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Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Emory Women Writers Resource Project

The Gentlewoman's Companion: or, A Guide to the Female Sex, an electronic edition

by Hannah Woolley [Woolley, Hannah, fl. 1670]

date: 1675
source publisher: Printed by A. Maxwell for Edward Thomas
collection: Early Modern through the 18th Century

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What things belong to a Country Gentlewoman: Of Daries, and making Butter and Cheese.

Gentlewomen, that you may be delighted with your own experience, as well as satisfied in the labours of your servants, I shall give you an account of what must be pre-observed in the keeping of a Dayry.

Let your Kine be of the best choice and breed that possibly can be procured; and the larger the Cow is the better she is, whereof Lincolnshire and Cheshire afford great plenty. The reason why | | 200 I advise you to chuse large Cattel, is, that when they grow old, and will yeild but little milk, you may then feed and fatten them for the Shambles. The common and most known signs of a Cow that gives good store of Milk, are, a wreathed, Horn, a thin neck, and a large hairy Dewlap, a full Udder, and the Teats long and thick.

The best Black Kine are said to come from Cheshire, ancashire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire; the best red Cows (whose Milk is so much esteemed above all other of that kind for its extraordinary nourishing quality), come from Gloucester-Shire, Somersetshire; the Pied- kine come commonly from Lincolnshire, and are little inferior to the rest.

This you see England affords variety enough of extraordinary good Cows for the good Housewife to make choice of as she pleaseth; but withal let her be careful that the Bull be of as good a breed as the Kine themselves, otherwise the encrease will degenerate, and your Dairy in time run to ruin.

If at any time you buy any Kine to encrease your dairy, you must be careful they come not from a Soil that is more fruitful than your own; but rather not so fertile, or being not so good pasture, for then they will the better prosper and thrive, with you; otherwise it is ten to one they will pine away, and fall into many Distempers: Cows are said to give most Milk when they have newly Calved. If a Cow gives a gallon at a time constantly, she may pass for a very good Milch-Cow; there are some Cows which give a gallon and half, but very few who give two at a time.

| | 201 You cannot design a better time for your Cow to calve in than at the latter end of February, or in the Months of March or April, for then the Grass is coming on, or springing up in its perfect goodness.

The hours or times most approved and commonly used for Milking, are in the Apring and Summer between five or six in the morning, and six in the evening. Some veryunprofitably with the pretence of reason, milk their Cows in the Summer-season, betwixt the hours of twelve and one; but I would not have it to be a president for any to follow. There is an old Proverb very pertinent to what is here related; That two good meals are better than three bad ones: It is the worst point of Huswifry that can be to leave the Cow half milked; for besides the loss of Milk, it is the ready way to make the Cow dry and so become unprofitable to the Dairy.

Now the profits arising from Milk are chiefly three; viz Cream, Butter, and Cheese; the Cream is the very heart and strength of the Milk, which must be skimmed very cleanly: Cleanly, I say, for Cleanliness is such an ornament to a good Huswife, that if he want any part thereof, she loseth both that and all other good names whatsoever. Cream is not to be kept above two days in Summer, and not above four in the Winter, if you wil be alwayes provided with the best and sweetest Butter: But before we speak of that, I shall here insert some excellent Receipts for made-Cream, & Milk made better by art.

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