Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
I used to make butter, but not with a churn. Friends who had a farm would give us fresh milk with plenty of butter fat in it. I would pour some in my blender and watch it carefully, creating a tasty lump of fresh butter. And the liquid that remained, the buttermilk, was delicious to drink–not like the cultured stuff you buy in the grocery store today.
This is a real butter churn, and it took away the need to lift weights to get strong arms. The milk was poured into the churn, and then the paddle was lifted up and down until butter formed on the blades. Here’s a smaller churn, a glass jar, through which you can see the blades.
I remember making butter in a jar in kindergarten. The teacher poured the milk into the jar, screwed the lid on tightly, and then each child took a turn shaking the jar. The lucky one who got it last had the fun of seeing the little gobs of butter forming in the milk. I thought it was fascinating, and I wanted to do it at home. I don’t remember if that happened—at least, not until many years later 🙂
With the old wooden churns, it was the up-and-down, twisting motion made by the churner that created butter from the fat in the creamy milk. Strong arms and patience were needed, for sure.
Things sure have changed, both for the better and the worse. I’m glad I don’t live back in those days, but I do think we’ve lost some of the sense of importance of each person in the family, even the little kids, who could start doing useful work like plunging the butter churn a few times as soon as they were tall enough to stand on a stool or a chair.
I know there are people who think it’s just awful to teach a child to do chores. I read an article the other day about that, the author saying, “Children are not your slaves!” My goodness. What a strange perspective on teaching children to be helpful, to learn how to take care of themselves, to be contributing members of the family and community.
Better they learn to churn than to sit idly in front of screens all day, ruining their little brains and their poor tired eyes. I’m glad I reared my children just before the advent of the computer age. They did chores, and they played hard and long outdoors.
Those were, in many ways, the good old days.
P.S. I just remembered that the stick in a churn was called a dasher. Here’s one common type: