- Food and Cooking
Milking Cows and Raw Milk
As a country boy my daddy always had milk cows. At a very early age I learned to milk our cows and because my dad worked the 3 to 11 PM shift in the village cotton mill, milking was one of my afternoon chores. I never did mind doing the milking and sometimes made it a game to see how fast I could fill the pail. Every once in a while a friend might stop by the barn to watch me as I attended to the milking and on more than one occasion I have had them come up closer to my milking stool to see the amount of foam in my bucket. Not always but more times than not, I would squirt a stream of milk in their face if they got close enough.
Having a cow is a seven day a week job and requires twice daily milking. Most of the time we only had the one cow and during the spring and summer months on up until late fall, the cow was in the pasture and I had to drive her to the barn to feed her sweet feed and do the milking. During the winter months, I had the additional chore of gathering pine needles or leaves to make the cow a nice warm bed in her stable stall. Sometimes the cow would lie down and I had to wipe her udder and teats with a moist cloth to remove any manure or trash that might have clung to her. One thing for sure any trash dropping into the white milk showed up like a sore thumb but we always strained our milk through a cloth soon after milking and put the full jars of raw milk into the refrigerator.
Even with one cow, we always had an abundance of milk. The excess milk was sold to neighbors and mama would skim the cream off to put into her churn. Later when there was several gallons of cream which had turned to clabber, she would churn and make butter. The butter was also sold in our community and we ate lots of fresh butter on her hot breakfast biscuits.
These were the days before I knew anything about pasteurized or homogenized milk, modern processes that insure the safety and purity of raw milk. As far as I remember, no one ever became sick from drinking the raw milk we sold in the mill village. It was when I started school and drank those small little bottles of dairy milk provided by our county school system, I learned of the process for stabilizing milk. Being accustomed to raw milk these little bottles from a big dairy seemed to be a watered down version of the real thing but as a growing boy and with the price of an extra bottle of milk only three cents, I leaned to like the milk and would purchase an extra bottle whenever I had the extra three cents.
Those who study diet tell us milk and dairy products are healthy. Calcium and other nutrients come from these products that make for strong bones and teeth. Made no never mind to me anyway, I have always liked my milk.Those days of my boyhood provided me with plenty of these dairy products and even today, I still find milk, though store bought and stedily rising in price per gallon, a favorite at meal time.
Do you like milk? Have you ever drank raw milk or have you ever been around where cows were milked by hand and enjoyed fresh butter or butter milk. Some also make cottage cheese from the farm milk and who could ever forget Captain Midnight and Ovaltine and some other powdered chocolate that made our milk into a wonderful drink.