National Milk Day on Jan. 11 commemorates the day the first milk deliveries in glass bottles began in the United States. National Day Calendar says Alexander Campbell of the New York Dairy Co. told the New York State Senate that his company was the first to make these deliveries 1878.

The United States and Australia export more milk and milk products than any other countries. Those products include cheese, yogurt, ice cream, butter, cream, powdered milk and much more.

The females of all mammal species can, by definition, produce milk. However, cow milk dominates commercial production. In 2011, it was estimated cows produced 85% of all milk worldwide, leaving 15% of the milk contributed by other mammals, including buffalo, goats, sheep, camels, donkeys, horses, reindeer and yak. Throughout the world, more than six billion people consume milk and the products we make from it. One of the reasons is because milk provides nutrients such as calcium, potassium, vitamin B12 and vitamin A.

During the Middle Ages, people called milk the virtuous white liquor because alcoholic beverages were more reliable than water. In 1863, French chemist and biologist Louis Pasteur made it possible for milk and other food and drinks to be stored for longer periods; he developed a method of killing harmful bacteria that is now called pasteurization.

In 1884, an American doctor, Hervey Thatcher of New York City, developed the first modern glass milk bottle; he called it the “Thatcher’s Common Sense Milk Jar.” He used a waxed paper disk to seal the milk in the glass bottle. Later, in 1932, Victor W. Farris invented plastic coated milk cartons that were introduced commercially.

Now that we have the technology to pasteurize and deliver fresh milk to homes, stores and processing facilities across the country, this most basic type of dairy is more accessible than ever before. By today’s standards, according to National Today, milk with its nine essential nutrients is considered a staple food, technically able to support human life without addition of any other food groups to balance it out. (Other life-supporting foods include sourdough bread, chicken eggs, red beans and, surprisingly, beer!) For National Milk Day, I invite you to join me in celebrating the oldest and arguably the most natural food for all the mammals of the world — milk.

This last storm was a doozy. Living on a hill has its advantages when storms come. There may be lots of water puddles but very little flooding. However, when it is windy, the wind comes right up the hill and blows like crazy. Our place had three trees down, multiple branches spread all over, and scattered garbage cans and flowerpots. The worst part: The power went out. Ugh! Down the way, a tree fell on the power lines. Fortunately, we have a fireplace to keep warm and a generator to keep the food from spoiling. And our phones work.

Do you know what does my heart good? To see the outdoor lights continue sparkling through all these storms and rain. Although the Epiphany or Three Kings Day, Jan. 6, has past, it is considered the last official day of the Christmas season, the final part of the celebration of Jesus’ birth with the arrival of the Magi to Bethlehem bringing gifts of frankincense, gold, and myrrh. However, that day has passed and, no matter how much I would like to have the lights on year-round, there are those who want to proceed to the next holiday or season.

The first three-day weekend of 2023 is coming up Monday, Jan. 16 — Martin Luther King Jr. Day (observance). Schools will be closed, as well as federal, state and local offices. It is a great opportunity to remove and store all the Christmas and New Year decorations. However, I do know of some people who are planning to use the red and white lights for Valentine’s Day, and why not? The homes look happy. And who doesn’t like happy?

Speaking of happy, we have tulips peeking through the soil and the cyclamen is about to bloom. And that really makes me happy. I love tulips, cyclamen, daffodils and paper whites. They assure me that winter will be over eventually and spring is on its way.

And can you believe this? I was asked how many shopping days until Christmas! I think they were trying to tease me a bit, but hey, I got this: 347 days. Doesn’t that just make you want to jump up and start shopping? LOL. Yes, I’m not feeling it either.

Recipe for the day: Any flavor of a milkshake

Flower of the day: Cyclamen

Dates to remember:

Jan. 16 — Martin Luther King Jr. Day (observance)

Feb. 2 — Groundhog Day

Feb. 14 — Valentine’s Day

Feb. 17-20 — four-day weekend, high schools closed

Feb. 20 — Presidents Day

Feb. 22 — Ash Wednesday

Until next week — be strong, be courageous and make a memory.