August 25, 2012
Our friends, the VanderPols, invited us down to their family's dairy farm for a homeschool field trip. We got in the spirit and dressed up for the event. I can't miss a good costume opportunity.
First, we visited the stinky part of our tour, where the cattle are fed and sorted by herd, ready to be milked. They stand in sand and eat a nutritious granola/hay mixture.
After the cows leave to go into the barn, the "river" comes to wash away all the cow wastes. This is even stinkier!
The sand and waste is taken away by the water and sorted and recycled! They reuse all the sand, water and waste in the corral, "river"and fields. The main reason we wanted to tour this farm is because they use all of the methane gas from the cows' waste to run a generator that produces electricity! Isn't that cool!
Berg thought it was. And we all thought he looked so cool in his cowboy getup. I love that he leaves hats on!
Calf bottles are huge! But Pella was ready to try it! We didn't let her though, because the calves are fed the milk from the cows with colds or mastitis, because their milk is fine, but can't be sold to people.
Here's our whole herd waiting to go into the parlor to see the cows be milked. (I didn't know that's what a parlor was until that day.)
In the parlor, in between rows of cows being milked, we felt the suction power of the vacuum tubes that go on the cow's utters.
We took a picnic break for lunch on the lady above's most beautiful lawn and garden. Every detail of the garden was perfect! I could've stayed and admired it for a long time!
After lunch, we drove about a half mile down the road (it was a big farm) to the labor and delivery ward. We had missed a birth by about 20 minutes! If I didn't take so long looking at the garden, we would've made it! While everyone was watching the newly born calf and mama, Berg was in heaven with the hay.
And Eben found the joy of sticking it in your mouth, good thing they used really fresh hay.
My favorite part was feeding the baby calves! There were rows and rows of baby calves. They usually just stick the big bottle in that black square hole in the calf's white dome and they drink it on their own. If they had to hand feed them all, it would take all day. Berg helped take the empty bottles to the wagon. I don't think he could lift it if it was full.
Some of the new little babies had a harder time so we were able to help them out.
This little guy had a really hard time, so we got in the dome with him and fed him. I will always be a farm girl at heart! We will need to do more of these hands-on type field trips in the future to satisfy my worldly, want to be a country girl, whims. Oh ya, and teach the kids some stuff.