That seemed minor to me, as the fair is full of cows during fair season, but it turns out that a real cow, is way too dangerous to allow people to sit down on the milking stool, pail between their legs and squeeze away. So renting a full-sized plastic model with realistic milking appendages is the way folks go about this nowadays, and it appears that the St Croix County fair (or someone down that way) rents them out for $600 per week.
I mentioned this in my email summary of the meeting to my Fair support group, and one of them, Jay Bergstrand, president of the Polk County Genealogical Society (and former farm boy) asked "Will that plastic cow be swinging a tail full of poop and pee? That was part of the learning experience."
Got me to thinking about the good old days on the farm. By the time I got involved with milking, we had milking machines so only milked by hand if Polk Burnett rural electric co-op had an outage, quite common if the wind picked up for a spring storm. Even then, Dad usually parked the Super C Farmall next to the barn, ran the garden hose out the window and connected it to the manifold (he had a valve screwed into the plug) and ran one machine from the vacuum provided that way.
Even with milking machines, there was a whole set of paraphernalia related to cows and milking them. Taking a tour of the barn and milkhouse, pretty much left as they were when Dad quit milking back in 1986 (except for an unbelievable amount of junk stored in it as neighbors dumped their left over items and Mom said --put it in the barn).
First some photos, and then some description. I got these from the internet, but we do have them all either in Brother Marvin's milkhouse museum on his farm, or at the farm here on Bass Lake.
|A necklace. Put around the cow's neck, barbs pointing toward the cow, when the cow tried to shove her head through the strands of the barb wire fence, it gave her an extra poke to remind her that even though the grass was greener over there, she belonged on this side. Reserved for those very few cows who ignored the barbs on a regular fence. We had one cow who would put her head down, twist it sideways through the fence and ram forward taking the whole fence along. Later, with electric fences, cows learned more respect for their boundaries!|
|Kicking chains. A young heifer, being milked the first few times was often very much like a bucking bronco. This type of chain went over the back of the leg, just above the knee (if you can call it a knee), and cinched the two back legs in tandem. Cows always haul off and kick you with one back leg--standing on the other three. They can pull the free back leg far ahead and really deliver a wallop to a dog, cat annoying them or a human trying to milk them. Tying the two back legs together means they can't kick you with one of them without tipping over themselves. Very effective if you can get them on without being kicked across the barn first.|
So, what have I missed? The teat reamer to clean out the milk duct; the curve needle to sew up the udder or skin; the trocar to poke a hole into a bloated cow and let out the gas; the milking machines; the nose rings and anti-calf sucking rings and necklaces; hoof trimmers; syringes for shots; the artificial insemination equipment; the charts to track records; scales to weigh milk; strainers, cans, pads, bulk tank, milk pails, milk stools, milk testing equipment and ???
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