Welcome to another Monday, dear reader. It was a busy weekend for us. We opened our market season at The Ligonier Country Market on Saturday. Thank you to everyone who braved the rain and came out to support us and our favorite farmer’s market. It is always a good day at Ligonier Country Market. We were so happy to see some well-loved faces and meet new ones.
On Sunday, we delivered Tiny Tim and Joy to their new family. A wonderful local family made Joy and Timmy part of their farm family. At least five children and as many adults were waiting to welcome the babies to their new home. I smiled when I saw the welcoming committee. I told The Bean and The Bibbed Wonder that I was sure these two special goat kids would have a good home with the Pollock family. Seeing so many people excited about two baby goats made my heart smile.
The Pollocks are dairy farmers. Their farm has been in their family for several generations. I love that our babies are going to be part of this legacy. I teased the children and told them we would convert them to goat farming. One serious and knowledgeable young man informed me they would be dairy AND goat farmers. While the Pollocks fussed over our baby goats, we were enamored with their baby calves. I have never seen such beautiful little creatures. They were gleaming white with large black spots and the most beautiful, soulful eyes. It makes me want a dairy cow for our family, but I know my bib overalled nay-saying fuzzy bottoms will shoot down that idea before I can even wholly form a sentence expressing said want for a baby cow.
The Pollock family generously offered to give us a tour of their milking facility. To say we were impressed is the understatement of the year. The Pollocks have a milking robot, and what an amazing advancement in farming. The technology that went into this creation is nothing short of miraculous. The cows wander into the milking parlor whenever they feel the need to be milked or want a snack. The machine can detect if a cow was milked too recently or isn’t ready to be milked. If the cow does not need to be milked, no treats are given, the shoot is opened, and the cow walks out. If the cow needs milked, the robot drops feed, cleans her udders, milks her, disinfects her teats when the milking is done, and the cow walks out.
This robot does so much more than just milk. The cows wear a collar with readable chips in them. The robot scans the chip, records the cows’ information, weighs the milk, monitors their health and nutritional needs, and keeps track of their lactation cycle. The robot can detect illness from the temperature of the milk and sends an alert to Carl’s phone, communicating that cow #xyz should be monitored for illness. Not only can it detect if mastitis is forming, but it can also communicate which teat is infected. It is awe-inspiring.
I asked if they (the farmers) feel disconnected from their animals without laying hands on them daily. The answer was quite the opposite. If anything, they feel more connected to them because they are able to spend more quality time with them, monitor them more closely, and maintain their overall health more effectively. From just looking at the cows, one can see they are well taken care of and healthy. Everyone was clean, friendly, and curious about the new visitors. The milking parlor was practically spotless, and the holding area for the girls was cleaned with a robot that squeegees the floor on a regular cycle.
What truly impressed me was how knowledgeable the children were about the entire process. There are two girls around Jordan’s age, a boy a few years younger and two other girls considerably younger. Each of the kids could explain the ins and outs of the milking process, what the robot can do, how to read the data on the robot, and how to monitor the cows’ production and health. All children have strengths, but farm children never fail to impress me with their knowledge, abilities, maturity, responsibility, and work ethic. We are blessed to have met such a wonderful family with such great kids. We appreciate the time they took to show us their facility, introduce us to their cows, and welcome our baby goats to their farm family.
The Bean thinks we need a milking robot and about forty more goats. Although impressed with the technology, milking up to ten ladies is more than enough for this family. We would have to grow, expand, and increase production to justify that kind of splurge on technology. I told The Bean she could make that one of her goals. Her dad and I are quite content with milking less than a dozen girls. I could see the wheels spinning in my child’s head. I look forward to seeing where she takes our farm in the future.
I hope you had a wonderful weekend, got to do something that makes you happy, learned something new, and met people who make you grateful and put a smile on your face. On this lovely spring day, stay safe, be smart, appreciate the wonders of man and technology, understand your limits, and keep washing your hands.