Some days blogging is so worth it just because I get to crack myself up by titling my post about our trip to the dairy farm “Holy Cow.” Ha ha ha ha ha! Seriously. Do you guys understand how goddamn funny I am?
Today was Camp Stimey’s First Meet-up! Thanks to the intrepid Laurie, who was game enough to drive a million miles out of her way to feed a calf. But that’s later. First comes the hours we spent watching cows get milked, then walking across the street to take kids to the porta-potty, then trips back to watch the cows get milked, and then the ice cream we ate (yum), rinse, lather, repeat.
We went to the South Mountain Creamery today, which is a straight-up working dairy farm that lets small children wander around and gaze at extremely ugly adult cows.
But it is fascinating. They march the cows in, hook ’em up and let them eat out of a trough while the machines whir away, collecting their milk. Then, once the cows are milked, the trough lifts up, the farm workers yell obscenities at the cows to make them leave, and a new batch wanders in.
Jack was absolutely entranced by this whole process. He loves big animals—or, rather, animals in general—as well as mazes and machinery, so this set up with the cows going through their passages and getting milked was right up his alley.
Quinn was a good sport about the whole thing too, willing to sit and watch Jack watch the cows. Things got even better once a fly landed on his hand and he had a new friend to inspect.
That particular fly sat on Quinn’s hand for several minutes. When we went inside the market to ask about a bathroom, Quinn carefully held his hand still as he walked so as not to disturb the fly and asked, “Can I bring him in with me?” Still later, when we were piling into the car to leave, he’d befriended another fly, whom he wanted to bring home with him.
Sam not only got bored much sooner than Jack, but he was less of a trooper about just hanging out. Happily, I’d remembered to bring his book.
The milking barn wasn’t the only thing to see on the farm, however. There was also a baby cow barn. It turns out that there are a lot of very adorable things to see on a dairy farm:
There are also some decidedly UN-cute things on a farm. Like adult pigs.
I gotta tell you, I am really glad I’m not a mother pig. (Keep your smart-ass comments to yourself.)
According to the 8-year-old farm kid I tried to get a bunch of information from, about six calves are born every day on this farm. The best part about that is that at 4 p.m. every day, the public can help feed the (semi-belligerent) calves.
Feeding the calves was harder than it looked. You had to get the bottle at the correct angle and contend with the fact that the calves tried to head butt you if you got too close.
Laurie super stepped up at this activity. Check out her multitasking abilities.
Quinn gave up and I had to feed his calf and mine at the same time, because once you started with a bottle, those calves were really agitated if you tried to put it down. Quinn quit partly because he got milk all over his hands and was very distressed because of it.
Jack’s cow was a little bit of a jackass and his bottle seemed faulty and hard to feed with. Jack, Laurie, and I all tried to feed this poor angry animal (born July 5, if you can believe it). I finally managed to help him finish off the bottle long after all my kids had wandered off to the nearby slide/play area.
This was the play area in question. Laurie and I were chatting in the barn when Sam came up to us with the question, “Guess how Jack got hurt?”
Concerned with other things than the “how,” I asked if he was okay. Sam reported that he was crying. I asked what happened and Sam told us that he was stung by a bee. (You may remember that Sam was stung yesterday. Evidently I should stop taking my kids to farms. They’re bee magnets. Also? It looks like Quinn is due tomorrow. Watch out, Quinn!)
I asked Sam if Jack was still breathing, because I had no idea if Jack is allergic to bee stings, but then I remembered that he was crying, so we went to give Jack hugs. Jack was pretty upset and insisted that we put mud on the sting. I’m not sure quite where he came up with that particular folk remedy, but after we sacrificed the last of our water to create mud and slather it on Jack’s bite, he seemed okay.
We headed back to the market to buy dairy-related products and to force Laurie to watch the cows being milked. As part of Where Does Our Food Come From Week, it seemed important to buy some milk.
Thus concludes Week Two of Camp Stimey 2010. All I can say is that I am exhausted and smell a lot like cow.