Saturday, September 18, 2010

Farm Day: Meat your Milk!

I have learned that blogs on the day of are much more exciting, so here it goes:

Today was Farm Day with the young professionals club I am apart of! And I loved every minute of it. In Oklahoma, the idea of vising a farm would not be all that exciting to me, but living here, I was thrilled to get out of the city and be around something more natural! Oh, how I have changed living here!

So this was advertised to the club as a once in a lifetime opportunity to milk a cow! (Please hold back your laughing till later, all of you from Oklahoma and Texas!) Even though, I grew up in Oklahoma and have been on farms/ranches before, I had yet to milk a cow, and always thought it would be fun. Plus as said before I was excited for an opportunity to get out of the city (that I do love!), but the valley and fresh air are so nice! Even more than all this was I was excited to see my friends be on a farm. This group of friends are definitely all pretty much city people. Most drive BMWs and wear name brands even more expensive than the ones that people in Tahlequah drive to Tulsa to buy! They like luxury and I have never seen them "rough it." And when things are not up to their standards, they clearly make it known. Thankfully, almost miraculously, God has given me favor in their eyes as the cute American girl who tries to speak Arabic!

So the night before (because why would you tell people where/when to meet until the night before?--it can change many times and you are always waiting to hear from someone else---a lesson I have learned more than once!) I got a text saying to meet at 8am in the parking lot of a local shopping center. So (Finally learning!) I left my house at 8:10 and arrived at the parking lot before 8:20--and was amazed that I was not the first one there, but I was not the last one either! We waited till 8:50 for everyone to arrive. Even the thought of just saying you are left behind if you are not somewhere on time is rude here! So from the parking lot we caravan-ed along with a hired bus for the day. I will spare you the details of the trip to the farm--let's just say we stopped over 6 times for varying reasons (picking up more people-this one alone was at least 3 times, stopping for water, stopping for breakfast--even though the first thing on the agenda when we arrived was snacks, and stopping to wait for the bus to catch up). It was after 11am when we finally arrived at the farm! The schedule had us arriving at 9:30!

Driving into the farm, we passed two fields of hashesh. This country is actually famous for its grass, and this valley is full of it. A large portion of their income is made from the grass. Continuing the drive into the farm everyone was greeted with the smell of.......a farm! This was a first for many of the 40 people of the group! Let's just say that MANY complaints/comments were made. I saw one girl spraying air freshner/body spray outside her car! Even over an hour later, I saw a girl still fighting a gagging reflex! Seriously, people!

Anyways, so we were educated about the process this dairy farm of 55 cows was going through to become the first official organic dairy farm in the country, and about the ethical slaughter of animals. The farm proprietor said for religious reason (according to the Bible and Quran), you are not allowed to kill cows in front of other cows and a few other dont's I have already forgotten--never heard this before. It is also against the law, although there is only one place that slaughters humanely in this country according to this proprietor. And then for the sake of the cows who she said actually cry when they are distressed and see another cow killed!

Next we painted the outside of the (Barn?-best word I can think of.) It was a concrete building where they milk the cows on the bottom floor and a family lives on the 2nd floor. Hay is stored on the open rooftop. This was fun! The group got really creative--or stole picture of cows on the internet the night before of cows they thought were cute to paint! There was a cow drinking chocolate milk that I am sure I have seen before. A cow in overalls and then one of my friends, who had been to the training that Chick-fil-A did last year had the 3-cow logo of Chick-fil-A cows holding up the "Eat Mor Chiken" signs that were going to be changed to "eat more veggies," or "drink organic milk." We ran out of time to get the Chick-fil-A cows on the barn. Someone did ask about copyright issues on that one, but I highly doubt that the American company that has no overseas locations would care about a random barn in the middle of a valley in the middle east having their logo painted on a barn.

After painting, we were brought lunch around 3PM-tawouk sandwiches (chicken kebab sandwiches in pita bread), and then it was milking time! The cows gathered around the barn door desperate to be milked. They led them in and feed them as they waited their turns to be milked by the 2 portable machines they had. Then a few at a time, we each got a turn to go and milk a cow! It was fun and not that hard! (Hopefully this newly acquired life skill will help me on the Amazing Race in 2012! haha)

Then it was group picture time. They love to take pictures here! And they love to pose for pictures and have their pictures taken, and are quick to tell you that you have to delete a picture if it is not flattering. This was annoying at first, but after posing for a few pics myself today, I think it may have rubbed off on me---forgive me if I am a vain picture taker in the States!

We left the farm about 5:20 and I was all the way home by 7:00--a much faster ride without any stops!

It really was a great day!

For pictures, click here:

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