Favorite Milk Bottles


I have a lot of glass milk bottles, all half-gallon size, which is handy in the kitchen. Not too heavy to handle easily when cooking, good for daily use. But my friend, Sarah, who also has milk cows, uses a lot of gallon-size glass bottles. I’ve used some of hers, and got attached to the convenience of setting the milk right in the same bottle where you could store it, and also for the economy in storage of the larger bottles. When she was getting ready to order some new bottles, she let me order with her so we could both save on shipping and I just got my bottles in. Six gallon-size glass milk bottles.
They each come with a screw-on plastic lid that fits tightly, and a pour cap and carry handle.
I still filter my milk into a big bowl. (I like to observe carefully when I’m filtering.)
Then I pour the milk into the bottle. You can see side by side that I’m getting a pretty steady 3/4 gallon each milking from Glory Bee’s front quarters. You can also see the cream line in the bottle on the left–it’s the set milk from the previous milking. On the right is the new day’s milk, ready to go in the fridge to set.
To take off the cream from the bottle, I just use a small measuring cup to scoop it. When using a bowl, I skim with a big spoon, but I’ve found scooping from the bottles goes much faster! I like it. There’s a thicker layer of cream because of the narrower container, making it easier to take off and less time-consuming.
I’m not too much of a perfectionist with skimming and don’t mind some cream left in the milk. I’m getting about a pint of light cream a day from Glory Bee.
I was ready for butter and disappointed about the dearth of heavy cream, then finally remembered that I had the same trouble with BP after she calved. They’re wily devils and they hold it up the baby. I could be more aggressive with the calf separation, or I could just be patient. The heavy cream will come to me eventually. I’ve decided to be patient. I’m all for the calf getting a rich, healthy start in life.

I’m milking Glory Bee less than I milked BP at this point (or pretty much ever). I feel comfortable enough in my own skin as a milk maid now to manage my cow the way I want to and not how anyone else thinks I should or have to. My current schedule is every other morning. Every other evening, I separate the calf for the night. The next morning, I milk Glory Bee, front quarters only. Then we all take a day off. This provides me 3/4 gallon/milking, which is plenty and more for my use. I could start milking her every day any time I want to, but for now, keeping her production at what suits the calf and suits me is working well, and I think that’s what having a family cow is all about. I keep a close eye on her udder health, and she’s not had any problems with this schedule.

Some days Glory Bee is still a little kicky, but I notice improvement every time as she grows used to our routine and tolerates me and Dumplin. She calls for me on milking mornings, and comes eagerly to her stand when I arrive. Some days, I am still amazed that this big beautiful cow I’m milking now is the wild baby I raised. I put a lot of work and love into this cow! I feel proud of her when I watch her with her own baby. There is always a special bond with a milk cow that is different than the one with any other livestock on a farm, but I think with a milk cow that you raised, it’s even more so. And having had to wait a year for my own fresh milk again, I’m grateful for it.

Today, I think I shall make cheese! AND I CAN.

P.S. Here is where you can find the gallon glass jars with the pour lids if you’re interested.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on January 4, 2013  

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16 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 1-4

    My mom used to get fresh raw milk from a local dairy (back when they were allowed to sell it raw). Her trick was to use a turkey baster to skim off the cream. She made the most wonderful fudge with it.

  2. 1-4

    The Cheese is Coming! Hurray for cheese. What are you going to make first? I’m living vicariously through your cheesemaking.

  3. 1-4

    Please forgive me for not knowing, but what are you looking for when you filter the milk?

  4. 1-4

    When you filter milk, you just want to be sure no debris or hairs from the cow got in the milk. This is a bigger deal if you’re hand-milking over an open bucket. Since I use a machine, there’s not usually anything to filter anyway because machine milking produces cleaner milk (not exposed during milking), but I filter anyway.

  5. 1-4

    I was going to ask the same question (about the filtering).

  6. 1-4

    oops, pressed send too fast. What kind of cheese will you make?

  7. 1-4


  8. 1-4

    Glass gallon jars have so many uses, thanks for the link.
    Really loving GB and baby pics and updates but I’ve also been looking for a new pic of the matriarch, dear BP. Is she interacting with the grand-daughter? I love the idea that you have three generations on the farm. There really is a great book series just waiting for you with these 3 and all the farm friends.

  9. 1-4

    When I had access to raw milk from a dairy (“pet milk”), I bought a “Sun Tea” pitcher with a spout on the bottom. Milk goes in and is allowed to settle so the cream comes to the top. Then when I was ready to skim the milk, I simply opened the spout into another container and stopped when the milk was drawn off. That left the cream behind. I’m guessing that you can also then draw off light cream and leave the heavy behind, but I didn’t do it as not long after I got the sun pitcher, the lady quit selling her milk.

  10. 1-4

    I have dairy goats & have use the same bottles. One caution: DO NOT trust the handle! (a gallon of milk & broken glass is not a good way to start your day!)
    Enjoy your cheese!

  11. 1-4

    I would love that cream for my coffee! I think the former bad calf is a beautiful animal. Can’t wait to see how pretty her non-eatable calf will turn out. :snoopy:

  12. 1-4

    When I saw the pictures of you using the small measuring cup to scoop the cream and having to go in at an angle, I thought, might it be easier using a long-handled soup ladle? That way you could go straight down into the cream layer and let it flow over the edge of the ladle, then haul it straight back out.

  13. 1-4

    I would also say don’t trust the handles. I’ve broken sun tea jars that way and these look very similar. Sounds like you and GB are in sync on the milking schedule. It’s cool that she moos for you. I wish I lived closer so that I could meet the animals and you too! Happy New Year from Dallas Texas (where it’s only snowed once this winter so far).

  14. 1-5

    I don’t have a cow, but I do have Nigerian Dwarf milk goats and will have babies in the spring. What would you suggest as the milking/keeping the babies away schedule for them. I should have three does giving birth in the spring and am so looking forward to milk for my cheese, soap and lotion..OH, I guess some for the babies??? :-)

  15. 1-7

    Those jars send me back! When we were kids we spent a couple of weeks each summer with my grandparents in tiny Cement, OK. Grandma would take an empty gallon size glass jar up the street to the lady with the cow every couple of days. The new milk would sit in the fridge and the cream get skimmed off when it rose. My favorite thing was sliced peaches and cream……and we had fun making butter too. It was always kind of disappointing to go back to milk from the grocery store.

  16. 1-7

    I was wondering (hoping) that you were going to give us a pictorial for heavy cream. I remeber reading the post about On the Eigth day the farmer made cream…but, I don’t remember seeing the details. :)

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