 2017