On Thursday, October 1st, the junior class had the wonderful opportunity to visit Davis Creek Farm, a working all-natural cattle farm owned by North Branch parents Elizabeth Van Deventer and Tim DiChiara. We began our visit with a short talk by Elizabeth, who used pictures and examples to illustrate the difference between a small, natural farm and a large feedlot.
Then we took a tour of the property, stopping to examine compost in various stages. We visited the chicken coop and took a walk through a field to examine the freedom fountain, an interesting device that allows cows to drink fresh water all winter. The red balls seal the water in to keep it from freezing, and also let it out when pressed. Elizabeth said that the cows who are new to the fountain are curious enough to press their noses against the balls within a few minutes of discovering it.
After that, we crossed over to the apple orchard, where everyone picked enough apples for the cows. Then we moved some of the free-standing chicken coops.
After that, the class walked up to the pasture where the cows were – the whole group was charmed by Nova, the cow who was having her 20th birthday. She was wearing a silver ribbon around her neck so we could pick her out of the herd. Our next task was to move the cows to a new pasture. Elizabeth called to the cows, and as we held the rope fence and encouraged them with apples, the herd changed fields. Elizabeth’s middle son went to the back of the herd to help them along. When Nova passed by, all the kids threw her apples and sang her Happy Birthday. Then we went up to the house to enjoy an apple cake in honor of Nova’s birthday. It was a unique and wonderful field trip – thank you Elizabeth and Davis Creek Farm!