Wednesday, February 3, 2010

School Day Snapshots - Blue Heron Farm

We just finished Unit 12 in My Father's World curriculum which is the Goat unit, the first in a series of farm life units.  I checked out a few books about goats (both fictional and non-fictional), yet I really wanted the kids to experience a farm and get to meet some goats up close.  I could have just taken them to the petting zoo in the Houston zoo, but that just didn't seem authentic enough.  So I Googled 'goat farm Houston' and, lo and behold, I found a nearby goat farm!  Allow me to introduce Blue Heron Farm.

Blue Heron Farm is located in Field Store Community, TX just outside of Houston.  Blue Heron isn't just any goat farm, they raise Nubian dairy goats and make DELICIOUS fresh goat cheeses that they sell at Houston-area farmers markets.  One of the first things I noticed was that the goats were friendly, happy and healthy.  It was easy to see that the goats love their home.

"Blue Heron Farm is a small, family owned goat dairy committed to producing high quality, healthful foods in a sustainable manner. Located on 10.5 acres in Field Store Community, Texas, we specialize in fresh goat cheeses, which are available at Houston-area farmers markets. We are dedicated to serving a market that puts thought into their food choices and an importance not only on their own health, but that of the animals that are the source of their food."  The owners, Christian and Lisa, were happy to show us around.

As we were driving to the farm, I was a little worried that the kids would get a little freaked out by the large dogs or by the goats.  So, I said a quick little prayer and it was definitely answered!   Both Ella and Christian (my Christian, a.k.a. Buddy) were very much at ease with the animals and excited to meet them.  In fact, the first thing Buddy did when he got there was chase the barn cat (poor kitty!).

We were so excited to have my friend Tisha and her kids join us on our field trip.  They, too, love animals and were excited to be at the farm. 

The highlight of the trip was getting to milk a goat.  All the kids had a turn and were quite excited to see the milk come out!  Christian and Lisa then explained how the cheese is made from the milk.  

We got to taste some of the cheese made at the farm.  It was sooo delicious!  The goat's milk was tasty, too - better than I expected (tasted a lot like whole cow's milk).

The two pigs on the farm have the task of eating the leftover whey.  It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it!  These pigs are young and I was shocked to hear that they would grow to be 1,000 lbs.!

The dogs at the farm are working dogs and their job is to protect the herd.  They were super friendly and didn't seem to mind all the kids piling on them.  That's Becka and Christian hugging Trudy in the picture above.



Tisha's daughter, Ginny, was named "The Turkey Whisperer" for her ability to befriend one of the farm's turkeys, who we learned is normally pretty shy!

Ella asked Christian and Lisa why all the goats had 'necklaces' on.  They're actually plastic chains so that they can lead the goats around - being plastic, the chains will break if the goats get themselves caught.  Both Ella and Gavin had fun leading the goats around the pasture.

The farm has a few babies on the way.  This goat pictured above is preggers!  We could feel the babies kick and see them move - how cool is that?!  We had such a great experience at the farm.  We all learned a lot - it was really great for the kids to see the animals that gave us the milk and the cheese that we ate.  I purchased Blue Heron's Spicy Mediterranean Chevre and look forward to purchasing more at the Houston farmers market (click this link and go to 'Contact Us' for dates). 

Perhaps the best thing about homeschooling is having the freedom to get out of the 'classroom' and experience the world around us.  My kids have a whole new appreciation for dairy farming that they would not have gotten otherwise.  We're having a blast on this homeschooling journey and I can't wait to see where God takes us!


Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Gorgeous photos! I have three kids (baby goats) myself, so I always enjoy a virtual field trip :)

sosnweddingdesigns said...

What a great experience! Love the photos. Can't believe that little girl is hugging a turkey! lol.