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Barbwire: The are Called the Foster Mother of the Human Race
By Barb Lumley

     Many years ago our ancestors chose to travel and resettle in new areas of our country.  They packed their wagons with the basic necessities and started out on a trip to unknown territory that often took months to reach.  As you watch old western movies, you often see a dairy cow tied to the back of the wagon.  That cow was one of the most important things they took with them.  My own ancestors traveled from Pennsylvania to this farm with their belongings in an ox cart and their cow tied on behind.  The story has been told that when they got settled in, the man of the family went to get supplies.  While he was gone, the cow gave birth to a calf and the woman had to build a fire to keep the wolves from taking the calf.
     Many of the families who were relocating had babies and small children and there were women expecting babies.  Naturally those pioneer women breast fed their babies, however just as happens today, some mothers had problems trying to breast feed.  In some very sad cases a mother might be lost due to illness or a problem with the birth.   There had to be something to feed the baby.  The milk from that dairy cow could be the difference between life and death.
     Baby formula was invented in 1865.  It consisted of cow’s milk, wheat, malt flour and potassium bicarbonate.  There was “dry nursing” which was using milk from cows, goats, donkeys and other animals.  Orphanages kept lactating goats and donkeys on site and fed infants directly from them. 
     Evaporated milk was first available in the 1920’s.  In the 1950’s and 1960’s it was widely used for feeding babies.  The recipe is available on the internet and requires 13 ounces of evaporated milk, 18 or 19 ounces of water and either two tablespoons of white sugar or one tablespoon of light Karo.  The sugar helps to break down the proteins in the evaporated milk.  It was recommended that babies be given vitamins.  “Pet” was a brand of evaporated milk used by mothers everywhere.  Many insisted on that brand and no other!  Not only did it feed and help raise many babies, millions of cases of evaporated milk were used to supply the need for milk for the armed forces of the United States in World War I.
     In 1954 W. D. Hoard, the founder of Hoard’s Dairyman, received a black and white photograph of the champion dairy cow of each breed shown at the National Dairy Cattle Congress held in Waterloo, Iowa.  The breeds were Brown Swiss, Jersey, Holstein, Ayrshire and Guernsey.  The photo was turned into a painting by Jim Baird, art director for Hoard’s Dairyman.  Later on the Milking Shorthorn would be added and in 2010 Bonnie Mohr was asked to do the fifth version of the painting and included the Red and White.  Copies of the painting appeared in many places.  W. D. Hoard commented, “The cow is the foster mother of the human race.  From the day of the ancient Hindoo to this time have the thoughts of men turned to this kindly and beneficent creature as one of the chief sustaining forces of human life”.  The title given the painting was “Foster Mothers of the Human Race”.
     I raised a daughter and two sons and I breast fed them.  My ability to “produce” was very good.  However, when a health problem and the necessity of medication forced me to stop breast feeding my oldest son, his bottle was filled with pure, whole milk from the bulk tank that was filled by my cows.  He grew up to be six foot two and over two hundred pounds.  To this day when he has blood work done and goes for his regular check-up his doctor looks at him and can’t understand why he doesn’t have health problems.  The second son grew to be six foot three and over two hundred pounds and still drinks lots of whole white and chocolate milk.   His size and a little “extra weight” saved his life in a farm accident a few years ago.  I always said if I had boys I wanted “big boys” and I got them.  Drinking lots of milk helped them grow!

     The shortage of baby formula is a major problem right now and mothers everywhere are worried.  I sincerely hope the problem is solved quickly.  Milk and dairy products are so important in the diets of people of every age and especially for children.  The whey and casein from milk are blended into numerous other products.  Do people ever stop to think about what those grocery store shelves would look like if there was no milk, no dairy products and no dairy farmers?  We keep losing dairy farmers every day!   The dairy cow really is the foster mother of the human race and so important!   Thank God for her and the dairy farmers who care for her!        
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