EXHAUSTED BY LOVE in Canada
This is the Eco-Dairy, as promised from last week. This was from the Day We Arrived (last week Wednesday) and it was the SECOND dairy we went to that day. The first dairy had good ice cream, but this one had a Spectacular program.
Look, Mom: goats on the roof !! Inside we paid our Tour Fees. We saw an entertaining 7 minute video, then had to kill about 20 minutes waiting for the next tour. This was easy because of the 20 or so fun and interactive items in the foyer, such as the stick-your- finger-in-a-milking-machine machine, the who-poos-what game, and the build-your-own-cowshed table. These guys have entertainment down to a science.
The barn tour totally amazed me. There are 60 cows in here and every one has a name. They feed whenever they want to, drink whenever they want to, lay down on a comfy cushion with special sawdust when they want to. They know to poo in the aisle. And – this is the most amazing thing to me of all – they go to get milked whenever they want to.
This is “Robbie” the milk robot – I deeply ap0ologize that the photo is not clearer. We saw Robbie at work from the observer deck behind interrogation glass. The cows actually line up to let Robbie do his thing. First he reads Bessie’s ear tag. Then he cleans her teats. Takes a sample from each teat. If no problem, he just milks her and she walks away. But if there are any impurities or fever, he sends a text to the farmer. He also milks the cow but sends the milk to the Reject Container. If the cow is too difficult to milk, he texts the farmer.
Cows normally get milked twice a day, so if the cow fails to show up for milking for about 18 hours, Robbie texts the farmer. It’s not magic. It took Robbie a good 10 minutes to find all four teats of one cow, using his laser light “eyes.” But I cannot imagine a healthier herd, getting a twice daily monitoring every single day.
As for the poo, they’ve got a squatty poo-zamboni that pushes the poo into some conveyance that takes it to a methane digester and produces 30% (or was it 60%?) of all the power used at the dairy. I was impressed, but not inspired to photograph it. On the other hand
there was cuteness. Young calves and a bit of a petting zoo.
DAY 2 – WATER
Petunias (best flowers with the worst name ever) at the McDonalds drive through on the way to see the acquatic movie “Finding Dory” in the morning.
Afternoon – Cultus Lake Water Park. This was terrific!. There were at least 10 huge water slides here. I went down the less insane of these two slides and a bunch of others. I probably met an abundance of microflora and microfauna, but don’t have any proof or uncomfortable reminders.
DAY 3 – CANADA DAY
Stay home and recover? Ha! Lua decides we are going to hike the Othello Tunnels, about an hour’s drive away.
First thing I notice is an alpine meadow. The hills are alive.
We walk more than a kilometer and finally get to the first tunnel.
Information for the intellectually inclined.
A beautiful creek runs here.
Why do people leave little padlocks, etc. on the fencing 2 kms down this trail? Junk! However this little macrame owl catches Austin’s eye, and I find it charming.
Here is some foliage I liked: very mossy trees,
wild raspberries and blackberries,
and flowers with and without bees.
Finally, “you can only take that rock home if you carry it yourself.”
DAY 4 – FOOD
Big juicy mulberries.
Now, you’d think it would be time to, like, you know, REST a bit. But the (wonderful) problem was that some fans of the Happy Chicken project lived an hour or so away, and they wanted to meet Austin…. so the solution was that we would all meet in Sumas, WA, just south of the Canada border, for dinner. This was also a good time to tank up the car with cheaper American fuel; we needed to do that sometime before Monday.
There is a very good Mexican restaurant in Sumas called El Nopal (The Cactus). This is the first time I ever photographed my food just because it looked SO delicious.
Oh man! It tasted even better than it looks. This was flora and fauna cooked to perfection. (A friend of Clara’s here in Hawaii who is from Guadalajara looked at this photo today and knew exactly what it was: enchaladas with mole sauce.)
After dinner, we all went to hang out in the nearby park as Austin and his friends kept on talking.
On crossing the border back into Canada my son-in-law had to declare what all of us had bought in the US and were bringing back. He declared with full honesty, “We had dinner at El Nopal and got gas.”
DAY 5 – We cleaned the house and about 30 people came to hear Austin give a talk about Coral Gardening and Happy Chickens, including our new friends from the night before.
DAY 6 …. Leaving at last. Was I REALLY in Canada? REALLY? I can prove it:
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See you next week, folks, if I recover…
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