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Saga of a bulk milk tank

By an old bulk milk tank formerly of Erhard

In the mid-1950s, farmer Cliff bought me brand new. Selling milk in bulk was a brand new idea– no more handling heavy milk cans! So I was a really special part of dairying. My working partners were two stainless steel milk buckets, stainless shot cans, stainless milk pails, stainless double sinks, a milk strainer, etc., etc. I cooled the milk for his small herd of dairy cows. In the mid-1960s, farmer Cliff decided to quit the dairy business, and he sold everything, me, all my helpers, and all the cows- – to farmer Andy.

Mrs. Andy spent many days sweeping cobwebs, dust and dirt from their barn that had not been used for many years. Then she brush painted all the stanchions, and hired a guy to whitewash the barn. Farmer Andy was still working at the dairy– so when he came home she showed him her surprise. Farmer Andy doesn’t show much excitement– but I think he was happy.

Then came moving day– farmer Cliff, farmer Andy, and Andy’s brothers really had to work hard to get me loaded onto a pickup truck– and unloaded into my new home. They had to take the door frame off farmer Andy’s milkhouse for me to fit. But how proud my new owners were when I was in place, and the vacuum pump and everything was working– and the cows were moved in. They were REALLY in the dairy business. Mrs. Andy usually milked in the mornings, and farmer Andy milked at night after his day of work in the dairy. One of the first things he bought was an inflation washer. Noisy, but saved a lot of work cleaning them. After two years, he quit his job and Farmed full time. I was a happy bulk tank– I worked every single day to keep that milk cool- – and my partners worked hard too. A few years later, farmer Andy bought a used stepsaver. That really was a back saver for them, and we got along real good.

We worked hard for farmer and Mrs. Andy for over 20 years, and they took good care of us. Then farmer Andy was forced to quit because of health. He could not find a buyer for any of us– so we sat in that milkhouse for 22 years, collecting dust and chewed-up insulation from the ceiling, and mud that washed in from the corner, and spider webs- – oh- – it was a miserable part of our lives. We felt so neglected and unwanted – and missed the bustle of a working dairy!!

Then, in August of 2008 – a young farmer, Tom, from Paynesville, advertised for a stepsaver. Long story short– he bought my friend the stepsaver, along with my bucket and washer friends, and vacuum pump and electronic petcocks, and ME!! The day he was to pick me up, farmer Andy had to REALLY work and pound to try to get that steel door off that was all rusted on. He finally got one side loose, threw a chain around it and used his buddy, Bobcat, and pulled the door out. Whew!! For a while, I was sure I would be left behind.

Farmer Tom came with his rusty, but trusty old Ford Ranger, a low trailer, and he knew just what to do. He used a plank and spun me around like nothing- – got me set on two steel tracks, then hooked up to a 12-volt winch he had along, and he had farmer Andy run the winch switch while he guided me through the door- – it just was so slick. My compressor was a bit too long, and the legs wanted to dig in- – so farmer Tom used his tool, the plank, and pried the end to get me further on the tracks (that kinda hurt– but I held tight and soon it was over). From there on I just glided up onto the trailer. That farmer Tom, he sure knew what he was doing. He is a real farmer too– he can use tools and fix anything with wire and/or duct tape!!) Then they disconnected and loaded the rest of my friends- – and we were on our way to a new home and a new job. I am so exited to be useful again! Farmer Tom is going organic — so I will cool and hold good milk! I hope farmer and Mrs. Andy can come and visit me sometime down the road.

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