One of the chores that had to be done twice a day was milking the cows. We usually had one or two that supplied us with all our dairy needs. Our barn was across the middle pond and down a small hill. Fun going down, but a job hiking up with a full pail of milk.
We would bring the milk into the summer kitchen, and Mom would put it into the big bowl on the top of the separator. We kids would take turns turning the crank. Cream would come out of one spout and skim milk out of the other. Then into the refrigerator it would go.When we needed butter, the cream would go into the churn, similar to this one pictured. It was cranked until the butter separated from the whey, then taken out of the churn, a little bit of salt was added, and Mom would knead it until it was nice and firm. The whey was buttermilk and a special treat when chilled.
Sometimes we would make cottage cheese. Mom heated the milk, then added just a little bit of vinegar, and the milk would separate and make curds. She poured this into a big colander lined with cheese cloth, and let all the liquid drain off. After squeezing out the last drop, she would break up the curds, and the cottage cheese was ready to eat.
Isn't amazing what a pail of milk could gift us with!