Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Winter's Dazey

Dazey guts
Originally uploaded by Contrary Goddess.

We have an old Dazey butter churn. The thing must be near 100 years old. I got it from my mother but it isn't an ancestral churn -- my ancestors used dasher churns.

We've used, quite actively, this churn for years now. The top "works" of it were just riveted onto the top and turning it hundreds of times for each pound of butter creates some stresses at those attachments. Even before we started using it, stress cracks were developing and after years of our use, I was getting concerned about them.

Thankfully one of our good friends is a metallurgist. Now, ages ago when MadCap put together a virtual community of homesteaders, people offered up "skills" like "cook" and "networker" and "counselor". Let me tell you now, if you are not able to cook, network a couple computers together, or counsel a friend to not be stupid then there is no hope for you. Skills are more real, more concrete, and more rare than that. Like looking at an ancient butter churn and knowing what to do to fix it. Although in the end, if it came down to it and we didn't have this friend, we would have had to figure it out ourselves.

After coming out here and sipping some excellent Irish Whiskey and playing some music and solving the world's problems with us, our friend took the churn top home with him. He took it apart, analyzed it, and fixed it for us. Turns out the shaft was crooked so he straightened it. There were lots of jokes about this. There was a pin that was about worn in two so he replaced that. And where the top was cracking, he reinforced it on both sides with copper washers, soldered it with tin, and replaced the rivets with a small bolt and an elastic threaded nut that won't work loose. New meets old, modern meets ancient, useful meets useful.

Dazey w/ butter
Originally uploaded by Contrary Goddess.

He returned the churn to us before we were out of fresh butter. Thanks friend.


Annette said...

Yeah, I had a bit a fifth grade moment about the crooked shaft.

On an entirely unrelated note, I have a friend who told me he could process a pig in 20 minutes... does that sound feasible? I'm assuming he meant from alive to ready to store, but I'm not sure. We weren't in a situation where I could ask him anything else.

He's not given to bragging, but he's always wearing a grin and he HAS been know to pull a leg or two.

CG said...

I would like to know what he means by "process". There is, after all, more than one way to skin a cat. Maybe a suckling pig? On a spit? Or something they do to them in CAFO processing plants?

arcolaura said...

Love it! The gears look just like my mother's egg beater. I have looked at crank egg beaters a few times, but they all seem ridiculously flimsy now, so I haven't bought.

Annette said...

Actually, I think I made that word up, "process," because this morning I couldn't think of exactly what he said. But now I've thought about it a bit, I think it was something like, "I can do a pig (or hog?) in 20 minutes." And our conversation was about me learning how to kill and butcher a hog (and other animals).

Dunno. He might have worked at some processing plant when he was younger, or lived on a farm. He's kinda tight lipped about his past. Maybe he really is just quick and efficient at killing and butchering. He might like to tease every once in a while, but he's definitely NOT one to half-ass work.

It was just one of those things that caught me off guard. I imagined it taking longer. I'll just have to ask him sometime when we're not both working.

Ren said...

People who can fix things are good to have around! I married one, but I don't know that he could fix the butter churn. Cool churn btw. There is one in the Lehman's catalog that looks similar and often has me dreaming of raw milk and making butter.

CG said...

The churn in Lehman's is, I believe, from China, and has nylon gears and wouldn't last that long because of those gears. Still, better to have A butter churn than no churn. Plus they want over $100 for it IIRC. Same with the egg beaters Arco. There will come a time, says I, when having stuff last will again be important. I hope too.

On the pig, well, again, it would depend on what he calls processing but with 10 people it takes that long to scald and scrape a pig. And those are 10 people who know what they are doing, have a good scalding tank, and a tractor to do the heavy lifting. It can be done without any of that but, again, it takes longer.

Peggy said...

what a friend! I got a churn for Christmas and now that the goats are kidding I am getting milk and can try making butter

clairesgarden said...

my dad recently refurbished an old mangle, repainted with new wood it looks fabulous. at a recent family gathering his wife was trying to persuade people they really wanted to take it away as its large, and heavy and looks out of place in the kitchen. no takers. . . till I said, we're about to run out of oil etc. very soon we're all going to be fighting over that mangle.
some silence followed. . .
some people left the room to go and look at the mangle again. .
I have voluntered my dad(I think he'll rmember agreeing) to refurbish a one horse plough if I can find one for Smokey. people use them a garden ornaments here.