Today has been like a gift from the Goddess – a reward for … something … everything has fallen into place today.
David had to leave early to attend to a Rural Fire Brigade training event, and we thought we would go for a drive and possibly watch him at work after we went for a walk. Our first stop up the mountain was outside of the house where Kaelan was (almost) born. How lovely it was to step out and show him the humble little house we used to live in before and during his first year of life. Opposite the house is a little plant stall and we crossed the road to have a look at what was growing there.
Our next stop was at the dairy. It was my intention just to stop in and see if they had some goats cheese there. They are a cow dairy farm, but I thought I remembered seeing goats cheese there once upon a time. No goats cheese this time – but we were still in luck – it was milking time! And not only that, the farmers invited us into the milking shed to watch the process. How fascinating it was to see the cows being invited in one by one, and lovingly settled into their stalls before the milking apparatus was attached. The farmer invited me to put my thumb inside one of the tubes to feel the suction: it was a suction I knew well from many years of using a breast pump!! They have 25 cows that they milk at one time, and each gives 10 litres a day. We saw the milk move from the udders, into the tubes, and then were shown how it was pumped right next door into the vat where it is kept nice and cold and churned round and round to keep it at an even temperature. We were allowed to look inside the vat and it was awesome to see so much milk in there!!
Watching the milking process lead to questions from Kaelan about milk – why (and how) the cows make it, and how it comes out. These questions lead to a conversation about my breast milk and it was a fabulous way to talk openly with Kaelan about how I make milk too and how our new baby will drink the milk I make, how I will have to eat wonderful food and keep myself happy in order to make the best, most creamy milk for Baby, and how sometimes I might have to hook myself up to a milking machine to pump breast milk and store it for later. I must say those breast-milk pumping moments have left me feeling very bovine in the past!
The farmer went out to the pens and scooped up a three-day old calf and brought her over to us. I couldn’t believe she was only three days old!! She was taller than Rosella and standing strong and firm, and she mooed softly after she settled into our gentle patting and chatting with her. Her mother was anxiously waiting at the fence for her return so we didn’t keep her away for long. I am so sad that I didn’t think of taking a photo of her. She was the biggest and most beautiful newborn I’ve seen 🙂
The farmers were so lovely and so very friendly and it was a pleasure to open their fridge and buy 2 litres of milk, knowing how healthy and happy the cows are – and the farmers. Even though I am not eating dairy right now I wanted to have the experience of making my own ghee (clarified butter where the milk protein has been removed) straight from the milk – so here is my experiment!
I intend to let this fresh milk sit in the fridge for a week. It is in a bowl rather than a jug. When the cream settles on top I can scoop that off. I can then use the cream to make butter – and then I will have use of the milk and buttermilk too. I may not be eating dairy but the family can still benefit from this wonderful food. To make the ghee I will put the butter into an oven-proof dish on low in the oven, and just check it every now and then, scooping off the milk protein that bubbles to the surface. Every recipe calls this ‘scum’ or ‘gunk’ but I can’t think of it that way. Then what is left is pure golden butter fat – perfect for cooking with. Ghee can be heated to higher temperatures than butter without burning and it is still full of those wonderful nutrients from the milk, plus that beautiful calm and peace we felt from the cows at the dairy. I don’t expect to get much ghee out of this whole process, but it will fun seeing how much I end up with – and I love the thought of my children experiencing the full transformation process – from the cows to our bellies – with five by-products along the way: milk, cream, buttermilk, butter and ghee!
So after cow-gazing for a while, and making friends with number 759 (Rosella said, “Mum, that cow’s wearing a hearing aid!”), with our 2 litres of milk (plus a pumpkin, an avocado and 3 mandarins from their stall) we moved to our next stop. A bit further up there is a lookout and we planned to have morning tea there. We were in luck again! It was a hang-gliding day and as we ate we watched the gliders set up their crafts, stand around and talk for a while (a long while!) and then launch.
Wow, how awesome to go running off the side of a mountain into the blue blue sky. He looked like a butterfly when he tucked his legs up.
I loved it up there. Mountain air is so different and I gulped it in while I could. I also drank in the view. Baby #3 enjoyed it too I’m sure:
I do miss mountain life. It is very convenient living down here in suburban Gold Coast, but there is definitely a different quality to the environment up the mountain. Clarity. Freshness. Nourishment. Yes well I am also conveniently forgetting the damp, the mould and the petrol costs and buying one’s own water in times of drought … but even that was not such a hardship in comparison to the quality of life one has the opportunity of experiencing up there …
And so down the hill we went, stopping briefly to see if we could spot Daddy at work … we didn’t, he was busy elsewhere …
and back home for a lunch and a sleep. Then Daddy came home (smelling of burned grass and scrub) and has taken the children out for a walk into the creek so that I can spill out my delightful morning to you on my blog … and enjoy the quiet peacefulness that we have cultivated in our own home … (and that extra bit of peacefulness that comes when the children are happily occupied elsewhere!)
It has been a beautiful day.