16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Saturday, August 19, 1911: Such a pleasant surprise awaited me when I came down to breakfast this morning. Mollie, my cute little heifer had a calf this morning. Wasn’t that grand? But the unromantic part about it is that I have to break her. I tried it this afternoon and found that she kicked some but not nasty. Saw my name in today’s paper about that picnic.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Grandma must have owned one of the dairy cows on the Muffly farm. Mollie apparently had just had her first calf. Young cows that haven’t yet had their first calf are referred as heifers.
It can be a challenge to get young cows used to the milking process—and it sounds like Mollie was being really stubborn. At least she didn’t kick Grandma too hard.
I wonder if Mollie would be eating differently now that she’s a mother. When I was growing up on a farm many years after Grandma’s time, we often fed the milking cows a richer diet than the young stock.
In the July 1911, issue of Farm Journal I found an advertisement for beet pulp. I would have guessed that a hundred years ago that dairy cows would have gotten most of their food during the summer by grazing on pastures—and that in the winter they would have eaten hay, silage, and grain raised on the farm.
I was surprised that at least some farmers were already supplementing their cows’ diets.
Name in Paper
In 1911 when people wanted to tell their friends about recent events they submitted them to the local newspaper. Apparently Grandma submitted an item about the August 16th picnic that she’d organized to the newspaper.
Next time I get into the Milton Library I’ll have to search the old microfilms of the Milton Evening Standard to see if I can find her name in the paper.
For more information about how newspapers reported even minor social events a hundred years ago, see a posting that I did last winter called Tweet ‘Tweeting’ in 1911.
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