Because of the size of the farm and the fact that I did most of the farm work alone until Tom returned home, DH was pretty insistant that I have a milking machine. I put him off for a year and hand milked twice a day. It was my favorite part of my chore time but I knew milking more than one cow by hand everyday would take it's toll on my hands over time.
Next we decided that we needed a butter churn. I looked on ebay and craigslist and couldn't seem to find a used one that wasn't an antique. I finally found a great little hand churn at Lehmans's non electric store. Not cheap but a great little churn. DH also purchased me a larger electric churn for when I have large amounts of cream. I tend to use the smaller one and make smaller batches of butter more often. Both were great purchases. Neither of these were absolutely necessary. I've taught little kids and adults alike to make butter by passing around and shaking cream in a quart canning jar to the hokey pokey! It does work and it's great exercise but I didn't think I had time to do that 2 or 3 times per week :)
The next most logical purchase seemed to be a cream separator. I spent a couple of months researching this machine and really thought I had made the best choice. Wrong........these babies are not cheap. I couldn't find one used. I didn't think I wanted a used one anyway as the inside and outside components are made of plastic except for a series of discs that spin are made of metal and the bowl on the top. I have spent hours on the phone and computer with this company trying to make this unit perform as they said it would. It does not. They have even gone so far as to tell me my milk is too cold so I've rewarmed the milk to 101 degrees which is the temp it comes from the cow and it still does not work properly. This new fangled rig just doesn't cut it!
Granted, it may just be me. Perhaps I just don't have the knack for using this machine but I have found I get more cream off my milk by skimming my 2 quart jars after it has sat in the fridge a few hours with a small ladle than I do by separating 10 quarts of milk with the separator. Hence, my title that new isn't always better in this case.
Today was butter day - that's what prompted this post. I've been feeling ridiculous that I can't make that separator perform properly but I've given up and enjoying my ladle and I don't miss the hum and the massive clean up of that machine at all!
For those of you that milk, how do you separate your cream?