Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Day on the Farm

ONCE again the weather threw us a curveball. A planned day on the farm filled my head with dreamy thoughts of children skipping around barefoot among the lambs, full of the joy of spring... then I checked the forecast and landed back on earth with a thump. Despite the freezing temperatures, our tour of a local dairy farm was informative and fun. We saw the shed where cows had been milked since the 1920s, at 4:00 AM and 4:00 PM every single day. That's quite a commitment. Though of course electric pumps are now utilised, each teat (four per cow) is washed with water, wiped dry, sanitised twice, a little milk expressed, attached to the pump, detached from the pump and then swabbed with iodine. All by hand. How amazing to find that these days. Emma was quite intrigued by the similarities to human breastfeeding, and caused a few smiles with innocent questions and comments that only a child can get away with.

After the horror stories that abound about battery farming, the chicken shed was another breath of fresh air (well, country air). Around 200 chickens had a total of seven acres to roam in! They were huddled in the shed for warmth when we visited, but could come and go outside and eat grass whenever they pleased.

Our picnic was thwarted by the cold, but we still managed to pet some more baby farm animals before dashing off for a hot drink. But the real benefit of the visit was being able to show Emma the supply chain by buying some milk and eggs at the farm store, then taking them home to cook for our dinner. How many city children don't know where these things come from?

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