Family Farm: The Jersey Cow and the Milk Separator

Kansas woman recalls her parents milking their Jersey cow and using a cold-water milk separator

Content Tools

We moved into town when I was 5. One of the things I remember was the old Jersey cow. She was huge. Dad would come home from work and milk her before he ate supper. Lots of times I would go with him to our family farm's barn. We had a cold water milk separator that he would pour the milk into. The way I remember, it was blue, round, tall and to me, big. Dad would pour two or three buckets of milk into it when he milked the Jersey. He would also give some to the many cats that always knew when it was milking time.

Mom would go out the next morning and drain the milk from a spout near the bottom. Milk would drain out first, then half-and-half, then the real cream. I remember the milk separator well, because one day I decided to help Mom by draining about a gallon of milk into a dirty bucket. I got a major lecture, but the cats enjoyed the extra milk that day.

My brothers and sisters don't recall the milk separator the way I do. Thirty some years later when I saw it in storage it brought back some memories of the farm. Strangely, the separator was not as huge as I remembered it. But everything does look bigger in a 5-year-old's eyes, and those memories do not change with age.

Janice Gatlin 
Osawatomie, Kansas


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.