Aunt Eunice here. Our final fundraising event of the year, Old Time Christmas is over and it was as heartwarming as ever. Here at Quiet Valley we are in the midst of the only truly quiet time we have on the farm. At least for two or three weeks. During this brief interlude we have time to reflect on the past year and what we accomplished as a business, what might need tweaking, what we might want to add or let go in our programming. We have a new member to the farm staff who became our Director of Education on January 1st. Having a new staff member can be like a breathe of fresh air as they usually come onboard with lots of energy and new ideas. The seasoned staff will provide continuity and experience from which the young director will benefit. We welcome Rachel to her new position.
We just hung up a 2020 National Day calendar in the office. Not surprisingly January 1st was National Hangover Day! Today is January 3rd and it is oddly enough “drinking straw day”. My thoughts on this particular day is to encourage everyone to use paper straws or no straw at all. Glass or stainless steel straws are reusable so make a good alternate choice. What plastic water bottles and plastic straws are doing to our oceans is no joke. Jokes will be told on National Tell a Joke Day on August 16th though please let our jokes be about anything other than the sad state of our oceans.
Old Rock Day is on Tuesday January 7th and I challenge our readers and Facebook fans to share pictures of their favorite or oddest old rock. Is it the diamond on your finger, the coal you got in your stocking or something more unusual?
Saturday January 11th is Milk Day and a historic farm such as Quiet Valley does know something about milk. Milk is counted among the most essential staple foods, is an important part of a balanced diet and contains, among other vital nutrients, a high percentage of calcium. In 2019, worldwide milk production amounted to about 513.22 million metric tons. Among the major producers, the United States was ranked second with a milk production amounting to over 98.8 million metric tons in 2018.
Pennsylvania was the 5th ranked state in the US. from 2014 – 2018 in milk production based on number of dairy cows. 505 thousand milking cows were in Pennsylvania in 2018. California is the top milk producing state with 1.8 million dairy cows. The European Union is the largest milk producer in the world.
The United States is one of the leading dairy producing countries in the world, and American cows are among the most productive cows on the planet. The average cow in the U.S. produces about 21,000 lbs. of milk per year, that’s nearly 2,500 gallons! On a daily basis, most cows average about 70 lbs. of milk per day, or about 8 gallons. 8 gallons is about 128 glasses of milk each day.
Early settlers would have been thrilled when they were established enough to have a milking cow. Goats and sheep also produce milk that is used for human consumption. Colicky babies tend to do better if they drink goat milk as the fat particles are smaller than what is in cow milk so it is easier to digest. My favorite cheese, Manchego, is made from sheep’s milk. Milk could be used for all sorts of cooking, in cereal or porridge, in custards, in pies and puddings, in soups, but in my opinion its best use was after ice cream was invented. Though that is a story for another day.
That’s all for now. Don’t forget to post your favorite old rock pictures on the 7th.
Take Care. Aunt Eunice
Photo – Making Ice Cream the Old Fashioned Way!