RVery Best Nest

Come join Joe, Mallery & I, as we travel around the USA in our RVery Best Nest. God's Favor has been chasing us down, and we are enjoying all of His blessing's, that He has created for all to enjoy!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Billings Farm & Museum, Woodstock, VT.

Wouldn't you know, we'd pick the hottest day to visit a working dairy farm.

The temperatures were in the high 90's on this day. These are jersey cows.

This is our schedule today on the farm. We didn't get there until 1:00, so our fist stop was at the cow barn.

The heat is unusual for this area. The summers here are usually in the high eighties. This guy  told us some information about Jersey dairy cow.


I asked him why the cow was so skinny. He told me, it was because they are not beef cows. They milk the cows for 9 months after their calves are born every year. All their energy is going to produce milk.

This is their biggest and best producing cow.

The female jersey cows spend most of their days inside when it is hot, under fans. They are let out at night when it has cooled down. The farm has about 80 cows.

While waiting for our 1:45 class, on "What happens to the milk", we went into the calf  nursery room. Calves stay in the nursery until they are 3 months old. Then they can go outside.

You can pet them, but you are not to let them lick you.

This calf was born 3 weeks early. 

After listening to the " What happens to the milk" session, in the trophy room, ( which was the hottest room as yet ), we walked into the horse barns. Joe stood by the Perchron Draft horses, Jim a 12 years old and Joe a 11 years old, ( Joe the horse is behind Jim). The barns are not air conditioned and it was extremely hot , and the flies were biting

We went outside to catch a breeze under a tree. The cows that are out in the field are either pregnant or too young to get bred yet.

Male Jersey cows are not worth anything unless they have a great pedigree, and will make great generations of Jersey cows. Then they will be kept until they can be sold off for breeding purposes. If they don't have high quality assets, they are sent to slaughter for dog food.

This is a sanitizing bag that you walk over to sanitize your shoes as you enter and leave the barn area.

Out in the field, there were two more draft horses. They are wearing their "Zorro" masks to keep the flies from biting their eye area.

We headed to the farm house for the 2:15 churning butter session.

Front of 1890 house.

At the back of the farm house, we found shade and a breeze. This is the restored farm house where the manager of the farm lived way back in the 1800's.

They sell ice cream on the back porch, so bring some money.

The milk was churned by hand in a butter churn for 30 minutes. The instructor let all the children take a turn. Then the instructor poured off  the milk fat from the butter. 

Then it was time to wash the butter.

I asked her why you had to wash the butter. She told us that if the milk fat is not washed off, the butter would spoil very quickly.

She poured clean water into the bowl of butter, and turned the butter in the water. Then she would pour off the milky water. She did this many times until the water ran clear.

After the butter was washed everyone got to taste fresh made butter on a cracker.

The butter turned out pretty good. She told us that the humidity can affect thickness of the butter. Even though it was very hot, our saving grace was that it has been relatively dry, so the humidity was low that day. We than took the farm house tour, which also is not air conditioned. The farm house was the home of the manager of the farm. The farm home was a pretty nice home for the 1890's. It had inside plumbing water, which was rare for that time.

At 3:15, it was back at the barn for " Introduction to Milking". Notice how big the udder is on the cow. 

The bar above the cow is to encourage her to not arch her back when she pooped. They want the cows to poop in a gutter that is below their bed area. While watching the milking procedure, several cows, lifted their tail and showed us how the bar work. Don't stand too close, because their poop is pretty watery and it sprays some.

This cow has been milked, and her udder is much smaller now.

We left the barn to go out to the sheep field. The day so far was interesting, and I learned I would not want dairy cows. They are too big and too much work! To be continued:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sugarbush Farm, Woodstock, VT.

After visiting Simon Pearce in Quechee we headed toward Sugarbush Farm in Woodstock. We followed the signs to Sugarbush and found ourselves on a long gravel road. For a while we wondered if we were on the right track.. Stick with the gravel road, because at the end of it, is Sugarbush Farm.

Here are Sugarbush Farm's, day's and hour's of operation.

Sugarbush sells maple syrup and dairy products. There is no charge to tour this farm.

As we left the parking lot, we were greeted by a young calf. I tried to get the calf to take a picture with me, but he/she resisted.

So I just snapped a picture of him/her alone.

They had several goats and chickens you could feed if you put a quarter in a bucket for a small sack of feed.

They also had a couple of horses you could say hi to.

This is a cowch! Get it?

In the sugar house there was a video of the farm operation's.

This post marked the snow levels of past winters.

February of 2003 was the worst year for snow here on the farm.

I got a better picture of the maple cooker in this picture, than I did when we visited Braggs Farm in Montpelier. You can see where the steam is channeled out the chimney of the cooker.

This is a picture of the inside of the maple sap cooker.

I thought this was a very interesting fact.

This table with the buckets and syrup was below the quiz. I don't think twice when I pay extra for that pure maple syrup anymore. It is definitely worth it to me now. 

A lot of people have visited this farm.

There has been a lot of overseas visitors also. We headed into the store for sample of their dairy and maple products. They have a young lady who presents the different cheese and syrups to you, as she explains them. After you get done with the cheese and syrup samples, you proceed into the store to sample jelly's, dips and sauces on your own. We bought a couple more cheeses packages, and a few jelly's and head out to the car.

Off from the parking lot, there is a trail that takes you to the Farm Chapel and Maple Walk.

This Chapel was constructed by one of the members of the family.

This sign was above the chapel door.

Most maple sap is collected from buckets that hang on the trees. But some of the trees are set up with tubing that catches the sap and is drained down to the sugar house. The Maple Walk, takes you amongst all the maple trees that produce the sap. We were getting a heat wave that week, so we skipped the walk.

We than drove into Woodstock and walked around the Woodstock Farmers Market. I was really impressed with this man's craft.

His pieces were very pretty and work intensive.

Galaxy Hill - Trees Reincarnate, By John Donaldson, 216 Galaxy Hill Rd. N. Pomfret, VT. 05053, (802) 457-3690.

 This bowl was $125.00, but very unique. If you like his work give him a call. Here is a link that may help you see more of his crafts. http://www.vermonthandcrafters.com/members/DisplayLarge.php?image=donaldsonLg.jpg&sort=0  The town of Woodstock was a cute little town with lots of interesting shops. I would have like to have visited them, but as I said before, the day was hot and we decided to head home.