milk gap

milk gap n Also milking gap [milk(ing) + gap n 2 ] chiefly S Midl, esp sAppalachians Cf milk lot n

An opening in a pasture fence where cows are milked; a small pen associated with this opening in which cows are milked.

1875 Cincinnati Daily Times (OH) 25 Oct [3]/8, The best remedy to keep flies from bothering cows . . is to always keep a small tin-bucket of any strong grease hanging near the milk-gap, in the summer time, and a brush near it. After milking is done rub each cow with the brush. 1876 Arthur’s Illustr. Home Mag. 44.479/1 eTN, His mother was waiting for him at the milking gap, when he returned, pail in hand. 1884 Lenoir Topic (NC) 24 Dec [3/]3, He spoke to the girls at the milking gap and remarked that it was a bitter night to be traveling. 1894 Bee (Earlington KY) [3 May 3]/5, She gathers up the milking utensils, thrusts them into John’s unwilling hands and starts him to the milking-gap, where the cow is on the rampage, from being kept from her calf so long. 1926 Indianapolis Sun. Star (IN) 19 Sept [sec 7 6]/1 cwIN, I have a big black cat. His name is Tom. . . Every morning he is down to the milk-gap waiting for his milk. 1937 Hall Coll. eTN, Milk gap. . . A place where cows are penned for milking. 1938 Stuart Dark Hills 58 neKY, I told her my plans at the milk gap every evening after spring came on and the cows were turned out on the grass. 1946 PADS 5.30 swVA, Milk gap . . : Pen for cows; in the southern part of the Blue Ridge. 1949 Kurath Word Geog. 36, One of the striking South Midland innovations is the term milk gap, milking gap . . for a rail enclosure where the cows are milked. We find it in Western North Carolina and Virginia (south of the James), and in all of West Virginia except the upper reaches of the Potomac and the counties bordering on the Ohio north of the mouth of the Kanawha. 1952 Brown NC Folkl. 1.565, Milk-gap. . . The gap through which cows and calves pass at milking time.—West. 1954 Johnson City Press–Chronicle (TN) 2 Aug 8/6, Relief, N. C.—Two cows belonging to Clate Peterson . . returned to the milking gap a few days ago with their antique bells missing. 1966 Dakin Dial. Vocab. Ohio R. Valley 2.90, Milk lot appears along the Ohio below the Muskingum and in the southern Mountains, but is greatly outnumbered in these same regions by the distinctive South Midland milk(ing) gap. This latter term is almost invariably milk gap in the [Ohio R.] Valley. . . Milk gap . . is used by almost every informant in the eastern Knobs and Mountains [of KY] from the upper reaches of the Licking River to the Tennessee-Virginia boundaries. Ibid 91, The milk gap is typically a small enclosure constructed of rails and frequently described as “out in the pasture,” “in the corner of a field,” etc., although it can also be near the barn. . . Some unquestionably use this term not as a name for the entire enclosure but only for the gate or the place where the rails let down—that is, where cows enter the cow lot . . to be milked. 1967 Faries Word Geog. MO 77, The Appalachian and the Blue Ridge expressions milk gap and milking gap muster only thirty-four and five occurrences respectively [out of 700 infs], these occurring mostly in the Ozark Highland area. 1968 DARE FW Addit VA14, Milking gap—the place in the pasture or barn lot where the women found it most convenient to milk the cows. 1974 Sunday Oklahoman (Oklahoma City OK) 20 Oct mag sec [20]/ AR, There was a small corral, or milk-gap, a rail-fenced lot on a hillside, where a few cows were brought up each evening for milking. The custom was to keep the calves inside the lot during the night, separated from their mothers. a1975 Lunsford It Used to Be 165 sAppalachians, “Milkgap” is the place where the milkmaid goes to let down the fence. She lets down the bars of whatever gap it might be to let the little calves in to the cows so they can get their part of the milk first before she milks. She lets them go in and stay until they get what milk they’re allowed to have, which would be half in each case. Then they are turned back, the gap is closed up, and the milkmaid milks the cows. 1982 Ginns Snowbird Gravy 171 nwNC, You know, there aren’t many people that know what a milk gap is. It’s a kind of a fenced in little place. Maybe the cows are all in the pasture, and you call ’em in to milk ’em. And you get ’em in this little corral and feed them and milk them, you know. 1983 MJLF 9.1.47 ceKY, Milk gap . . a rail enclosure alongside a fence, where cows are milked. 1986 Pederson LAGS Concordance (Place where cows are staked or penned for milking) 15 infs, esp eTN, Milk gap [4 infs say they have only heard this term.]; 1 inf, neTN, Milk gap—a barred corner of the field; 1 inf, ceTN, Milk gap—down at the slip bars; 1 inf, cnAL, Milk gap—has heard; not a pen; crossing at a ditch; 1 inf, cwMS, Milk gap—a sort of gate between pen and pasture; 1 inf, neTN, Milking gap. 1999 Morgan Gap Creek 79 wNC (as of 19th cent), My brother Russ and me was setting on the milkgap waiting for Pa to come back from mill.