St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Milk House II

With a little rain this morning, decided to continue work on the milk house -- remove the milk bulk tank first.  

The tank is a 205 gallon stainless steel double layer insulated and honeycombed with cooling coils heavy item.  First removed the motor/stirring paddle setup, then the lids and feet to make it as light and small as possible.  

With Scott's help we tipped it on its side and found it would not fit through the door.  So unbolted the old 2x8 wood casings on each side, thus removing the door too.  Then tired again, but a bolt anchored in the concrete walls had to be sawed off to let it through.  

Drug it out and put it on the trailer and then unbolted the compressor unit and am thinking how to remove that in the next big lift.  

The concrete floor is broken, settled and in need of replacement.  The wooden ceiling is not great and the windows and casing are rotten and the roof is not great either.  However the cinder block walls seem sound so I think it is worth some renovation work to bring it up to Grade A standards -- maybe as a maple finishing and bottling kitchen.  That has to be inspected and Grade A too. 

Bulk tank being stripped -- unbolted motor and cut through the pipes to the compressor (freon seems to have leaked out over the years).  

The muscles for the crew, Scott helped with the job.  We removed the sliding door in the hallway between barn and milkhouse.  The Grade A regulations required separation from barn and this hallway with a door to each building gave the separation.  The sliding door opened the hallway up or in winter left it closed.  It was rotted off, so away it went. 

Won't fit with door and casings on the milkhouse entry

A left-handed monkey wrench loosened the square nuts on bolts set in concrete walls (cinder blocks with concrete mortar).  

With casings removed and one bolt sawed off, the tank was muscled through the opening and onto the trailer 

The galvanized washing tank is rusted out at the bottom and no longer useful for its original purpose. Should be able to think of something to use it for. 

Milk cans, and under the debris, it the lid of the can tank. We put the milkcans in the tank and pumped cold water on them to cool the milk.  Haven't opened it to see what is inside yet.  Last I knew it still was filled with water. Maybe it has cracked and drained too. 

I wonder if I can still lift 300 lbs and ease it to the floor?  Took 5 of us to put it up there in 1970 or so  

Starting to look empty. The plumbing went to the small hot water heater on the left.  Notice the dipper hanging on the pipe on the right -- used when we had cans and Mom said "Run out and dip a quart of cream off of the top of the milk cans--and don't let Dad see you take it."  

Back in 1953, the milkhouse was state-of-the art and very nice to use.   It had a year-around hot water heater before we had one in the house.  We heated water in the house with the wood furnace and a copper coil connected to a water tank in the winter and in the summer with a special wood water heater.  When it was time to wash dishes, Mom sent one of the boys with a pail to bring hot water to the house rather than fire up the boiler.  

Some summer Sunday mornings we went to the milkhouse and connected the Y hose to the cold and warm faucet and sprinkler head on the other and took a shower over the floor drain.   Dad was not sure that was Grade A compliant, so he decided it get the house an electric hot water heater too. 

However, in the milkhouse we had a shower, and then could do like the Finns and jump into the cold milk can tank and cool down.  

Mom took advantage of the milk house too.  When it was time to dress the 50 chickens, the milkhouse became the slaughter house for a few hours.  

One of the most interesting late summer biology labs was the outdoor cattle watering tank, directly east of the milk house in the cow pasture below.  The daily overflow from an hour of cold water pumped on the milk cans after each milking flowed through the milkhouse tank and then piped underground to the cattle watering tank.  By late summer, the tank was layered with floating yellow and green mats of vegetation -- I suppose algaes of various types.  The cows drank in the swamps and stream and undoubtedly brought back bits and pieces and seeded them into the water tank where they grew in the clear, flushed cooling water overflow.  
Sometimes we put a few fish in their as an aquarium or reserve to have fresh fish on hand.  I still remember gazing into the tank with wonder at what all grew there! 
Surge milker hanging by surcingle  

Emptying the milker into the milk pail

Emptying the milk pail into the bulk tank through the milk strainer with a milk filter pad inside.  Dad also used a "step saver."  That was a pipeline from a pail in the barn directly to the bulk tank.  Some farmers used pipeline systems that went from milker unit directly into a pipe to the bulk tank with no milker bucket.