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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Dairy Farm

So, Tuesday, brought us on Elizabeth's second class field trip of the week....a Dutch Dairy Farm in the town of Zuidwolde.:) (Two field trips in one week with parent volunteers as drivers would NEVER happen in the U.S....just another thing I love about the philosophy of education for primary grades here.)  In between the larger cities in The Netherlands, the Dutch countryside is dotted with farmhouses and livestock.  Today, I drove a few of her classmates along with other parent volunteers to get to learn more about a working dairy farm in Holland.:)

my friend, Samuel:)

Marion runs the farm along with her husband and children.  Her parents ran it before her.

 She explained that the cows have the choice of whether they want to stay inside the barn our go out to the pasture.  There is a huge garage door like opening into the barn leading out to the pasture.  Their philosophy is a happy cow will make great milk.:)

Lely Astronaut..cow waiting patiently for her turn to be milked.:)
The Lely Astronaut is the milking machine the farmers use to milk the cows.  It is a computerized robot which is able to keep track of which cows have been milked and how often they have been milked.  A cow can't be milked more than 3 times in a 24 hour time period.  They get to eat while they are being milked and Marion explained that some cows love to be milked while others have to be brought into be milked.  It is amazing to watch the cows "line up" by the milking machine and patiently wait their turn!:)  The laser beams in the robot match the milking devices perfectly to each cow's udders, and the milking process begins! When one cow comes out, the next one goes in...all on their own!!:)
cows in the pasture

Mother cow and calves in the barn

baby calf

Milk coming from the milking machine...the sound is very reminiscent of  the pumping machine I used after Elizabeth was born!!! LOL!

Whey skimmed from the top of the milk and fed to the baby calves.
 They also have sheep on this farm as well. I love to see the baby cute!  As an American, i don't usually see to many sheep in the US., and seeing all the baby lambs in the fields during the spring has become something I have really enjoyed seeing while living here.:)

Cow selfie with one of my dear friends here:)

Tidying up the barn

Farmer Lizzy:)

"trying" to milk a cow.  it isn't as easy as it looks!:)

It was a great hands on experience for the children to see how a dairy farm actually operates.  This particular farm has 150 cows on it and it is running 24 hours a day seven days a week.  There is actually an open farm weekend this coming weekend in which five farms are having an open house for everyone to come and tour the farms.  Holland is second only to the US in its export of agricultural products. I had no idea! For more information, click here.   I am so glad I got to visit a real Dutch farm and peek into this part of Dutch life.:)


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