The past week here in Central California has been a hot one! We have seen quite a few days reach in 105* and higher... but the fact that the A/C unit in our house is not working has made it even worse. We've been spending more time outside in the water and less time inside, especially on the days when it reached 91* Inside the house! Needless to say, I have not done a very good job of sharing June is Dairy Month with you! I apologize, and with today in the mid 80's, a cool breeze coming through the window, and the heat not interfering with my wireless connection... I am here to share our exciting morning with you!
This morning, we welcomed my niece's preschool class to the dairy, to meet our calves and learn where their milk and other dairy products come from. Clayton and Cole were more than excited to show the kids around!
Visiting our nursery area is a hit anytime we have visitors! Today the kids were lucky to see a brand new baby calf being fed her first bottle. They also enjoyed feeling the sticky molasses in the calf grain and feeding the a little to the calf of their choice.
Farmer Chris explained that this pile of rolled corn used to look like corn-on-the-cob, "they got it really hot, and smashed it like this!"
As we walked through the freestall barn, the cows were intrigued by their little visitors. When the misters turned on, the kids got a kick out of watching the cows stand under the sprinkler!
As we came out of the barn, the separator was running and we had the opportunity to show one of the many recycling processes that take place here on the dairy. They also got a close look at one of our tractors.
For the final portion of the tour, we split the group in two... half went to see the cows in the milking barn and the other half had a chance to identify a variety of dairy products. Thanks to the ladies over at Two Maids a Milking, we added a new visual to our tour! To explain daily production in pounds, as measured by dairy producers, or even gallons, as customers are accustomed to, it can still be difficult to grasp just how much milk we're talking about.
When there are 8 empty milk jugs sitting there in front of you, it's hard not to see how much milk is produced per cow, per day! While the average dairy cow will produce between 8 and 9 gallons of milk per day, Farmer Chris noted that today our cows are producing 9.2 gallons of milk, per cow, per day. In dairy terms, that equals 79.12 pounds of milk per day, per cow. Got Milk?
After we counted the milk jugs, the kids had a chance to identify dairy products from non-dairy products... sour cream, cream cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, butter among Ritz crackers, eggs and cranberry juice!
Just before we sat down for a picnic lunch, the kids got to see a brand new baby calf be born! They were so excitied!
Before we ate, it was time to wash up... always wash your hands after petting animals on the farm!
A picnic lunch on the grass was the perfect time to identify dairy products in their lunches - cheese and yogurt. Then strawberry ice cream cups with Farmer Chris!
Each of the kids went home with a goody bag curtesy of the California Milk Advisory Board, filled with coloring books, coupons, pencils, cups, chocolate straws and a water color activity. We really enjoyed our little visitors today!