Sunday, January 5, 2020

Memories of Days Gone By

The above picture was posted on Facebook with the question, “Do you know what this is and have you ever used them?”

“Hell yes!

My folks ended up with a 35 acre ranch about the time I started 8th grade. The place wouldn’t support us and my parents always had “town jobs” but we always had two to three milk cows. My father bred them so they had a calf in the fall. We milked them all winter and dried them in the spring. Twice a day, every day, no excuses.

We were friends with a few families in similar circumstances and would milk their cows too so they could have a couple of days off and they would do the same for us.

I can tell you, from certain knowledge, putting your hands where they weren’t yet welcome was a mistake when the young lady in question grew up milking cows and bucking hay bales.

Copied this picture from Facebook. That would have been handy back in the day for judging the long term prospects with a love interest.


drjim said...

Are those shackles to restrain the cow's legs during milking? The Farm Kids I knew didn't have cows, so I missed out on learning that.

Had a young lady friend once who was a very sweet girl. A bit ditzy at times, but a good girl. Got her a pair of earrings; one said "In" and the other said "Out". She said they were very cute, just her mail baskets at work! Totally clueless, but sweet.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Yes, shackles to prevent them kicking, especially forward.

Howard Brewi said...

I spent about 20 years milking cows commercially. We would have called your devices hobbles but rarely used them. If the cow wants to fight it is too easy for the cow to get hurt. My preference was to throw a rope with a loop in the end over the cow. Feed the other end through the loop, in front of the udder and tighten up the rope. There was less chance of injury. There is a ommercial metal device with a screw clamp that does the same thing. Mostly we just tamed the cows. Another good trick is to put nose clamps an a recalcitrant cow and pull her head around. That takes her mind off her udder. Usually two or three milkings that way and she would give up the fight. I was msrried already when I started milking cows so no advice for tameing the milkmaids.

LL said...

I was never a commercial milker. The Jersey was tame and while she required milking at least two times a day, her relief made it such that she wanted the warm hands there on a cold day. What you can't stop is getting smacked in the face by a tail, wet with fresh manure from time to time. Milking machines are more hygenic, I guess. But if you only have one cow, it's not a milking machine problem. At least it was that way when I was growing up. I don't know what small holds do these days.

Fredd said...

My how the times have changed. Nowadays, you can get fresh homogenized milk at the local Piggly Wiggly, no worries about getting smacked by wet manure-soaked tails.

Folk that have two or three cows to milk typically want the nuisance of it all, desire it, welcome it. Much like Eddie Arnold in 'Green Acres.'

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Howard Brewi
I've been around commercial dairy operations. Lots of hard work found there. We would buy newborn bull calves from them and bucket raise them then sell them as yearling steers. Think my dad paid $5 a head. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

We had one Jersey who I could milk without hobbles. She was the most obsessive compulsive animal you will ever find. She wanted hobbled as part of the routine. Any change in her routine made her nervous.

For my parents it was financial. They were farm/ranched raised and that place was their dream. In truth, with their skills and talents, there were far more lucrative things they could do. Plus they had a big lunk of a son to work like a Hebrew slave, as the saying went in those days.

Sisty said...

I still remember the smell & feel of laying my head on the flank of the cow while milking. Yes, WSF didn't do it all of the time. The quiet of the barn, her munching on her feed and the sound of milk hitting the bucket. Then there was carrying the bucket quite a distance to the house and helping Mom with the separator. Later, in my life, I had another cow to milk. Same memories.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Part of our youth. One thing for sure, we were taught how to work.

Old NFO said...

Yep, hobbles. My uncle had a cow down at the home place that 'had' to be milked twice a day, same thing, no hobbles, NO cooperation, and she would kick the milk bucket over EVERY @#%$%( time... sigh

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Every cow had a personality. Many didn't want to be milked by strangers and would hold back for a long time.

Flugelman said...

Used to milk for neighbors when they would go out of town. Single Jersey and you are right, I could never get as much milk as they could from her. She was docile though, I don't remember her ever kicking the bucket over.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

We had a Jersey and a couple of Guernseys. The Jersey had the rickest milk but not the volume of the Gurnsey.