Tuesday, September 8, 2009

We Milked Buttercup!

By: Kajsa Sabatke, Interpretive Projects Coordinator, Kate Betz, Manager of Pubilc Programs and Erin Crissman, Curator Among the many things that the three of us have in common is that none of us had milked Buttercup, the dairy cow at Lippitt Farm . (A few other commonalities being that we all graduated from the same masters program, we all have a keen sense of fashion, and all recognize that ice cream is one of the greatest foods in the world—see, it all comes back to dairy!).
Buttercup is a very patient cow.
At least not until last week, when we arrived at the museum early to help Farmer Wayne with the morning milking. Buttercup is a gentle cow and she patiently allows dozens of visitors to milk her every day under the watchful eye of one of our farmers. After Wayne gave us a tutorial of the basic milking technique (pinch and squeeze), we were ready to try milking Buttercup. Farmer Wayne shows us the pinch and squeeze technique before we get started.
Kajsa milking Buttercup
Kate milking, and not getting her foot stepped on.
I went first and my city girl savviness ensured that I immediately got milk all over my hand (and might have had my foot trampled if Farmer Wayne hadn’t warned me to move my leg out of the way!). However, after a few pinch-and-squeezes I started getting the hang of it. It was really an amazing experience. Now, I saw the steaming buckets of milk when we came in, but somehow my brain did not connect how warm the cow, udder, and milk really would be. Being that close to a living, breathing thing that could produce such an amazing product (please recall the earlier ice cream comment) was a humbling experience. I even got the two-handed milking down (if not mastered) by the end of my turn.
I loved milking Buttercup. I’ll also admit to being a little apprehensive about the whole thing, but I only have to milk a cow for the first time once, right? Erin milking Buttercup My biggest problem, actually, was trying to get dressed in the morning knowing that I would be milking a cow AND attending an important meeting in the afternoon. Thankfully, I got all of the milk to go in the bucket and my clothes stayed clean. Farmer Wayne is absolutely amazing. I understand why so many families run to the barn yard starting at about 3:15, and why our members bring their children after school to ride the carousel and milk the cow. What a way to spend the afternoon!
Here's Steve Kellogg, our blacksmith. It was his first time milking, too. He also served as our photographer for the milking adventure. He blogs about blacksmithing and working at The Farmers' Museum. Thanks, Steve!


Cynthia said...

Okay - a whole new reason to visit the Farmers Museum. One of those life experiences I have not yet experienced.

vannme78 said...

At least once n your life you need to milk a cow! I was able to milk Buttercup last week and it was so exciting! What an experience...thanks Buttercup :)

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