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Dad learned to milk with a tractor

My father passed away over 2 years ago. When I was growing up, dad would tell us kids plenty of stories about his life of farming and the many struggles he had to overcome. This is one of his stories. We were in the dairy business and that meant the cows had to be milked twice a day, even if there was no electric to run the milking machine pump. Back in 1958 my family lived in Delaware and there was a tremendous snow storm. It took out the electric power for about a week. Dad made out as best he could and that meant milking by hand. Eventually, the snow was cleared from the roads and dad had to go to the tractor dealership to get some parts. He was talking to some of the guys there and he happened to mention how sore his hands were from all of the milking he had to do with the power out. One guy spoke up and said 'why donít you use your tractor to milk with?' Dad laughed thinking this was just a joke. No joke, the guy was serious. Dad's tractor was a 1956 MF to-35 and on the engine intake manifold there was a removable plug. The guy told dad to take out that plug and screw in a vacuum hose stall cock. Now you just run a hose from tractor to the vacuum line that runs the milking machine. It made enough vacuum to milk one cow at a time. From then on, whenever a thunder storm would knock out the power it was a matter of routine to bring the tractor up close to the barn so my dad and brothers could finish the milking.

David Bartels, PA, entered 2009-03-09
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