An important part of manhood has always been about having the competence to be effective in the world — having the breadth of skills, the savoir-faire, to handle any situation you find yourself in. With that in mind, each Sunday we’ll be republishing one of the illustrated guides from our archives, so you can hone your manly know-how week by week.
For most men and boys-soon-to-be-men, long gone are the days when milking a cow was a chore as common as doing the dishes. Now mostly done by high-tech machines at commercial dairies, the task of milking a cow by hand once brought farmers and their families into close bonds with the animals that helped to feed them every day. If you’re a city dweller, it’s unlikely you’ll come across a situation that demands you milk a cow, save for some post-apocalyptic future where healthy, milk-producing dairy cows are readily available, and you’re in desperate need of some ice cream. But that’s not the point. The point is, milking a cow by hand is a tradition deep-rooted in the blood of our agricultural ancestors and learning how to do it is as much about preserving that knowledge as it is about practicing it.