Thursday, July 7, 2016

Where did all the Milkmen go?

As a child, I remember the Milk man arriving at our apartment once a week with glass bottles full of fresh whole milk and other dairy products. My brother and I used to argue about who was the first to check on 'milk status' in the front entryway. More often than not, our mother did the checking, and made sure the empty glass milk bottles were left for the milkman to pick up on his next round. Never saw any milk women in our neighborhood, but the milkman was always there, dressed in clean, crisp white, delivering milk for our cereal and brownie and cookie snacks. 

Don't remember when this service stopped, but according to John Mixon, a milk enthusiast, and an article from Wikipedia,,  as more homes got better refrigeration (or even for the first time got refrigeration) in the 1950's, the need for milk men declined. Although some people kept the service into the late 1970's, by that time increased delivery costs and decreased customer bases made the service unprofitable and it was discontinued. It still may be in practice in some small U.S. towns, and in other parts of the world, but for most of us, it remains a fond memory.

Found this article compliments of the Society for the Preservation of New England antiquities, and thought I'd post for those who remember, and for those curious. 

"Over two hundred years ago the New England Milk and Cream Dairy traveled only a short distance from the cow to the table. In the hundred years between 1860 and 1960, people moved away from farms and cows, and dairying changed from women’s work at home into a mechanized industry. A delivery person — the milkman — brought dairy products to villages, towns, and cities. At first, milk route men, and occasionally women, came in wagons with milk cans and dippers. Later, the wagons were replaced by fleets of trucks rattling with glass bottles. Without milkmen, generations of families in cities and towns would not have had fresh milk in their coffee, cream on their cereal, or pudding for dessert. Infants would not have had cows’ milk to fill their bottles.

In the same time period, dairying and the milk delivery system had to adapt to change. New processes and government regulation made commercial milk from far away dairies safe to drink, and science and mass advertising persuaded homemakers of milk’s nutritional value. By the 1960s, social, economic, and industrial changes caused milk delivery to shift to the self-service supermarket, and platoons of home delivery milkmen said goodbye..."

From Dairy to Doorstep, Milk Deliver in New England 1860 - 1960 was originally organized by Historic New England and made possible by H.P.Hood, Inc. and Elizabeth Hood McAfoose and Emily C. Hood.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016

Manure, Soil and Seeds...

The weather has warmed up enough to begin the process of getting our garden beds ready for planting. So we bought two bags of manure yesterday, turned on the outdoor faucets, retrieved and setup our rainbarrels for rainwater collection, and purchased initial cool weather seeds for planting: peas, lettuce, and early green bean seeds. Rather than starting seeds from scratch this year, we've decided to buy small starter plants to reduce our workload. So far, we've purchased only herbs: parsley, oregano, dill, thyme, and the initial plants I mentioned earlier. We still have to integrate the manure into the soil from last year, but this is a beginning...

We also purchased pansies for our window boxes and will be planting them today, as well. We have a beautiful Patriots Day in MA, and would like to take advantage of the milder weather to plant these before the rain dampens the soil and makes work with manure and earth more challenging. But, I'm getting my hands dirty again! The gardener in me is shouting for joy!

Looking forward with anticipation🤗...

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Winter blues are turning bright!

It has been a mild Winter, giving way to the beginning of an early Spring. This is wonderful, but gives me pause. Are we going to pay for this beautiful weather during the summer with rainier days or hotter temps? I hope not. I'd rather consider this a blessing and dive into the manure and soil with the same joy and wonder I've experienced in the past. I haven't setup a plan for the garden yet this year; but, expect we'll be using seedlings I'll be starting, as well as those purchased in local greenhouses.

It's always a thrill beginning the vegetable garden each year! The layout may change, but the anticipation always returns. Looking forward to seeing the first shoots pop up, the first beans on the vine, and the first tomatoes popping out for attention!

Another year of new starts!

Go ahead, dream those garden dreams!


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Oh, Sweet Pea!

This year, my peas came to life! We had about six Sugarsnap Pea plants that produced wonderful sweet peas which we ate raw, sautéed, and in salads for about 2 weeks. Didn't save any for later - they were too tasty - yum! Next year I hope to plant double the amount as they have a relatively short growing season. Now, we're watching the string beans and tomatoes reach for the sky!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Basement Beginnings - Canning vs. Freezing - Pros and Cons

So, I'm stepping back in time for this blog post - I never finished my thoughts on canning vs. freezing (oops)...

Canning - I loved canning tomatoes and tomato sauce! The process of taking these beautiful tomatoes I had grown, and adding the other herb elements from my garden, gave me a true sense of accomplishment well into the Winter months. 

The sauce and tomatoes were also very tasty, and held their flavors very well into the Winter months. We could also open a jar, use a little as a chicken or beef flavoring, close the jar, and use the remainder at some point later in the week as a pasta sauce (refrigerating after opening, of course.).

We stored the canned tomatoes and sauce in one of our pantry cabinets which was not used previously. I made about 30 Mason Jars of sauce which easily fit in the cabinet.

*Lesson Learned*
If you don't have cabinet space available, find a closet - or any space that will not freeze - to store your sauce and/or tomatoes. Since I used 'Ball (Glass) Mason Canning Jars', I did not want to risk them freezing and breaking. 

Freezing - Freezing tomato sauce was very efficient. Rather than using Mason Jars, I used freezer bags, and added them to the freezer to be used during the Winter months. 

It's important to have a backup in the event of a power loss, but we were lucky last year with our power staying consistent through the Winter months. 

Also, freezer sauce does not stay as fresh as canned sauce - there's a shorter life span. You also can't use a little and refreeze. Canning does allow a bit of flexibility to use a small amount and refrigerate for later in the week.

*Lesson Learned*
Make sure you have space available in your freezer. If you freeze too much sauce, the sauce may block the circulation vents and generate a lot of ice.