“That was a life changing experience!” Bennett, my self proclaimed gamer, exclaimed after he got to milk a cow. He wasn’t milking just any cow either. He was milking the star of the Bluebell Ice Cream commercials, Belle. Houston is a massive and very urban city, but if you are able to get just outside of the city farm life is waiting for you.
During spring break I packed up the car and took my 4 kiddos, ages 11, 9 , 8 and 5 to the country. If you read my last post on Round Top you know that I love Round Top and the surrounding areas. Just south of Round Top is The Jersey Barnyard.
The Jersey Barnyard
The Jersey Barnyard is a working dairy farm with plenty of farm animals and daily tours. We have visited The Jersey Barnyard a few times. The first time we went we were not able to take the hay ride to the dairy barn and I had no idea how disappointed the kids would be. We planned our spring break trip out to the farm with the goal of finally milking a cow.
The farm tour takes you around the grounds of the farm, visiting and learning about all of the animals. For $2 a bottle you can feed a baby calf; they are enthusiastic little eaters and it is so fun! Seeing a baby calf eat gives a lot of insight into what it takes to milk a cow. A baby calf is not gentle. There is a chance to feed the goats pellet food, the goats also have a healthy appetite. We saw sheep, turkeys, ducks, bunnies and the baby longhorns, which at just 9 months old, were as big as a average cow.
The hay ride takes you out to the dairy barn where you meet Belle, the star of the BlueBell Ice Cream commercials. Everyone gets a chance to milk Belle and then a quick walk through the milking barn. If you time your visit right you might actually get to see the cows getting milked! I had no idea milking Belle would be a life changing experience for my 9 year old son. I am so thankful for the chance to teach my kids where their food comes from.
Making Connections Where We Live
Our family has moved, a lot. We have lived in 3 other countries in just the last few years. Feeling connected to the place we live is something that I find very helpful as we settle into our life here in Texas again. Seeing the vegetation that is growing in the countryside, appreciating the longhorns that are such an important symbol for the state and seeing how much work goes into taking care of the animals that provide our food are all elements that help us to feel grounded in this special place we are living. Even if you have always lived in Texas, your children can learn and appreciate all that Texas has to offer.
Before we left we tried out the chocolate milk; oh my goodness it was good. We bought a dozen beautiful eggs and a chunk of cheddar cheese made with Jersey Barnyard milk.