|Showing it's 63 year old age with 30 years of disuse, the farm milkhouse is getting a cleaning this week with plans for a new door and a new use. The ventilator in the roof needs a new cover too.|
When the war was over and peacetime production resumed, the pent up demand created a manufacturing and housing boom that lasted many years.
Dad wanted to go to Grade A milk production. That meant a Grade A milkhouse and other improvements for the barn and regular inspections for producing high quality milk.
Early on the list was a milk house next to the barn -- but not part of the barn. After the cow was milked, the milk had to be filtered, cooled and stored for once a day pickup by the milk truck.
There were plans available in farm magazines for milk houses and not only that, but some neighbors already had them and others were planning too.
Milk was put in 10 gallon milk cans which were then put in a cold water tank and fresh cold water from the well pumped through the tank to keep the milk from spoiling. So one part of the milk house was the below-floor level concrete can water tank. The tank overflow was piped out to a large cattle watering tank in the pasture as it was pure water flowing through inside to the outside.
Another area was for a hot water heater and double sink to wash the milking equipment. A rack for standing the cans before use; places to store the milkers, pails and washing brushes, soaps, etc. Windows with screens and panes for extra light as well as electric lights. Hot and cold running water. A floor drain for gray water to run over the nearby hillside.
Today, after making sure that Margo and Scott forever gave up the idea of milking cows again, (I had already made that decision back in 1985 when Dad gave up his dairy operation and offered it to Margo and me) I started the remodel of the milkhouse into a maple sap storage building. Brothers Ev and Marv had already said no milking cows for either of them and I did not want to push any of the next generation into a 7-day a week, 365 day per year job that starts at 5:30 am and ends at 9pm at night.
First was to inventory the items in the milkhouse. As we took items out I took some photos and will end today's story with the photos.
Scott and I plan to remove the compressor and bulk tank to regain most of the space. The small electric hot water heater from 1953 is still in the room. We have to open up the cover of the concrete water tank still holding water from when it was closed back in 1970 or so when the bulk tank was moved in. I think I will bring my friend and biologist, Walt, down to help me discover what life has evolved in 45 years in water filled darkness. I think we will open it cautiously before sending Margo to swim to the bottom and remove the drain plug to let it drain over the hillside (assuming the drain is still functional).
The milk house was a center of activity on the farm from 1953 until it closed in 1985. Although we are enjoying the memories, we hope to bring it back to life as the place we clean and store our maple syruping equipment. Rather than a dusty and dingy room that we tread cautiously into, it should be a pleasant, bright, clean, and vital part of the farm again.