Family Farming Frances History Podcast TTT Season 4 The Great Depression

Season 4 Episode 23: Looking Back with Frances

          “Milk cows were an asset to any farm.  They were “milked” morning and evening.  Some were easier to milk than others. The milk was a valuable food source, useful for a healthy drink, for cooking, and of course, for homemade butter.  At first, we had a daisy butter churn that resembled an eggbeater.  Later we had a large crock and a doweling with little boards attached to the bottom that Dad had fashioned to “stomp” up and down until the cream turned to butter. But, equally important, cream could be sold.  This cash could be obtained to trade for food at the grocery store.  Mother used to ask: “Where are we going to ‘trade’ today”.  That would determine, of course, where the cream was sold.”  Frances, My Mother’s Memoirs

Welcome to Tea, Toast and Trivia.

Thank you for listening in.

I am your host, Rebecca Budd, and I look forward to sharing this moment with you.

When I entered the world of podcasting in 2019, my first goal was to preserve my mother’s story.   Frances was raised on a farm in Nebraska during the eventful decades of the 1930’s and 1940’s.   We read about the Great Depression that spanned the years from 1929 – 1939 and acknowledge that it was the worst economic downturn in the history of the industrialized world.  And yet, it is when we hear the stories of those who lived in those years that we come to fully appreciate how history continues to influence our present reality.


Today, I am joined by my mother Frances to discuss milking the cows.

I invite you to put the kettle on and join in the discussion. Frances and I look forward to your thoughts on TeaToast &Trivia!

Thank you for joining Frances and me on Tea Toast and Trivia as we looked back at farming in the past. 

Until next time we meet, safe travels wherever your adventures take you.

Nebraska (Photo Credit: My Father from his Nebraska Photo Collection)

Looking Back With Frances Tea. Toast. & Trivia.

By Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

31 replies on “Season 4 Episode 23: Looking Back with Frances”

Thank you for listening in, Jean-Jacques. I am delighted that you shared your mother’s story on TTT a few months ago. These are precious memories of a time that will never come again. It seems like a different world and yet, we continue to be influenced that those that have come before.

Liked by 3 people

Tremendous, nostalgic, and informative conversation, Frances and Rebecca! Frances, you magnificently remembered and magnificently described the milking-cows experience of your youth. A privilege to hear that slice of living history. Thank you!

Liked by 2 people

I am delighted that you enjoyed this podcast, Dave. This conversation was originally published in 2019 before the Covid lockdown of 2020. Don did an update on the audio to add clarity. Now in 2022, I am hoping that Frances and I can resume our conversations. I love your thought “slice of living history.” When I view your look-back photos, I am remind that we, too, have our “slice of living history.” As Frances says, it is good to remember.

Liked by 2 people

This was one of my first podcasts. I am going back over these conversations that stopped abruptly with the Covid19 lockdown. When I look back over the past two years, it almost seems surreal. It is good be able to meet in-person again. Many thanks for your support and encouragement Dave! I love our conversations.

Liked by 1 person

I so loved listening to this podcast on ‘Milking the Cows’. My mother was also raised on a farm and grew up milking cows. I never thought about how some cows would be easier to milk. I do think it is lovely that each family member had a favorite cow. How wonderful to look back on these times not so very long ago. As Frances says, the world was a different place. She is wise when she says to look back and ‘be happy’ about our memories. Each time and season of life has its share of good times and some harder times. Reflecting on the ‘good’ is so important. As we move forward, we look for the ‘good’ there as well.

Liked by 3 people

Linda – you have a marvelous gift for reflection. I especially appreciated these words: “Each time and season of life has its share of good times and some harder times…as we move forward, we look for the ‘good’ there as well. I agree wholeheartedly. I have benefited from the memories of those that added joy to my life. My thought is that we need to create beautiful moments that others will remember long after we have moved on in our journey. Sending hugs!

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Thank you, Frances for sharing your story. It was a long, long time ago, but sometimes it feels like it just happened yesterday. I agree with you – we need to remember these stories because they continue to influence our present. You reminded me that each day, we add to our narrative of our time. Looking forward to continuing our conversation. Hugs!

Liked by 1 person

I enjoyed this conversation about growing up on a farm very much. Such good memories for Frances! My grandmother’s memories about growing up on a farm in Nova Scotia were not as fond, particularly what an incredible amount of work it was to churn butter.

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When I think of my grandmothers’ role in farm life, I am amazed by the fortitude of their commitment to their families and the land. The next generation (Frances) benefited from their experiences. My grandmother told me about my great-grandmother, who was so lonely that she went to talk with the cows. Can you imagine what it was like to homestead. I am in awe of the courage and determination demonstrated by these women. No refrigeration, no electricity or running water. YIKES!!!

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I love that you interviewed Frances, Rebecca. My first thought when listening to your podcast was when I used to have my students give demonstration speeches. It was my tricky way of introducing students to public speaking in a non-threatening way. Frances might enjoy knowing that two of my students gave milking demonstrations. One little girl, a shy little third grader, brought an old-fashioned milking stool (one leg) that required good balance. Of course, I had to try. 🤣 She used a surgical glove instead of an udder to show how one applied pressure when milking.

Another girl, whose dad was a dairy farmer, actually brought a cow to school, and she milked her in front of the class outside. Those memories have stayed with me for years, and I expect they also did with my students.

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I waited to respond to this message because I am having coffee with Frances and my sister, Sarah this morning. Frances LOVED hearing about your experiences, which are so much a part of her story. Her words: “What a wonderful teacher and inspiring role model. And very savvy about introducing children to public speaking” Frances listened to your podcast on TTT several times and is looking forward to your reading from “They Call Me Mom.” Many thanks for your visit and for adding so much to this conversation.

Liked by 2 people

Living on a farm is different than any other place on earth! The time working in the fields, helping plant and harvest crops is unique to any other job. The ability to sell harvested grain and fat livestock from the feedlot is the result of days of hard work. But the hard work has resulted in joyful memories, for which I am grateful! !

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This was so much fun, Rebecca. It was nice to hear your mom describe the milking process. You may find this hard to believe, but I have milked cows. We vacationed every year in Virginia, on an uncle’s diary farm. Many times, he would invite me to join him. From gathering the cows, to milking and then riding the milk into town. When Frances talked about separating the cream to sell, it brought those memories back. Thank you for that!

I don’t know if you’re familiar with StoryCorps, but I used to listen to that during my morning commute. This particular interview reminded me of that. You do an amazing job, and you mom was a fantastic subject.

I hope you both have a great weekend.

Liked by 2 people

Thank you so much for listening in, Dan! What great memories you have of milking the cows and riding the milk to town. The best vacation ever. Many many thanks for your introduction to StoryCorps/NPR. I subscribed and just listened to a couple of episodes. FABULOUS!!!! I am beyond thrilled that this conversation with Frances reminded you of this amazing podcast.

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I absolutely love this podcast with Francis talking about milking the cows. My experience was exactly the same. And I remember that cream separator because I had to wash it and it was a lot of work to get it clean. When I see one in a museum now, my city friends don’t believe I actually operated one. Growing up on a farm/ranch taught me so much that helped me in my adult life. Things like hard work, teamwork, problem-solving and critical thinking. I couldn’t wait to leave the farm and live in the city, but I realize now it was the best start I could have ever had in life. I only wish I had interviewed my mom, although we did have some great conversations over the years.

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I am delighted that you enjoyed this conversation, Darlene. I did not have the privilege of living on a farm as many of my cousins did, but I did visit from time to time. I watched my cousins use that separator and then clean all of the parts, which appeared to be onerous. When I look back, I recognize that family farmers required a broad skill set to thrive. They had to understand the earth, the seasonal and weather patterns, when to plant and harvest. They also needed to know economic and current market trends; the care and feeding of animals and the list goes on. I am in awe of family farmers.

Liked by 2 people

I am delighted that you travelled back in time with Frances and me to a farm in the 1930’s. I am not surprised that your mother’s experiences are similar. Preserving our mother’s story is a way to build on our story. Your novel, “While the Bombs Fell,” is an excellent example how writers remember. Thank you so much for listening in Robbie – very much appreciated.

Liked by 2 people

I am delighted that you traveled back in time with Frances and me. Hearing stories from the past allows us to honour our stories today. Many thanks for your friendship, Marina! We creating stories together. Sending hugs!

Liked by 1 person

When I was in high school, I knew a young man who worked on his father’s dairy farm. Every day, 7 days a week, he was up early in the morning to milk the cows and then he had to do that again later in the afternoon. For someone in his teenage years, his unwavering dedication to milking those cows was admirable!

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My deepest apologies for answering your heartwarming comments so late, Mary. I am uncertain how your comments were lost in WordPress. Milking the cows is not for the faint of heart. I tried milking when I visited my grandparents on the farm, and found that it was very difficult to place my fingers in the right place. It takes a great deal of practice. When I pick up milk at the store it is so easy to forget the back story, of all the people who make it possible for me to enjoy milk in my cereal, coffee etc. Thank you again for your comments – very much appreciated.

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