Good evening, friends and family! It’s Clifford again. Today was ruminant animal day here at MSU Tollgate Farm. Ruminant animals, like me, have a stomach that is very different from my pepper friends. We don’t have to completely chew all our food because instead of one compartment to the stomach, we have four. We are known as ruminant animals because of our first compartment to the stomach, the rumen. The rumen stores food that we snack on later to break it down further, and it is the largest compartment with the ability to hold up to 42.5 gallons of food!
To start the day off, the peppers came to my pen to learn all about me and the other ruminant animals on the farm. Mr. Alan explained to my new friends that I was a calf and that when I grow up I will be called a steer. He also explained to the peppers three ways to identify that I’m an herbivore. The first way is the placement of my eyes: eyes on side to hide. The second is my cloven hoof, a hoof split into two toes. Animals with cloven hooves have no sharp, canine teeth. Mr. Alan demonstrated by showing off my huge chompers. The peppers gasped to find that I have no teeth on top, which is how they can identify me as an herbivore.
After feeding me sweet milk (moo!) the peppers spent the rest of the morning attempting to prepare for tomorrow, Fishy Thursday! The peppers went into the Maple Forest to search for worms to use as bait during their fishing trip tomorrow. What’s better bait than live worms? In the forest, the peppers put yesterday’s knowledge of recognizing poison ivy to use. Leaves of three let it be! The ground was very dry, so the worm hunt wasn’t too successful, but the peppers did find some interesting bugs!
To complement the worm hunt, the peppers practiced casting their fishing lines. Casting was new for many peppers, but they all did very well and I bet they’ll catch many fish tomorrow!
To end the morning, the peppers spent some time with Ms. Katie and Ms. Robin in the Garden Kitchen. Ms. Katie and Ms. Robin helped the peppers prepare homemade bread, butter, and jam for the afternoon. It smelled so yummy! I sure do envy all the delicious food they make and eat!
In the afternoon, the peppers met with my sheep friends and learned about their wool. Mr. Alan taught the peppers that a sheep’s wool contains lanolin which is an oil that helps keep them from getting really wet when it rains. He also helped them identify the breed of sheep on the farm that is used for its wool, the Columbia breed. The peppers had a chance to meet with a ewe, a mother sheep, and clean raw wool.
After meeting the sheep, the peppers played with some Oobelck, an interesting substance that acts like liquid when you touch it, but is like a solid when you pick it up. It’s so weird and gooey looking! The counselors discussed the states of matter (solid, liquid, gas) with the peppers and helped them identify the state of the Oobelck. I could hear the fascination from the little peppers and all the fun they had with the substance.
In the Garden Kitchen, the peppers made ricotta cheese to spread on their bread along with the butter and jam they made in the morning. The bread must have been good because everyone wanted seconds, but there wasn’t enough! I’m sure many peppers would love to try out their baking skills at home!
To end the day, each pepper group spent some quality time together playing games, brainstorming Friday’s activities, and reading a book.
It was a really great day here at MSU Tollgate Farm, but all the excitement has made me very tired. I’m off to get my beauty sleep so I’ll be well rested for another fun-filled day tomorrow. In the meantime, check out the photos below and like us on Facebook, here (Friday skits will only be up on Facebook, so don’t forget to check the page for the exclusive content).
Goodnight my peppers, friends, and family!
Clifford the Calf