Monday, November 15, 2010

Dd is for Dairy Farm

To complement our study of the Letter Dd, we have been reading "Angus Lost" by Marjorie Flack.  Throughout this book, Angus, the little Scottish terrier, wonders where the milk man came from.  So today, we set out to answer that question.  We took the boys to a local dairy farm so they could see first hand where the milk man comes from.  The farmer told us to be there at 5:00pm for the milking, so Evan was excited and full of anticipation all day long.  He kept asking if it was almost time to go see the cows.  And for some reason, he kept saying that we were going to see snakes there too!  Fortunately, we did NOT!  When we arrived, we were greeted warmly by Kevin Wilkerson, the dairy farmer.  He is a 6th generation dairy farmer and they have worked the same homestead since (I believe he said) 1856.  His 14 year old son was helping him and told us that he planned to continue in the family business.  They currently have 45 cows that they are milking.  He milks them twice a day and each cow produces approximately 5 gallons of milk a day.  The milk is all pumped into a 500 gallon tank which is picked up every other day.  He told us that he sells the milk for $1.50 a gallon.  He said he couldn't understand why it was so much in the store!  He and his family just always drink the raw milk.  He said, contrary to popular belief, it won't hurt you!  He said that when the milk sits, the cream will separate to the top.  They take the "good stuff" (what he called it) and turn it into ice cream, cheese, cottage cheese, etc. and use the remaining milk on the bottom to actually make milk.  He said once they homogenize it, it will no longer separate like that.  He dipped a carton into the tank and filled it with some raw milk for us to bring home and try.  We were naturally a bit hesitant to try it, so we had the boys drink it first!!!  The whole way home, Evan kept saying he wanted to drink the milk the milk man had given us.  Both Evan and Alan downed it, so we went ahead and gave it a shot.  It really just tasted like milk, maybe just a little richer and thicker.  Adam said he actually liked it better.  The farmer told us that it was probably about the equivalent of 4% milk.  It was a really neat experience.  We read "Angus Lost" when we got home, and Evan had a whole new appreciation for the milk man!  There is a flip chart in his "Angus Lost" Lapbook that goes through the whole milk process.  We reviewed that and talked about what we had seen at the Dairy Farm.  It was very helpful that we had seen it all first.  It made it much easier for him to understand.  Evan glued little pictures of the process onto each step in the book.  It's so fun that we get to go on all of these field trips and create so many memories together as a family.  I know that he won't soon forget going to the Dairy Farm.  I'm so thankful that we are homeschooling our boys!

Farmer Kevin telling us all about the Dairy operation.

Evan checking out all the cows.

Changing the pump.

He said cows are just like people, some are more "endowed" than others and they all hang differently!

Looking at all the milk in the tank.  They had just picked it up earlier in the day so it wasn't very full.

Excited to get home to try "milk from the milk man."

Yummy milk!
Alan was a big fan too!

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