At dawn and dusk the Whirlwind Hill cows passed through the barnyard. All the food they ate during the day went into making the milk and the other products that they left behind before they went out to pasture again. My grandfather and uncles gathered up those “other products,” put them into the manure spreader, and carted them to the fields to feed the crops. “Waste not, want not” was what farm life was all about.
The door into the cow barn faced east. I like to think of my ancestors greeted by the rising sun as they left the barn in the morning to go back to the farmhouse for their coffee and breakfast and by the westward sunset in the evening as they crossed Whirlwind Hill Road to join the family in the warmth of the kitchen for supper.
“The Barnyard,” Carol Crump Bryner, gouache, 2015
On Monday: Games and Grandparents
The creamery was a refreshing oasis on hot summer days at the farm. Until the late 1960’s, when milk cans gave way to bulk storage, milk from the cows was poured into metal cans and stored in the creamery tank.
You may be picturing a sterile-looking refrigerated room when you think of “creamery.” This was not the case on my grandparents’ farm. The milk cans were carried out the back door of the barn to a wooden shed built over a spring. Entrance to the building was through a tall sliding door. On the right side of the room stood a long cement tank filled with cold, cold spring water. My uncle or my grandfather immersed the cans in the water and, using pulleys and counterweights, lowered a heavy lid onto the top. Even with the tank covered, the air inside the creamery stayed deliciously cool and made for a peaceful respite from the heat of the midday sun.
“The Creamery in 1972,” Carol Crump Bryner, pen and ink, 2013
On Friday: Watermelon Pickles