Milking Cows on the Farm

There was one constant with life on the farm: milking cows twice a day. Milking is the reason some farmers never went on vacation their entire life. Milking tied you to the land and the farm. It was also the most onerous task as I was growing up.

The cow barn could be hot and sweaty in the summer and quite chilly in the winter. My hands always seemed to be too small for milking cows. The cow swished her tail in your face, and that tail was sometimes laden with manure. Flies were a constant menace in the summer. I was always amazed that cows could give off so much heat. It could be a bitter cold morning, as much as 20 below zero, and you open the sliding doors of the milking area and a blast of warm air would hit your face.

We washed the cow’s teats, grabbed a milk pail from the milk house, picked up a wooden stool, and started milking. Milking a cow took about five minutes.

We carried the milk pail to the milk house and poured it in a large funnel that had a gauze filter in the bottom. We used a cream separator. Dad or Mom poured the filtered milk into the cream separator

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