Butter’s not a right
There it was. I wasn’t expecting it. At least not before Christmas.
I re-read the words my brain sluggishly computed: “Pay to the Order of…”
Hoping to teach a 4-H butter-making class in my silo farm store, I applied for a Midwest Dairy grant, but I wasn’t expecting an answer until 2022.
And here, as if whispering Merry Christmas, I received my “green light.” More than a class, this grant meant something bigger and tastier for me: CREAM! After 10 years as a farm wife, I’m ready for STRAIGHT CREAM. (I may have dreamt of heavy whipping cream, cream soups, raw butter, coffee creamer and homemade ice cream.) Excited is an understatement.
If this were a Hallmark movie, the surprise check would have cued fluffy snowflakes which would obviously cause a breathlessly romantic kiss between the city girl and the farmer.
“Um… Fresh off the Farm lady? Butter classes aren’t romantic. You’re being dramatic.”
Oh, but am I? When was the last time you thought butter was a big deal? Let me explain.
I’d venture to say that no American child asked for butter this Christmas. Why? Because it is considered far more a right than a privilege. But it wasn’t always like that.
I didn’t grow up on a farm, but I did grow up reading about Laura Ingalls Wilder. Laura knew that butter was a privilege, and with that privilege, came thankfulness. I want to be thankful like her. She knew what it cost to get what we consider our right.
Trouble is, we lose her perspective when convenience passes from normal to expected.
I don’t want a mere pound of butter anymore, I want the mega Sam’s Club pack. Not so for Laura.
I remember listening wide-eyed at her excitement over ONE piece of candy for Christmas or her corn husk doll. Really? Corn husks? Who gets excited about corn husks?! Not me.
Is it possible to skip the corn husks and still be thankful? I want to be thankful and I want to raise thankful kids.
Sometimes it feels impossible. Laura is pretty different from my kids. Think if they had lunch together…
“Oh! What perfectly rectangular butter! You have a cow!!?”
“Um… no, we don’t.”
“The neighbor? How nice! You trade?”
“You can’t possibly travel to BUY cream?”
“Well… not exactly”
“Well, however you get it… I always help momma churn out the butter… do you help churn?”
“Well…. we haven’t a churn”
“You haven’t a churn!?!”
“No… we just go to the dairy section.”
“What’s a dairy section?”
“It’s where you can buy products like cheese, cream cheese, half and half, heavy whipping cream, 1%, 2%, whole milk… you know.”
Laura blinks…. remembering the frostbit morning milkings. “Oh…”
Laura would never have seen the dairy section as her right. What if we taught our kids to do the same? What if they realized what happens prior to the store?
Instead of feeling entitled, we could ponder the craziness of a 1,500-pound animal that eats plants and creates nutritious milk in it’s body.
Then we could take a hot second and try to understand the delicate rumen of four stomachs, the complicated reproductive process, the miracle of birth, and the triggering of lactation.
Like – WHAT?!
Butter literally starts with processes we can barely understand.
This is the mark of a miraculous Designer.
After we get that all figured out, if you want milk, the cow needs feed.
A seed, (actually millions of seeds) have to go into the ground and die to make a living plant.
Americans don’t think about this stuff during our grocery trips!
How about the farmer? He milked that cow while you were sleeping… And he’ll do it again while you’re eating dinner… 365 days a year.
That’s just how we get milk! We haven’t made anything yet!
Maybe we can’t teach all of this while we shop for butter, but maybe I can start… in my silo… with a 4-H group. Maybe we’ll be more thankful when we realize butter isn’t a right.
I think I’ll start with this Merry Christmas check.
Want to come along? Join me at www.gerdesfreshfarm.com/blog
Meet your farmer – Liz Gerdes. She is a local dairy farmer and friend to anyone who needs one. She helps moms feel amazing about what they feed their families, with farm fresh milk!
Visit gerdesfreshfarm.com or follow her on Facebook @gerdesfreshfarm for more info.