Auchindrain Township | Eddie’s Milkhouse
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Eddie’s Milkhouse

Eddie’s Milkhouse

From the 1940s onwards there was a ‘Milkhouse’ here, made from old windows. It was set against the wall of the barn, and on brighter days must have been a warm and inviting place. It was where Peggy MacCallum made butter and cheese.

[caption id="attachment_21727" align="alignnone" width="430"]'Young Eddie' MacCallum with his dog, around 1954. The Milkhouse can be seen in the background ‘Young Eddie’ MacCallum with his dog, around 1954. The Milkhouse can be seen in the background[/caption]

Turning milk from the cattle into butter and cheese was one of the township’s traditional activities.  When the focus of farming moved from cattle to sheep in the 19th century this became less important.  However, tenant families who still kept cows continued to produce some dairy products to use or to sell.  We know that right up until farming ended here in 1963, Eddie MacCallum supplied milk to a number of his neighbours, keeping a note of who received how many pints when in a little book.

Butter, like milk, was a useful (and delicious!) source of fat throughout the year. Butter was made by skimming the cream from the top of milk that has been allowed to settle. The cream was then left to ferment for several days before being churned to solidify the butter and separate out the “buttermilk” (sour skimmed milk). This was then kept for baking things like scones. Before the Milkhouse was built, this may have taken place on the Closet of Eddie’s House.

[caption id="attachment_23281" align="alignnone" width="800"] Churning butter.[/caption]

Peggy stopped making butter in the 1950s – small farms could not compete on price with large industrial creameries, and the Milkhouse was taken down.  A photograph from 1963 shows a plastered and painted area of wall on the gable of the barn, where it once stood. All that now remains is the concrete slab of the floor. 

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