Back in the old west (among other places) once a frontier/pioneer family started to settle and cleared a little land, they bought a cow. If they didn’t have one already, that is.
The useful cow provided milk to feed the family and any calves they might be blessed with could be sold, slaughtered for meat or, if male, trained to plow and pull a wagon. The milk could also be turned into cheese and butter to trade at the general store or used to fatten the pigs and hens. Believe it or not, very little of the milk was used for drinking. As a result, people didn’t get as much calcium as they needed back then and many lost their teeth by the time they were thirty. But cows had other uses as well.
If a Pioneer family ran out of candles they could melt butter and pour it into a small lamp called a “cruisie” or “betty lamp.” The melted butter fueled the linen wick and gave a small amount of light.
In winter when cows couldn’t graze on fresh grass, the butter made from their milk was almost white. Carrot scrapings were used to give the butter a more pleasing color. One of the first color additives!
Families on the move made butter by hanging a leather bag full of cream from the back of the wagon. The bumpy ride churned the butter as the family traveled. Don’t think to hang a bag of cream off your truck and go four wheeling. Unless of course, you’d really like to have that fresh butter!
I don’t have any cows in my latest release. My heroines hail from Boston, they didn’t need to worry about a cow. As they travel west by train and stagecoach, hanging a bag of cream off the back of the stagecoach might have been an option, but they were more interested in meeting their future husbands than making butter. Gee, I wonder if they bought a cow once they were settled? Have you ever had a cow? Had a neighbor that had one? Comment below and I’ll choose a random winner to receive an e-book copy of Dear Mr. Comforts.
Until next time, I’ll leave you with a little snippet!
Rosie Callahan waved at her latest suitor as he ran down the porch steps. “Goodbye, Nicholas – I hope you call on me again!” She closed the door, groaned and let her head fall against it. “Rats. Lost another one.” She turned with a sigh and went into the parlor.
“Well?” her sister Georgie said. “Is he going to call on you tomorrow?”
Rosie shook her head, fell into the nearest chair and groaned again. “How does Aunt Henrietta expect us to get married when she chases off every potential groom?” She glanced around the room. “Where is Aunt Henrietta?”
“Upstairs in her room.” Her eyes flicked to the ceiling and back. “I hope she stays there.”
“Where’s Hunny?” Rosie asked. Their older sister, Phryne Hunnicutt Callahan, had gone by that nickname ever since she was ten, when she found out what historical figure her parents had accidentally named her after. Rosalind and Georgina were thankful that their Christian names lent themselves to comfortable shortening.
“She hasn’t returned from choir practice. Maybe that nice Mr. Edmonds will walk her home.”
“Mr. Edmonds the land agent? I thought he left town to go further west.”
Georgie shrugged. “Maybe he did. I can’t keep track anymore.”
Rosie beat her head against the back of the chair a few times. “At this rate we’ll never get married.”
“I’m worried you’re right,” Georgie agreed. “The way Aunt Henrietta acts, you’d think she doesn’t want us to marry, yet she’s always talking about it. I don’t understand her at all.”
“Nor I,” Rosie picked at a fingernail. “What if we never marry?”
Georgie’s eyes widened. “Don’t talk like that. Of course we’ll marry – it’s only a matter of time.”
“Only a matter of time before Aunt Henrietta chases off every viable suitor in the city. That woman is missing a wagon wheel.”
“Quiet, or she’ll hear you.”
Rosie folded her arms and sat back. “So what if she does? Tarnation, you know it’s true.”
Georgie gasped. “Rosie, watch your language!”
“What does it matter? I’m never going to be in a room with a man long enough for him to notice my manner of speech.”She got to her feet and paced. “Maybe I’ll bake some cookies. That always helps.”
“You can’t bake something every time this happens,” Georgie pointed out. “Even if it was you this time. My suitors never last past one visit. At least with Nathaniel Bridgewater you got two.”
“I know, but cookies make me feel better no matter who it happens to.” She turned and headed for the dining room.
Georgie jumped out of her chair. “Wait for me!”
Rosie crossed the dining room to the rear door that led to the kitchen downstairs. Aunt Henrietta had a large two-story townhome in Denver, complete with servant’s quarters, a summer kitchen and a lovely backyard with a gazebo. She didn’t actually keep servants – she was too cheap for that. Instead, she had three nieces to boss around and keep the house clean and the meals cooked.
Rosie – the cook – went into the larder to gather what she needed. “Sugar or molasses?” she asked Georgie.
“Molasses. We ate sugar cookies the last time Hunny got jilted.”
Rosie nodded. “True. Maybe we should make a different cookie when she gets jilted next time.”
Dear Mr. Comforts is available for pre-order on <a href=”http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JDYRR1ZAmazon/a/p?tag=pettpist-20