Saturday, May 8, 2010

Of Dairy Maids and Dairy men

It is my considered opinion that the advent of the milking machine was when the family dairy moved from the domain of women to the realm of man.

When I was younger I milked a cow by hand. Resting my head against the warm side of Bossie the cow as streams of steaming milk splashed rhythmically into the pail was ... a Zen experience. When the cow was dry I'd turn her out and carried the bucket of warm frothy milk to the house. Simple, uncomplicated, relaxing.
 Now my husband uses a milking machine to milk our cow, Hazel. The machine involves a vacuum pump and its idiosyncrasies, lots of mechanical parts, enough hoses to confuse an octopus and a stainless steel tank. Brian finds the whole contraption fascinating. He actually enjoys fine tuning the connections and settings. He talks constantly of finding the perfect length for the hoses and whether or not the sling is really necessary. When he starts talking mechanics and physics my brain turns off and I find myself "Uh Huh" ing him. You know - nodding and making little noises of agreement while not really paying much attention to what he said. I tried using the milking the machine once. By the time I was done I was a frustrated, nervous wreck.
To add  insult to injury, when the surge is full of milk I can barely lift it. Even Brian uses the little trailer pulled by the lawn tractor to haul the milker to and from the barn, but he can at least lift the stainless steel surge up into the wagon.

So there you go... when milking started involving machines it became man's work. Because men, in my experience, like machines and those doggone milk cans are HEAVY!

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