Sunday, May 4, 2014

A dairy farm experience in the Crags

A holiday experience can be made up of anything and for our Easter long weekend Sho't Left to the Crags and Natures Valley we were expecting it to be made up of camping, swimming in the Natures valley lagoon, walks and Geocaching.  Little did we expect a farm experience that got the KidZ a lot more excited than any of the mentioned activities.  The campsite was situated across the road from the Natures Way Farmstall which on its turn is located on a working dairy farm.  The farm milks Jersey cows twice a day and every morning and afternoon the cows are herded past the campsite to the milking shed and then back again to the meadows where they spend the rest of their time.

The Tsitsikamma Sunrise Caravan Park where we stayed had on their website that you can go and see how the cows get milked across the road at the farm stall.  Little did we know that its not just one or two cows but close to 200 of them.  On our first morning there we went to find out what time they milk and were told 4pm to 6pm.  This meant that the KidZ were watch watching all day long and made sure we were back in time from the beach to go and see the cows.  Not just was it the KidZ first time in a commercial dairy but also my own.  I was snapping pictures and asking questions while trying to stay out the workers' way best I could to allow them to continue with their work.  After a while one of the workers called the KidZ over and showed them how the machines worked.  They even got to try their own hands at milking and Drama Princess got to put the milking machine on one of the cows. WOW! And there I thought we may just get to have a peek before being asked to leave.  Kudos to these workers to take time out in between doing their job to show these city folk what they do even if they don't have to.

We were barely out the milking shed and the farm's foreman went past with a buck bucket full of milk for the calves.  Before we could say a word the KidZ were off after him to give a hand and he didn't complain because it meant he could stand back and let the KidZ do their thing.  The feeding process is a bit more "advanced" than standing with bottles but on the other hand its designed for one person to feed a couple of calves at a time.  While the KidZ were busing the foreman explained to us the whole process of rearing calves, when they get weened from milk and where the go when they get a bit older.  In addition to all of this we also got to see a calf being born on our last afternoon there and all in all this accumulates and contributed to a much more memorable holiday than just hikes, Geocaching and swimming.

1 comment:

  1. Guess I should have asked for that tour. Drank their milk and ate their cheese.

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