Along the Lakeshore: April 10

Lots of ducks, the Loveless family, local cow milk

This has been a week of ducks. We had a basic flock of scaup — 20 to 60 at a time, sometimes dwindling down to 20 to 30 and then increasing again. We had 10 to 30 ring-necked ducks, five to 20 redheads, four twenty buffleheads, and a stranger which was identified as an American widgeon.

They have been ranging up-and-down our cove and they seem to hang out where Loveless Creek comes in, just north of our floating dock. The deep divers like mergansers and buffleheads will work on the perch bed south of our dock. An occasional goose, or 12, like to spend the night close to shore and are usually on their way to feed or travel by 8 a.m.

Mr. Lemon running, around on his morning break, doesn’t seem to faze the ducks at all. Occasionally something will get them excited and some will zoom off and then come back. We call this area Bentley Cove, as the land was Bentley land in the 1800s and the Loveless family married into the Bentley family.

When I was a youngster, 10 to 15 years of age, I spent time on the Loveless farm. Harold was the farmer and Gaylord was a junior or senior at Skaneateles High School. Gaylord had attended the octagon schoolhouse as a grade school.

I recall riding with Gaylord to the high school agriculture lab to do a butter fat test on a sample of their brown cow milk. Along the way we encountered some local girls, friends of the driver. Soon they were sitting in the Model A Coupe and I was riding on the running board with my head and shoulders in the window.

I remember very little about the test of the milk. The milk was treated with some kind of chemical acid (I think) and eventually we had a clear yellow fluid in the glass column which I believe was butterfat. The gradations on the column related to the percentage of butterfat.

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