Milking the Cow

The term milkmaid has passed from our vocabulary. It is no longer relevant. But there was a time in Appalachia, as late as the 1970s, when girls and women would milk the family cow. They were called milkmaids. This woman simply squirted the cows milk straight into a plastic pitcher from which they drank. They didn’t have a refrigerator. They just got fresh milk when they needed it. She also churned the milk to make homemade butter and cheese. This was part of the division of labor on a farm. Everyone had to pull their own weight for the family to survive. Note how she has the cow tied to a bucket of feed while she milks it so that it will remain stationary. This photo was taken in 1975 near Cosby, Tennessee.

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