In every way the trip was just what I was looking for. Not just the being able to help Mel get ready for the baby, or meet her doc., or attend the second shower, or go to their church, or just see for myself what they have done with their house in the last couple of years, but really just ALL the time we had to just "hang out". It was just soo wonderful. Her life as all of us seasoned veterans know is about to change forever more. I felt like this was just the last little bit of time left to enjoy the very tail end of her "life before kids" life, haha. We spent just countless hours talking, laughing, planning, eating, shopping, and yes cleaning and working side by side. I am just soo grateful to have gotten this time.
Her life is VERY VERY different from anything I have ever lived, and I find it all just fascinating for some reason. Mike is a VERY busy guy. He did take the time however to show his MIL around and explain how things worked as best he could to a total city girl. I LOVED the tours. Everyone in their little area outside of town is either a dairyman or a farmer, or like in their case, both. They actually own 3 different farms in which they grow ALL of the feed that they need for their cows. Corn, cotton seed and alfalfa. I got to both see and hear how this works, and it really was quite interesting. I'd love to take my little grandsons there someday, as I just know they would LOVE all of this. I will NEVER be able to explain the process to you as well as Mike did, and I have no idea if anyone would find it as interesting as I did. Soo many tractors and trucks and farm machinery was also fun to see. I will just tell you a couple of quick things I learned, which some (or all of you) may already know, but I sure didn't, haha. Let's see....the corn. The corn when it is gotten ready for the cows is chopped in it's entirety. There is this HUGE chopping machine that comes through and chops it all down at the same time and shoots it into a truck which then dumps it into a pile where it is mushed together to make silage. You can actually see the corn in it. It smelled pretty good too. And then the alfalfa is what is used to make hay. Again there is a fairly lengthy process to get it to what it looks like after it is dried and done, and then it too is shot into a machine where it comes out like a hay bale. I don't know what I thought these things came from, but this was all BIG news to me, lol. Whatever the process, the cows LOVE it. I actually saw them come running when they would hear the feed truck where it is all mixed together coming. The cows are fed (I think ~ sorry Mike if I am wrong) at least twice a day, and they are milked twice a day as well. The cows LOVE to be milked as well and also came running to fight and push their selves into the barn. I saw the calves too, including one who was only about an hour old. Soo cute. I loved sitting on their porch (when it was cool enough) and listening to the cows move around and moo. I have taken (or really I guess Mike took most of them for me as I was too busy making sure where I was stepping and trying not to fall or something dumb, haha). Anyway, I've put together a little slideshow to show you. Hope you enjoy it.
|Personalize your own photo slideshow|
I will confess that I have never really given much thought, until my daughter married a dairyman that is, of how the milk, cream, butter, yogurt, cheese or ice-cream actually was made before it made it's way into my refrigerator. It is a MUCH more complicated process and business than I ever really realized. Now of course I KNEW it all came from cows, but that is honestly where my knowledge ended. I have learned sooo much since Mel met Mike many years ago. Two gigantic milk trucks come to their dairy every day to collect the milk. I never did get a picture of one of the trucks, which is unfortunate as they were quite neat. The milk is inspected and tested down to the millionth of a part. If one tiny little drop is found contaminated in any way, the entire truck load is dumped. This hasn't happened at their dairy in years and years and years which is also quite fortunate as it would cost them thousand and thousands of dollars of course. Milk after it is inspected is then graded for quality with the highest quality milk going directly to be drank, and the lower qualities going for butter, cheese, ice-cream etc. Their milk is used exclusively for drinking, and supplies a great deal of Texas and New Mexico. All soo interesting. Well, I guess that is about all for now. Mel has about 5 or 6 weeks to go if she makes it to the very end, and so it is close no matter what. I will also say that even though I LOVED every minute of my trip, there really is no place like home. I was soo happy to be back in my own bed etc. I have missed my other kids and grand kids and look forward to seeing them all this week-end. Sooo glad it is a long one. My mom is REALLY struggling and things there have become hard. I will post about that later though. Hope you all enjoy your holiday week-end!