Field Trip #1

Sorry for the silence here.  We had a whirlwind weekend of field trips and fun, not to mention the long drive home.  Yesterday I called a “Teacher Inventory Day” to finish preparing all the things Trooper would need to officially begin his school year today.  Rascal, who does not need to be in school for 180 days quite yet, will officially start a little later.

Our trip to Fair Oaks Farms was quite interesting.  Apparently it consists of five farming families who began this dairy empire of 30,000 cows up in Northern Indiana.  The main complex that you see when you enter houses a 3D movie gallery (which we didn’t see), some hands-on games and fun facts about dairy (which we did see), and the line for the bus tour.  Outside is a huge jumping pillow (the boys would still be there if they could), a rock climbing wall shaped like a milk bottle, a small ride in train, and some John Deere ride-on toys.  There is also a birthing barn where you can watch a cow birth her calf and in a separate barn, the restaurant and gift shop.

The bus tour takes you to the cow barns and the milking parlor.  The latter is pretty amazing.  I mean, have you seen anything like this?

Up to 72 cows on a milking carousel--their 7 minute joyride of the day

Up to 72 cows on a milking carousel--their 7 minute joyride of the day

It was very interesting.  All the boys got a good look at the rotating cow circle.  Princess could have cared less.  It was going on lunchtime and she wanted me to know she would like the Cheerios stashed away in my bag.  Sometimes I think she’s a hobbit.

I need one of these in my kitchen.

I need one of these in my kitchen.

After the bus tour ended with a return to the main barns, we attempted to eat in between rounds of watching the boys take flight on the jumping pillow.

Haus Meister and Trooper get some air time on the jumping pillow (earlier in the day--at lunch there were 20 other kids contending for space)

Haus Meister and Trooper get some air time on the jumping pillow (earlier in the day--at lunch there were 20 other kids contending for space)

I also broke most of my toy-purchasing rules by acquiring a pair of “stress-reliever” cows.  Let me tell you, these poor things have had more of a stressful existence than any soft foam squeezable toy needs.  For instance, someone decided to find out whether a cow could stand without three legs.  Had I seen that one coming, these might have stayed in the basket located oh so convienently beside the restaurant cash register.  Then again, maybe not.  They are pretty cute.

Cute, doomed little souvenir bovines

Cute, doomed little souvenir bovines

So, we learned that calves at birth weigh upwards of 82+ pounds (not something a pregnant mom needed to hear); that the milking carousels run in seven hour shifts (with something like 4000 cows per carousel milked in a shift) with one hour in between for sanitizing; that cows pick up very quickly on routines; that a cow can give up to ten gallons of milk every day; that Trooper and Princess do not like lecture-style teaching sessions; that Dinosaur will hold his own against twenty fellow jumpers on a jumping pillow–until he’s stampeded; and foam cows last 48 hours in one piece.

Yep, that’s pretty good for one field trip.

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