Posted by: patwogan | September 17, 2008


As a kid, I always had chores to do after we moved over to the farm.  I many times felt that too much was being expected of me and that I was being “abused”, but I wasn’t.

I had to gather the eggs, bring in wood, help feed the animals, and last, but not least, milk a cow.  It was the milking of the cow that I hated.  The cow was a big Jersey mix and had to be hand milked twice a day.  We milked several cows and the milking of this one was my responsibility.  If you have ever milked a cow by hand, you will understand what I am talking about.  I had a one-legged milking stool that I balanced myself on as I milked.  This particular cow was very large and it seemed that always as I was milking her, she would swish her tail around into my face at least once.  When you milk a cow, you place the bucket under the udder of the cow and squeeze the teats causing the milk to go into the bucket.  The cows were sprayed for flys as they came into the barn, but that didn’t always stop the flies from bothering the cow.  That is why they swished their tails.  Every once in a while, if the person milking the cow wasn’t alert, the cow would pick up her foot and put it in the bucket.  Of course, when that happened, the milk had to be thrown out.  Sometimes “kickers” had to be put on the cow to stop her from doing that.  This particular cow was prone to kicking and so had to be restrained by “kickers”.  A cow has four teats that have to be emptied at each milking and after the main portion of the milk has been extracted, they  have to be “stripped” a technique to remove all the milk.  This I hated doing.  So I didn’t do it well.  If all the milk is not stripped from the cow, she will eventually go dry.  One positive of milking a cow is that in the winter time cuddled up next to a big warm cow is very cozy.  The smells in the barn, believe it or not, were pleasant,  The hay and the cattle feed the cows ate while being milked had a fragrance all their own.  There were always several barn cats waiting for warm milk which they knew they would have when the milking was completed.  Sometimes we would squeeze the teats toward the cats and they would catch milk in their mouths.  My aim wasn’t as good as my Mother’s, but that did provide a diversion to the tedium of milking. 

Another chore I didn’t care for was gathering the eggs.  I remember doing this at Grandma’s house more than at our house.  She had a nice hen house, but it wasn’t snake proof.  Black snakes would get into the nests and eat the eggs.  I did not like being anywhere snakes might be.  I also did not like reaching under the hens to get the eggs as some times they would peck your hands.  So two obstacles, maybe a snake in the nest and maybe getting pecked by the hen as you reached under her.  Grandma put a “darning egg” in the nests sometimes to fool the black snakes.  I remember seeing a snake that had tried to eat the “darning egg” and it killed him as it didn’t digest.  A darning egg is an onyx or china egg shaped thing used to hold the shape of a sock as it was being mended. 

I also had to bring in wood for the stove.  If this could have been done in the warm weather, it would have been okay.  Let’s face it, you don’t need a wood stove if it is warm weather.  Bringing in the wood was not a terribly hard job, but it had to be done daily, no matter what the weather was.  Sometimes the wood would be frozen together on the wood pile and that made it more difficult to do. 

 I think having to do these  chores in the cold weather made me think that some day I would live where there wasn’t any winter.  Hallelujah!  I now live in South Texas.

Tomorrow I will talk about summer chores.  I didn’t like them, either.  Guess I was a typical kid.



  1. I use to hate gathering the eggs too, but because it was just creepy to have to reach in under those hens to get the eggs!
    Yes, I think you were typical indeed.

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