“And brushing ankle-deep
We heard behind the woodbine veil
The milk that bubbled in the pail,
And buzzings of the honied hours.”
My farm had the reputation of being a good cheese farm, but a bad butter farm; in spite, however, of this tradition I determined to establish a pedigree Jersey herd for butter-making. For early in my occupation I had abandoned the cheese manufacture of my predecessor and later the production of unprofitable beef. My wife attended various lectures and demonstrations and was soon able to prove that the bad character of the farm for this purpose was not justified. Within a few years she covered one wall of the dairy with prize cards won at all the leading shows, and found a ready market for the produce, chiefly by parcel post to friends. The butter, although it commanded rather a better price than ordinary quality, was considered not only by them but by the villagers more economical, as owing to its solidity and freedom from butter milk, it would keep good indefinitely, and “went much further.”
The cream from my Jerseys was so thick that the cream crock could be lifted up by the wooden spoon used for stirring, by merely plunging it into the crock full of cream and raising it, without touching the crock in any other way. With fifteen cows and heifers in milk on an average, the Jerseys brought me in quite L300 a year in butter and cream, without considering the value of the calves, and of the skim-milk for the pigs, and they were worth a good deal besides from the aesthetic point of view. I think that the word “dainty” describes the Jersey better than any other adjective; their beautiful lines and colouring in all shades of fawn and silver grey make them a continual delight to behold. After all, however, the shorthorn is a magnificent creature; they, too, have their aesthetic side; the outline is more robust, their colouring more pronounced, and I think that “stately” is the best description to apply to their distinguished bearing.
At Worcester, on market days, a great deal of butter is brought in by the country people and retailed in the Market Hall, and many of these farmers’ wives and daughters have regular customers, who come each week for their supply. On one occasion when the inspector of weights and measures was making a surprise visit, and testing the weights of the goods on offer, a man, standing near a stall where only one pound of butter was left unsold, noticed that as soon as the owner became aware of the inspector’s entrance, she slipped two half-crowns into the pat, obliterating the marks where they had been inserted. She was evidently aware that the butter was not full weight, but with the addition it satisfied the inspector’s test, the two half-crowns just balancing the one ounce short. No sooner was he gone than the spectator came forward to buy the butter. She guessed that he had seen the trick, and dared not refuse to sell, although she tried hard to avoid doing so; so the cunning buyer walked off with fifteen ounces of butter worth 1s. 2d., and 5s. in silver for his outlay of 1s. 3d.