Ginger’s Guernseys

gingerrogers_rogueriverranch_milkbottle_1940s_frontWednesday, July 16, 2014 — 4:00 am — This was just announced for sale on the TCM website … “OFFICIAL Ginger Rogers Milk Bottle – This rare Rogers artifact features the logo from the Rogers’ Rogue River Ranch dairy, Ginger’s expansive hideaway from Hollywood. This rare item even comes with a Certificate of Authenticity. The 4R Dairy, Medford, Oregon, owned and operated by Miss Rogers in the 1940s, served Guernsey milk to the Southern Oregon community as well as the local U.S. Army camp in these genuine Duraglas quart milk bottles.”

The price of milk has gone up! … One of Ginger’s certified for authenticity bottles is $99 … without the lovely Guernsey milk … I do have a soft spot for GuernseysMy 4-H dairy calf was a Guernsey heifer, Java Jive. Early 1960s. Tillamook, Oregon … Those were the days when Jerseys and Guernseys were everywhere … Now, Tillamook is a black and white landscape of Holsteins … They produce a lot more milk, but not as rich …

Here are the back of the bottle and certificate of authenticity:

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On back of bottle – “Golden Guernsey (Trade Mark), America’s Table Milk”

How’s this for serendipity … A few days earlier, I was thinking about the March 2, 1942 Life article about Ginger and her Oregon ranch, with Ginger on the cover in fishing gear … the magazine is in my trunk of treasures … Planning to add it to my Pinterest Classic Movies board, found it in (again) books.google.com’s Life collection … Hey, google’s doing something right!
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“On her ranch-house roof, Ginger surveys the lovely Rogue River Valley in southern Oregon where she owns more than 1,000 acres. It takes Ginger 15 hours to drive here from Hollywood, but she goes there often for a taste of honest country life. The produce of “4R” (Rogers’ Rogue River Ranch) includes corn, wheat, oats, pears, plums. Mrs. Rogers, who lives here permanently, cooks and cans with great success.”

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“Ginger feeds wild flowers to one of her 22 cows that will soon help to provide good rich milk to a cantonment of soldiers stationed near the Rogers’ ranch at Eagle Point, Ore.”

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“Leaning on the fence are Ginger, her mother (right) and their farm manager watching the cattle at dinnertime.” Looking at the camera, a Jersey and a Guernsey!

A comparison of dairy breeds from Spirited Rose Farm, Goal: Happy, Healthy Family Dairy Cows … Guernsey’s are …

  • The closest relative to the Jersey cow.
  • The Guernsey cow was prized as a milk cow in the early to mid 1900s for her easy personality and creamy yellow “Golden Guernsey” milk.
  • Popular for hand-milking.
  • As dairies became more commercial, the Guernsey did not have the stamina to compete like other breeds did, and their numbers, proportionally, have drastically declined in dairy herds.
  • The Guernsey makes a good family cow and her history is that of being a good cow for a small herd.
  • They are few in number, only a few farms across the U.S. are still 100% Guernsey. As they are hard to come by, the price of Guernsey’s can be quite high as people compete to buy what few are available.
  • Very few bulls in A.I. for selection. Limits genetics.

I’m glad I was around when Guernsey’s were still a common sight!

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Feeding Java Jive … with Wendy and Russ, East Beaver Creek, Oregon, 1962

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Tillamook Country Fair, August 1962 … Guernsey heifers … Java Jive, far right … I was the only girl in the ring with 7 boys! … We won 3rd in Showmanship … (Larry Walker, facing camera)

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