About How I Milked a Cow

Since I was playing a mechanic yesterday morning and have changed a chain on Lou, today I had to wait for a bicycle shop that was recommended to me opens. Apparently I’m not such an expert as I had imagined myself to be. When changing the chain, I have left one link too much on the new chain I was putting on. This meant that every time I had really pushed the pedals very strong, the chain had skipped. Still have evidence of that around my right ankle.

Well, the bicycle shop confirmed my suspicions regarding the chain and they shortened it for a link. Still better for them to do it than me.

On route out of Burlington, VT I have stopped at several banks trying to change my remaining Canadian dollars. It was a mission impossible. At every bank apart from one requested that I would have an account opened with them. And the one that did not require an account, asked for 20 USD service fee. No thank you, I’ll keep my Canadian dollars for a little longer.

All the errands meant that I started to properly hit the road around noon. And yesterday’s tail wind (yes, this also exists on a bicycle) turned around on me today. So I will have to put a serious effort into covering a distance worth mentioning. The next location where I will have a host is in any case two days cycling away.

Since I’m not really in the mood for cycling, I turn on the music. The Queens have a surprising way of forcing a person to turn the pedals. Especially Bicycle Race.

Somehow I managed to make my way through the day when around 17h heavy clouds started to gather. It has also chilled down considerably. Since I had covered a considerable distance today, I decided to try and pitch my tent before it starts to rain. And so I came to a farm where a farmer was out on his tractor. I said to myself, let’s go and ask for permission to pitch my tent on his property. Half way up the drive way I noticed what he was actually doing. He had to put one cow to sleep just before my arrival. How I manage to get the timing right?! But since I have been already half way up the driveway I just continued. As I have stopped and started to explain who I am and why have I stopped here, the farmer’s wife, Liz has arrived. So I have explained to both that I’m just looking for a place to pitch my tent for a night before it starts to rain. After a short conversation it was decided. I’m staying here and will sleep in the house.

It turned out that I have stopped at a family dairy farm. Well family size by the local standards. They have 200 cows of which a 100 is milked twice a day, every day. This takes them about 2-3 hours in the morning and in the evening. Not to mention all other stuff that goes around here (feeding, cleaning, maintenance,…). This way they produce around 2.500 tons of milk every day (they do not measure it in litres as we do back home). Like mentioned, family size. But it’s true they do not have outside workers employed. It’s all been taken care by the family.

Obviously all this data was provided to me during a guided tour that was given to me by Liz. And part of this tour included a visit to the place where the cows get milked. And the tour would not be first-class if they would not show and enable me to milk a cow. Sure, the milking itself is done by a machine but before they connect the machine, they have to verify that the milk is clean and everything goes smoothly. And this is done manually or better said for one cow I have done it for the first time in my life.

The day was concluded with a huge dinner and yes, it did rain during the night.


Thanks to Liz, Bill, Rachael, Eva and Merek. Unfortunately I did not manage to meet Wesley, but I’m sure I would enjoy his company as well.


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