I imagine if you needed to wake the dead, you could just pasteurize milk in their vicinity. Think high pitched buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
If you’re a visitor to our home and not accustomed to this buzzing (we’ve become so familiar with it that we no longer hear it), you might jump from your chair. But really, the pasteuriser is a behind the scenes sort of affair like the rollers in the farmer’s wife’s hair of a Saturday evening, so you’d have to know and love us to ever hear that buzz.
The farmer carries the steel bucket to the milking parlour daily. While he’s milking, he’ll fill it up with creamy milk and run over at some point to bring it to the kitchen table. It’s laborious but like anything worthwhile, worth it. From here, I place the steel bucket into the pasteuriser and fill up around the bucket and plug it in. It takes about ten minutes to come to boiling and then comes the earth shattering buzz. Instinctively, at the hint of a tiny warning buzz, I get to the machine and switch it off. Then comes the glugging. A water hose is attached and milk it cooled. Glug, glug, glug, glug, glug. You might use the water coming out to wash the dishes or when it’s cool, water a couple of plants. Glug, glug, glug. It goes on for a while.
When it has cooled, I lift the stainless steel bucket out and start filling the jugs. I use a funnel to pour the milk into the thinner necked bottles and fill a few small jugs for the dinner table or fancy jug for a visitor. It’s messy.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s a lucky thing I married a Dairy Farmer with my tendancy to produce sons, for my God, when I say I pasteurise milk daily, I pasteurise milk daily. One gallon a day. In their defense, I also use the milk to make bread, bechamels, yoghurts and any dish that I can liberally apply milk or indeed cream. It is gorgeous. It’s the only word to describe it. Gorgeous. When you pour the milk into the jugs you see the creamy content and it’s true, the cream does rise to the top. It’s an accustomed taste, because it tastes strongly of farm if you catch my drift. When the cows are on grass, really lovely June grass, it’s best, you can taste the lazy rumination of a Summer’s day. By November, when the cows are in, you can almost taste the strength of silage. And I love to open the fridge and see jugs of creamy fresh milk on the top shelf waiting for their culinary adventure or pour into a little boy’s glass.
It is the best part of the job. Watching the cows outside the window grazing on green grass, I am thankful for their milk and the abundance it brings to our dining table. We are very lucky indeed and I love our cows for that.
In that pint of milk is the ponderings of a Dairy farmer. Where will the cows go next? That field might be a bit wet after the recent rain, best put them in the High Field for now.
There is the watchful eye on protein and fat content, is there enough, is it good enough?
Behind that Pint of Milk are reams of paperwork, waiting for the farmer’s wife’s attention. Incomings and outgoings, all to be put in order, as soon as you can.
In that creamy milk is the call from the boys for the creamy bit, the nightly hot chocolate, the pour at breakfast, the sour milk for tomorrow’s bread, the icecream on a Sunday.
The farmer wipes the cow’s udder, places on the cluster, rubs a pap and the milk flows as the cow feeds on some ration. A gentle squeeze on an empty pap, cleaning, some dip, she feels the tap on her leg by the farmer’s hand, telling her to move on. Her milk moves through the dairy pipework into the bulk tank, to the tock, tock, tock of the machine awaiting collection. She saunters into the yard and towards the field again.
Back into year’s green green grass. Grass that brings on her creamy milk for that evening’s milking.
All in that pint of milk.
There are few days as beautiful as a sunny Sunday morning in April. If you rise early enough you catch it before the house builds up to its usual crescendo of activity. For now, it is still, sunny, wakening, calm. From my coffee perch, I hear a cow bellow, the birds twittering over green fields, the farmer getting the parlour ready for milking. The gate closes for the cows arrival, there is the familiar drop of buckets on the dairy floor.
The cows wait outside the parlour for their turn to bring us their milk. The milk tank will fill with their bounty and as they wander from the parlour out to the gorgeous green grass that April has brought here, the milk will be collected. It’s off to its destination, a fridge away from here, filling another little boy’s breakfast bowl we tell them.
Here is the gift of another beautiful Sunday in April, fresh milk for our pancakes, growth in the fields and good health for the family and animals in our care. No better gift.
Have a lovely Sunday.
I caught you. Just had to mention homemade chocolate icecream. Works every time. Although, this is not a foodie blog, the writer loves food and I should hope the reader does too. By the by, why do I write it? I write it because a). I’ve always loved writing and b). I love talking. And you keep listening. A one way conversation. That said, you’re always welcome to talk back (ah go on).
So our lovely Adelaide is making her way back to France next week and there will be tears. A lot. There may be tantrums, pleading and wailing in Cork airport. She will be missed, not only for her kindness and love but also for her crêpes. So to thank her for putting up with us for the eight heaven sent weeks in which she gently accompanied us through the first two months of Anthony’s life, we’re having a party, funnily enough a crêpe party. Honestly, she keeps putting the crêpe pan down but somehow it manages to hop back into her hand. Magic.
As it’s her leaving do, we, the Hearthill crew, are going to help out. All heart, literally. Our contribution; Hearthill chocolate icecream. The cows are grazing outside the window (see image attached) this morning and we are using their delicious milk and cream. Thank you girls. The mix is ready and about to go into the freezer and later in celebration of the lovely French girl who got the farmer’s wife back on her feet, it will melt onto authentic Briton crêpes alongside strawberries. Adelaide will forever have a place at our table and in our chocolate and crêpe loving hearts. Toujours.