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The Milk Route, Making the Hooligans Christmas Card

A photo of MaryIt’s a good thing that I’m not a betting woman as I just knew that one of the Grit readers could tell me what the old part I dug up belonged to.  I would have lost that bet big time. 

Thanks to all who voted for the Arc of the Shoals in our attempt to finish our greenhouse.  I’m sad to report that we didn’t make the top three.  I also wish to thank Whippoorwill Hollow films who made a wonderful film for the contest. 

We have a large walk in cooler in the laboratory I work at that we store our supplies and blood samples in.  Recently it stopped working as everything does when it gets old and our repair guy worked on it for a while to get it back up and running.  He said that if all the repairs didn’t work, we would have to put a block on ice in it.  That brought back memories of time on our milk route and blocks of ice. 

Our delivery truck wasn’t refrigerated. Dad would go by the Tuscumbia or Sheffield ice plant depending on which route we ran that day after all the milk was delivered and pick up huge six foot long blocks of ice.  The blocks would be chopped with an ice pick along the lines on the sides of the ice to make six smaller blocks and hauled to the freezer with ice tongs to be used the next day. 

We sold whole milk with half of the bottle of Gurney cream, buttermilk and butter.  Mom would work the butter, add salt and put in half pound and one pound cakes.  Milk was in glass bottles with a paper cap and stored in wooden crates.  The crates would be stacked in a single row in the truck. A block of ice would be hauled from the freezer and chopped into smaller chunks.  The milk would be covered with the chunks of ice between each bottle.  Another layer of crates would be stacked on top of the first and more ice chunks added. The process would be repeated until we had a stack four crates high.  More ice would be added to the top crates and the whole stack covered with a heavy tarp. Everything would stay just as cool as if it was stored in a refrigerated truck. 

Ice would last a long time in the wintertime, however in the summer we used a lot more ice not because of the heat, but because of the kids along the route. At each stop we made, the kids would come running asking for ice. Dad would hand each a small chunk and the child would go off happy. 

As I related the ice story to a co-worker, she said that refrigerated trucks these days are a lot less trouble.  I guess she’s right. Recently one of the guys that I went to grade school with was back visiting and we got to talking about Dad. He said that he was one of the kids who waited for Dad’s truck to show up every other day on the Sheffield route so he could get a chunk of ice.   I wonder what memories my co-workers children will have? 

  Immortality 

I thought after the hard freeze we had a week ago, all my flowers were finished. This weekend I found a few of my re-blooming iris, Immortality, Recurring Dream, Harvest of Memories and Autumn Tryst in bloom.  Due to a strong wind storm which broke off the open blooms, a couple of the pictures are from the spring bloom. 

    Recurring dream 2869 

   Harves of Memories iris 4878 

Check out my gardening blog report on some of my later-blooming daylilies. 

   Autumn Tryst iris 

On the hooligan front: I bought a Santa hat planning to try and make my Christmas card pictures of the hooligans.  I stapled some elastic to it to hold it on their heads.  I tried Levi first; Blackie treated the pompom like it was a mouse pulling it off of Levi’s head and attacked the fuzzy critter. After rescuing the hat and stapling the elastic back on, I put it back on Levi.  Patches worked and got it off of his head and ran off with it shaking the life out of as she ran and played keep away with me for a while.  I’ll try again after I get a new hat.  At least they didn't try to  fight like they did last year.

   Blackie w hat 

   Levi pulling off hat 

   Patches and Levi Santa 

   Patches on the run 

mary carton
11/20/2011 8:50:08 PM

Cindy last years card was a collage of pictures like this. This years will probably be the same. At least they didn't try to get into a fight this time. I'll post last years card along with this years & their letter to Santa when I decide which ones to use. Dave they are always into something. I had knee surgery last Wed and I'm on crutches so Mom has been helping me feed them after I measure out their food. Patches keeps bumping me from the rear telling me that I'm too slow getting her food to her. I've gotten into some of the re-blooming iris and they usually bloom in Oct, so they are way late this year. Last year they didn't do a re-bloom with the dry weather we had. You need to check out my other blog post of my top 50 favorite iris I had this year.


cindy murphy
11/19/2011 10:54:42 PM

Hi, Mary. I don't really remember the milkman, except for vague memories of going out on the front porch with Mom when I was very little, and opening the galvanized metal container to find it contained milk bottles. The galvanized container sat out on the porch long after the milk man stopped delivering, just because Mom liked it, I think. I wish I had it; I can think of a million uses for it now. It seems to me, you might already got your Christmas cards featuring the hooligans. Those are some great shots; they'd make cute cards. Happy Thanksgiving.


nebraska dave
11/17/2011 5:17:05 PM

Mary, goodness sakes your dogs have lots of stories in them. Don't they. You would lead a very boring life without them around. That's for sure. I'm sorry to hear that you didn't get your green house for the Arc of the Shoals. I don't remember having to deal with ice while growing up. We always had an electric refrigerator. I do remember the home milk delivery though. Those are very nice Iris blooms. Mine were great this year as well but I didn't get any pictures of them. I was busy with a project some where. Have a great Thanksgiving.