Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Starting up a dairy takes hard work, connections

They had Dadís horse and his single-seated "courting buggy," but the dairy delivery required a large, four-wheel cart, with roof, for daily milk delivery around to various Columbia homes. There was ice in midwinter, but Dad did not have the right equipment for "putting up ice" for use when winter turned to spring.

There was so much he couldnít do alone in a dairy. He was a farm man but not familiar with a half-dozen cows at once on his fatherís farm. Mom was from Centralia, and she could harness a driving horse and go alone by buggy, and she was eager to learn to help Dad in the dairy.

They bought, with borrowed money, wash tubs and several milk cans with tight-fitting lids, smaller cream cans and lots of miscellaneous equipment. They bought strainers and a metal gallon measuring cup, marked off for measuring pints and quarts.

Imagine no milk for sale in grocery stores, no cardboard boxes to toss away, no cartons with pictures of athletes or movie stars. Just a milkman driving a cart with a roof to shade the milk in hot weather and a happy young man who knew how much each customer wanted each day. Dad and the customer often looked forward to a chat as he poured the milk from the big measuring cup into the customerís kettle.

In summer, Dad put the milk in the icebox if the customer called Mom with instructions. Mom stayed at home during Dadís delivery hours because customers often had unexpected company and needed extra milk or cream; Mom could guess where he and the black horse and cart could be located, except that Dad was a big talker, and many customers were talkers too.

The customers liked "Mr. Meyers" and told their friends; soon Dad ran the route smoothly and with many new friends as customers.

Remember cream? There were two kinds: coffee cream and whipping cream. Dairymen called them "single" cream and "double" cream. Whipping cream was for when you were having company, and whipped cream could be made to stand in peaks on pies and other desserts.

When women discovered that they were getting fat, that signaled the end of whipping cream, and the demand fell to almost nothing. Dairymen followed the styles and bought churns to make butter!

More later about early days in the one-man dairy.

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