I always like to write about the little things in life. The things that happen to people everyday and really aren’t life shattering or life altering in any way. And I especially like to write about little day trips and even crazy vacations. Today was a little day trip. Today we went to a dairy farm. And we had actually made it through the entire day without anyone mentioning the famous line from Twister “I gotta go, we got cows!” – until for some reason on the way home it seemed like a funny joke. That is Teagan’s all time favorite line from Twister so I’m shocked it didn’t pop out while being surrounded by 30,000 of them. That or “Cow…….. Another Cow.” I was a little disheartened that we didn’t use those lines today.
So the dairy farm we visited is Fair Oaks Farm in Winemac, IN. It is one of the largest family owned dairies in the nation – and it is HUGE! We started out in the restaurant where they sell sandwiches and cheese and ice cream. During the weekdays you can watch cheese being made there to. We then moved on to the Dairy Adventure and Barn Tour. Oh yeah I almost forgot, Teagan’s favorite part of the day was jumping on the giant bouncy pillow in “Mooville.” It’s good to be seven – giant dairy farm, 30,000 cows, 80 calves born per day, calf nursery, award winning cheese – and her favorite part was the giant bouncy pillow. There is a 3D/4D movie that tells you about the barn tour you’re going to take and about caring for the cows. Teagan was not a fan of the 4D part of the movie that blows air and mist at you. Actually on the way home she stated emphatically “I did NOT like that movie!”
We visited the Maternity barn next. Teagan was very excited…. she finally got to see how the babies get out of mommies belly’s. That has been a question she has asked since she was five and I’ve always told her it was something she could learn when she was older. Today she said “YES! I’m finally old enough to learn how the babies get out!” 80 calves born there per day…. and I missed every one. They actually have a stop light outside the maternity barn that lets you know the status of the births inside, red means nothing going on yet, yellow means with in 30 minutes and green means baby’s hooves are poking out. The last one I missed because a) Teagan was bored b) Teagan was grossed out c) Teagan suddenly had to pee d) all of the above. By the time we got back from the bathroom, the calf was out. But Dave took pictures……
On the dairy barn tour I sat with Dawson. Dawson was genuinely interested in everything we did today. He had paid attention during the movie and knew when we passed the big white plastic covered piles that they were the corn mash that the cows eat. He watched and listened very intently while we were touring the dairy barns. He took pictures of the baby calves we passed. I laughed when he asked if the occasional brown cow was how they got the chocolate milk. I don’t know if he was serious or not, but I like to pretend at 11 he’s still that naive. Then we got the milking barn where you watch in amazement as the cows go one by one in order onto this milking merry-go-round, a herdsman hooks up the milking machine, they ride in a circle, un hook and get off the milking merry-go-round and head back to their barn without anyone directing them or prodding them. I need a pet cow…. 3,500 lbs of cow minds better than 70 lbs of bulldog. I can’t even get the bulldog to go to his crate without “cookies” and love and a lot of shoving. I think I would like a pet dairy cow. Or maybe I just need to get a job at a dairy and learn how to train cows and bring that knowledge home to train the bulldog. Or maybe I should just face the reality….. bulldogs are not trainable.
Then we got to feel the pipe that leads the milk from the milking merry-go-round at 104 F (the temp it leaves the cow) though the 5 min process to the pipe that stores the milk at 34 F. The difference in the pipes was Dawson’s favorite thing. He was still talking about it at dinner.
Overall it was a pretty good trip. Relatively un-eventful for our family… there is usually some epic weather event or other near catastrophe that invades our little family outings. It’s almost scary this one went so well. Have to give 2 thumbs up to the “sweet swiss cheese” and the ice cream is TO DIE FOR! If you are traveling to/from Chicago you have to stop and get ice cream if the farm is open. It is by far, the best ice cream I’ve ever had (I feel like I’m cheating on Mrs. Curl). I told Dave that our trips to Chicago are getting longer and longer as we have to stop for hot dogs in Merriville and now have to stop of ice cream in Winemac. He asked why our stops all revolve around food.
Enjoy some chocolate milk from a brown cow if you can!