Thursday, March 31, 2016

Oregon Coast Brief Respite

We had a brief twelve hours at the coast and 7 of those hours were sleeping! I love the coast. The thunderous sound and roll of the waves gives me peace. Walking the beach, smelling the salty air, fishy aromas, and hearing the seagulls call does something to my soul that refills me with energy.

My husband could care less about the beach and the ocean. It isn't something that brings him joy like it does me, but he knows I love it and makes sure I get to see it now and then.

As you can see by the photo Tink likes the beach! She was running in circles, smelling all the driftwood, and having a good time when we walked on the beach.

We drove eight hours from our house to the motel. We stopped at family in Central Oregon, but boogied on over to the coast from there. I was happy I'd been to Rockaway beach another time on a writing retreat. I knew the restaurants to visit. We arrived in Rockaway about seven, ate dinner at Pirate's Cove and continued to our motel. Once we were settled in the room, I pulled out the computer to take care of writing business and hubby and Tink went to sleep.

In the morning we all went for the walk on the beach, had breakfast at the Cowbelle Cafe and headed to Tillamook where hubby had a meeting with his bosses.(He manages three alfalfa pivots in Princeton that belong to a dairy in Tillamook).  After the meeting we had a self-guided tour of the dairy. They milk 1000 Jersey cows on one carousel. That was a fascinating thing to see. It required four men to prep the cows and put the milking machines on them.

After the meeting we had lunch at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. You can't beat the food and ice cream there! Then we met some friends who took us to a dairy that uses robotics to milk the cows. That was fascinating!  I don't have pictures because there was no one there to ask if they minded if we took pictures. That's right, seven cows at a time were being milked and not a single person was in the dairy barn! The cows line up by the milking machine when their bags are full and irritating them. When the cow in the milking machine is done, she leaves, and the next cow walks in. Grain is dumped in a feeder and the gate closes behind the cow. The contraption is the size of a squeeze chute.  A robotic arm moves under the cow's udder spraying water and antiseptic. Then the arm dips each teat with a solution, and uses a milker tube to milk each teat a few times. That milk is thrown away and the robotic arm puts the four milkers on each teat using laser dots to get it correctly attached. There is a screen that shows how much milk each quadrant of the udder is giving. As each teat runs out of milk the milker tubes retract until they are all back in the machine. Then a spray of water like washing the undercarriage of a car washes the udder and washes away any manure or pee the cow may have left. The front gate opens and the cow walks out. The back door opens and a cow walks in on her own.

The interesting thing about this barn with the robotic milker, was the quiet. The cows weren't bawling. They either were standing in line, resting, eating, or being groomed by an automatic brush. Hubby was fascinated by the brush. It was a four feet long cylinder, with bristles all it. A cow would walk under it and the brush lowered and started spinning. It went up one side and down the other of the cow. Then down its back and the cow would step back and rub her head on the brush as it spun. The brush remained spinning and moving until the cow walked away.

Here is a YouTube video of the automatic brush and the milking machine. Towards the end they just praise the company but if you watch it through the cow milking it gives you an idea what we saw.

We finished our visit with everyone in Tillamook and headed back, stopping in Lebanon for a visit with my good friend Danita Cahill. We had dinner with her and her two boys, then drove to my mother-in-laws to spend that night.

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