A Buttered Up Birthday

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

Have you ever churned butter? We used to have a butter churn a lot like this one, but somehow with the passing of time, the churn is gone. I  suppose it was sold when my mother had a farm auction after my dad died. I don’t remember, but we didn’t find it in the house now. Not that I wanted to churn any butter. For that you need a milk cow, one that produces rich milk because you need cream to make country butter. 

So how do you make butter out on the farm? 
First, you milk the cow. Not something I ever learned to do, but my mother could and my husband milked cows when we were young and trying to make a living farming. He brought the milk that we were going to use to the house (sold the rest of it in milk cans) and we strained it through a big metal strainer with a paper filter fit in the bottom. Then after the milk cooled, the cream rose to the top and you could skim it off. That’s what we used to make butter. You put it in a churn or sometimes if you didn’t have a churn you just put it in a jar and shook it for a long time. I remember turning and turning that churn handle. Finally you would begin to see butter flakes start forming and then more and more until you had butter. Then you had to take it out of the milk that was left (the buttermilk or as we always called it, clabber) and work the moisture out of the butter until you had a little round mound of dairy fresh butter. 
Birthday Story 1 – Simple Gifts

You might wonder what any of that has to do with the birthday stories I’ve been sharing. Well, read on to see in Joyce’s birthday story. I’m pretty sure she got a present for her birthday that few of us have ever received.  
Growing up on the farm,
one of my jobs was to make the bread and churn the butter. I Hated making
the butter, it was a long tedious job. Since we were a large family…we made the butter in one of those big cans that honey comes in.
Do you know what I’m talking about? It stands about 18-20″ and approx
12-14″ (square). Well, Mom talked Dad into hooking up one of the old
electric drills to the paddles; he added another ‘handle’ (a black iron pipe)
so it made a T. 
Well, we could rest that
on our legs while the drill worked the paddles. It did help tremendously and
speed the process up. However, by this time, I hated butter. I loved going to
Grandma’s house because she had oleo (or margarine as they call it now). It
tasted soooo good and we kids made pigs of ourselves eating bread butter and
jelly on bread when we went to visit. 
For my (I think 10th)
birthday, Grandma didn’t know what to get me and Mom told her to get me a box
(1#) of margarine. She said I can’t get her that!! Mom talked her into it
and she did, wrapped it up in birthday paper and put it in our fridge. We
were sitting down to supper and Mom said, did you open Grandma’s present? I looked at her, then at Grandma and said no. Mom said it’s in the
fridge. I sat there looking confused
(why would she put my present in the fridge?) I got up, found it in the fridge
and sat down to open it, No Clue whatsoever as to what
it could be. I think I screamed when I opened it. (Dad gave me a dirty
look for screaming at the table.) My sisters wanted to know
what I got and when I showed them, they all wanted some too. I was a
selfish little brat and said NO, IT’S MINE! I sat there with my oleo and ate my bread with the
happiest smile on my face. I have no idea what else
I got for my birthday but I do remember that gift. It was priceless to
me. I believe I did relent about a week later and let them each have One
slice of bread with my precious oleo, but I was a miser and made that last for
a long time.
Birthday Story 2 – Simply Fun
What a fun story, Joyce! Just goes to show how simple things can bring a lot of pleasure and how moms always know what we want most. Now here’s another birthday story that’s sure to bring a smile. Felicia tells us about a fun party she had for her daughter. 
We lived in Florida at this time and I don’t recall how old
my daughter was, maybe 10 or 11. I let her have a few friends over for her
party. And we didn’t have a lot of gifts. But we had a lot of fun. So the theme
was scavenger hunt. I handed her a clue and she and her friends were off. That
clue led her to a small gift and another clue and so on. Her next to last
clue led her to the above ground pool. She picks up the last clue and it was
one word. DUCK! She says that word and her and her friends look over at us
confused, which is when we ‘opened fire’ on them all with water balloons and
water guns. It was fun! The kids loved it. She still remembers that party and
we all smile when we think about how much fun we had that day.

Felicia’s story is another good lesson in how simple things are sometimes the most fun and creative thinking can make birthdays great without having to spend a lot of money. 
I hope you’ve all had fun with the birthday stories I’ve shared forward. I always get more than I can share, but I do enjoy reading every one. I’ll be drawing for the winners this week for my birthday giveaway, but the real winner is always me since I get to hear from you and read your stories. If you haven’t entered yet, you have two more days to leave a comment here with a way to contact you or to send me an e-mail to annhgabhart(at)yahoo(dot)com. I’ll be picking three winners of the gift cards and book. All the details are at my website. www.annhgabhart.com.
Let me know if you’ve enjoyed the birthday stories or if you’ve ever churned butter.