Saturday, July 25, 2015

Meet Erin, as I answer her milking questions

Someone who had never commented on my blog left her first comment the other day.  Since the name she uses to comment on Blogger is Erin from Iowa, I left a question for her in the same comment section, asking in what part of Iowa she lives.  She came back with this response, still in the comment section: 
"Hello again! I live in a loft style apartment in downtown Des Moines,Iowa. My three daughters also live in DSM with their families. I am deaf and lip read. I have lots of windows so I enjoy gardening with my houseplants. I also keep busy cooking, baking, reading, knitting, sewing, the list goes on. One good thing reading your blog did for me was made me realize I could get a breast reduction. Which I did in 2008. Five pounds off each side! I tell folks get two five pounds bags of flour and hold them to your chest. That's what it was like. So I thank you for being so forthcoming and helping others. :)"

I don't get nearly as many comments in my comment section as I once did, chiefly because I share each entry on Facebook as soon as I finish it.  (That's too soon, because I often find myself fixing typos and correcting stupid mistakes after several people have read it, but being polite folks, they don't say anything.)  These days most of the comments on my entries are on the Facebook update.  So this was a nice surprise, and a reminder that you never know whose life you may be influencing.

On my last entry, she posted some questions.  Being a city gal, she doesn't know any of the old-timey farm basics, and was curious.  So I'll answer those questions for her and my other "townie" readers.
"Do you have a post showing the steps taken to home pasteurize milk? How to get the cream off? How to store the milk and cream. You never know when city folk might find a source for the real deal."

If you click on THIS LINK, you will see how to pasteurize milk at home.  If you want to spend $400 or so, you can order a pasteurizer (click HERE).  

Around here, we drink raw milk.  Yes, we do.  In the interest of world health, let me give you a warning from our government, because we all know they have our best interests in mind:  

Why raw milk is dangerous

Raw milk can carry harmful bacteria and other germs that can make you very sick or kill you. Yes, it’s true that it’s possible to get “food poisoning” or foodborne illnesses from many foods, but raw milk is one of the riskiest of all. Raw milk and products made from raw milk (such as cheeses and yogurts) can cause serious infections, such as SalmonellaListeria, and E. coli.

What happens if you get sick from raw milk

Getting sick from raw milk can mean many days of diarrhea, stomach cramping, and vomiting. Less commonly, it can mean kidney failure, paralysis, chronic disorders, and even death. The seriousness of the illness is determined by many factors, such as the type of germ, the amount of contamination, and the person’s immune defenses.
Speaking of immune defenses… it’s important to remember that some people are at higher risk of getting sick from drinking raw milk. The risk is greater for certain age groups, such as infants, young children, and older adults. It’s also particularly risky for pregnant women (and their unborn babies) and those with weakened immune systems, such as people with cancer, an organ transplant, or HIV/AIDS.

Friday, July 24, 2015

When things get old, they are labled "vintage"

When I strain the milk I bring to the house, I often wonder whether my metal milk strainer will outlast my need for it.  In case you are wondering what a milk strainer is, I did an entry about straining milk HERE.  Click on the link and you will find out more than you ever wanted to know.

I know it's silly to be sentimental about something like a milk strainer, but I'm nuts that way:  I've had that thing ever since my parents sold us our first milk cow in 1968.  They threw in the strainer with the cow, and although I've had several periods of cow-less-ness (how's that for a word?) since that time, I can't bring myself to toss it.  It's a good thing, since at this point I'm using it again.  Lord only knows how old it is.  I only found out yesterday that this type strainer was made to set atop the old milk cans, back when any small farmer could milk a couple of cows and sell the milk for cheese-making and the cream for butter-making.  If you checked out the entry I linked above, you saw the pictures of the way I use it, which is exactly how my mom showed me.  

One part of my milk strainer is broken, and I handle it gently in hopes it will last me as long as I need it.

It's like that about a third of the way around that disk.  This is the part that goes on top of the paper filter, to hold it in place.  

I Googled "milk strainer" last night and found that they can still be purchased, although the new ones are not made exactly like this one.  Most of them are stainless steel, smaller, and come at a high price.  I don't plan to buy one, but I was curious.  You know, just in case the day comes when that metal thing falls apart.  I wouldn't invest a lot in something to strain milk because, at my age, even if I live another twenty years (God help my knees if that happens), I know I am liable to stop milking cows at any time, either out of necessity or out of weariness.

I made an interesting little side trip in my Internet travels yesterday; I stopped by Ebay, and found out the old milk strainers are labeled "vintage" and are used to make things like lamp shades.  Really?  I have to say, that made me smile when I first read it.  I've seen some ugly lamp shades in my time, but I think a metal milk strainer would out-ugly all of them.  I found one strainer almost exactly like mine with a buy-it-now price of $42, except the part I need even has a fancy little knob to hold onto when you place it down in the strainer!

I don't suppose I could get them to sell me that part and keep the rest of the strainer for a lamp shade (yes, I am still smiling at the thought of a lamp shade).

I think if I am VERY careful, I can make that poor old piece of metal in my vintage item last me as long as I need it.  Here's hoping.