It has been some time since my last post, but life seems to have been busy lately and with the days being longer I find that we take advantage of all the daylight to get things done around here, so computer time has been at a minimum.
Anyway, our daughter, Hilary, was here for a few weeks visit recently and I thought I would say a few things about that. We were very glad to see her again especially the two wee ones. Spending time with their big sister “Ha Ha” is one of their favorite things to do.
It seemed that her visit had some common elements to it. We visited a pig farm where the pigs are free range and happy, another small farm where there were new baby lambs to fondle and a dairy operation. So, a country theme.
The visit to the new baby lambs is the subject of this post. We went to see some friends in Moncontour as they mentioned they had a number of new lambs. In addition there is a dairy operation next to their property which is rather interesting. Before we had tea, it was suggested that as there was no milk that we go next door and get some.
This dairy farm is fully automated – yes, there are no human hands milking the cows. A machine does it! The cows actually line up when they want to get milked – a gate opens, a cow steps onto a mat, gets weighed and recorded (I think they have UPC markings in their ears or something) and a big arm swings in, washes the utter and then infra-red lights guide the “milkers” onto the teats and Voila, instant milk. The cows are happier because they get milked when they want to (not when the farmer thinks they should be), their yeild is higher because they get milked about 3 times a day rather than 2 and the farmer is happy because he has some time to do other things. The milking robot is hooked up to a cell phone so that if there is a problem, the machine calls the farmer.
When the cow steps onto the mat, a small snack gets dispensed to them so they can eat whilst getting milked. And for those crafty cows that go around again through the queue just to get more snack, the computer can tell by the weight that it is not ready to be milked again and “kicks” it out with no snack. We were told that it took about 24 hours to train the cows to line up and go through the gates to get milked and fed.
So, getting milk for tea never seemed so interesting before – who needs a Macs Milk when you have a farm beside you.
And not to leave out the reason for the visit, below is a picture the baby lambs we came to see and of Tammy the pig.