Hello & Welcome to my blog!
My name is Shelby Mumma and I have the amazing opportunity to serve as a Cheese/Animal Husbandry Intern for Flint Hill Farm Educational Center for the summer 2019 season.
I am originally from the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania area but I am attending Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton Georgia where I am pursuing a degree in Agricultural Communications.
Follow along below as I document my summer at Flint Hill Farm.
Sunday - 5/19/19 – Today was my first day on the farm and boy was it a wild one. Every year, Flint Hill Farm does an open house for the community where the public can come and explore all the aspects Flint Hill Farm has to offer. I started the day by helping Miss Kathy feed the animals and milk. I had never seen a milking machine before let alone watch the goats and cow be milked from it. When Miss Kathy asked me if I wanted to hand milk, I was very hesitant because this was all brand new to me. I ended up opting out to trying to hand milk and did more observing than anything. I also met Anita who is one of the Spring interns and she showed me how to make cheese. When you think of making cheese, it sounds easy. However, there is a lot to consider when making cheese. First, you have to transport the milk which includes cleaning the lines to make sure everything is clean. After you transport the milk over to the cheese room, you have to clean the lines again to make sure all the milk is out and ready to go for next time. All the milk sits in a big giant tank where it pasteurizes and waits to be made into smoothies, cheese, yogurt, butter, etc. We also had a man come in to sheer the sheep during the open house which was cool to watch.
Monday – 5/20/19 – Today we continued working with the cheese to make Chevre. Chevre came from the origin of France and means ‘goat’. After chevre reaches a certain temperature with its ingredients in it, it is left over night. Today, we did something called ‘hanging cheese’. When Anita told me that, I wondered how on earth we were going to hang cheese if it looked so soupy in the tank. I shortly found out just how to do it! You take cheese clothes and a large mixing bowl. Place your cheese cloth in the bowl and start to pour pitchers of the milk/cheese mixer into the bowl. Then you tie it up and place it on big hangers where it stays over night – see it is a long process!! But after that is it all done, you can flavors the cheeses with all kinds of different herbs. Anita and I made tomato basil chevre the next day with our cheese.
Wednesday – 5/22/19 – Today I met another intern for the Spring named Donna. She wants to start a farm of her own and figured she should get some experience before she started one herself. She said “This internship has helped me so much…things you will never be able to learn in a textbook. It is important to get that hands on experience.” I am thankful she came to Flint Hill Farm and have already experienced what she has said in the couple of days I’ve been here. I look forward to all the many things I am going to learn throughout this internship.
Thursday – 5/23/19 – Today was Anita’s last day for her internship. I only worked with her 4 days but I am thankful for all she had taught me in that short amount of time. She taught me that it’s okay to have a bad day, just know that tomorrow is a new day to have a great day. She taught me how to feed all the animals and their names (which is a lot). She taught me how to make cheese, package it, label it, and put it in the store and so much more.
I also learned how to make smoothies today with Anita and Donna which was a lot of fun. The smoothies are sooo delicious.
Monday – 5/27/19 – Today was Memorial Day and there was a family staying in the bed and breakfast for a weekend getaway. I was accompanied by the whole family this morning to help me milk the goats. They wanted to learn how to hand milk and they did a phenomenal job!
One of my favorite parts of this internship is meeting new people and learning about their story and what brought them to the farm.
Tuesday – 5/28/19 – Today was one of the first days where I was by myself most of the day. It went by quick and Jenn kept me company while I transported milk.
Jenn is another lady that works on the farm here 7 days a week. She said one of the things she enjoys most is setting everything up and knowing it is in order for afternoon feeding. Jenn helps with many chores on the farm and one of them is cleaning chicken eggs.
Thursday – 5/30/19 – Today was my last day working with Miss Donna since she was another Spring intern. I have loved getting to know both Anita and Miss Donna even if it was only for a couple weeks. Before I left, Miss Donna taught me how to give the goats corid, do famacha scoring and a little crash course on how to clip hooves. I learned that corid is a oral solution that is given to goats that help prevent coccidiosis which is basically diarrhea that is caused from a parasite that can get into their intestines and lay eggs. I made sure to take a picture with Donna before I left so I can always remember her positivity and smile.
Monday – 6/3/19 – I came back to the farm yesterday afternoon to do my afternoon milking hoping to see a calf born while I was gone but no luck. However, I still experienced something new today. Miss Kathy taught me how to make Manchego from goat milk. Like last week, I had to transport the milk over to the cheese room but since I was still milking the goats, Miss Kathy helped me do that so it went by a little quicker. It is different from Chevre because there is no hanging process and Manchego requires lipase. The picture below shows the three ingredients used to make Manchego cheese from goat milk : lipase, rennet, and culture.
Unlike Chevre, Manchego is pressed in molds after it is done pasteurizing and sits in those forms over night. They will then be taken out of the cloths and turned one more time tomorrow before setting out to dry.
Tuesday – 6/4/19 – This morning I went to the barn to find our new baby calf. It is a boy!!
He must’ve been hungry because he drank a whole bottle of milk in the morning when Miss Kathy fed him. He was the talk of the farm all day long.
Wednesday – 6/5/19 – Something that I love about this internship is that no day is ever the same. Today was a perfect testament to that because as I was wondering what I was going to do with my afternoon, a family pulls in and asks to be given a tour. I later find out that they are from the same area I am from and live down the road from me…the world is smaller than I think some times.
They enjoyed walking around to all the animals and learning about each one. I like that these conversations can be as personable as you wish while still filling them with information they may not have known before coming here. It was a great day to be on the farm!
Monday - 6/10/19 - One of my duties on the farm is to package milk for the store. This is one of my favorite satisfactions of working on the farm...to know I helped make something someone is going to buy and appreciate.
Step 1: Take milk from the milker and use the transporter to funnel it into a half gallon container. I always make sure I put a filter in the funnel just in case something happened to slip through the milkers.
Step 2: Make labels. I like that the label explains what raw milk is because a lot of people are unaware. We always make the date 2 weeks ahead of when it is packaged.
Step 3: Stick the labels on and put them in the store. They are ready to purchased. Come pick yourself up one for $4 and see what other goodies you can find in the store.
Tuesday - 6/11/19 - Today was a little quiet on the farm. I love that some days it is so peaceful. I took one of our calves for a walk because next Monday, Miss Kathy and I are going to take some of the animals to a camp. They need to get used to having a halter on and being our 3 month old calf Bucko and I on our walk today.
Wednesday - 6/12/19 - As my internship moves further along, I realize that this place would not function as good as it does without the volunteers. A lady named Tiana came to the farm looking for some volunteer opportunities while she has off for the summer. She couldn’t have come at a better time because we had a lot to do in the cheese room today. She helped Miss Kathy and I hang Chevre cheese, flavor cheddar cheese and put them into molds, and cut and package cheese for the store. One thing I keep hearing Miss Kathy say is, “I ask the Lord to send me help and He always brings people that are willing to use their talents.” Tiana was such a blessing and a big help today.
Monday - 6/17/19 - Summer camp for kids started today so the farm was bursting with excited kids looking for chores to help out with. I was accompanied by some of them to do my afternoon feeding. They were such a big help!
We also got a surprise by a special someone on the farm…
This is Miss Carol and her grandchildren, Brayden and Samantha. Miss Carol usually comes and feeds every Wednesday afternoon, but she decided to bring her grandchildren today to show them around the farm. She had the biggest smile on her face showing her grandchildren a little part of her life volunteering on the farm.
Tuesday - 6/18/19 - Today was one jam packed awesome day at the farm!! I had my helpers again that helped me milk the goats in the morning. Then, I spent some time with the little kids making a brown bag cow during craft time.
Meanwhile, Trixie had her calf and I didn’t even know it.
It’s another boy and the kids decided to name him Derek so Derek it will be. I enjoy sharing my days with kids who enjoy the farm life just as much as me.
Wednesday - 6/19/19 - It was another successful and fun filled day on the farm, but it didn’t start out the greatest. One of the first things I do in the morning is bring the cows in to be milked. When I got out there, only four were coming in. I didn’t see Trixie who just gave birth the day before. I took the four cows back to have breakfast and brought Miss Jen back with me with the Gator where we found Trixie in the back of the field laying down. She didn’t look good at all, breathing heavy, her feet were tucked under her and I was a little panicked because this was the first time I had ever experienced something like this. I am really glad Miss Jen was with me. She called Miss Kathy right away. Miss Kathy knew what she needed because this isn’t her first rodeo. As Miss Jen said, “Miss Kathy is going into midwife mode”. The farm doesn’t stop moving just because there is a problem though; animals still need fed and cows and goats still need to be milked. Miss Kathy came back later carrying a bottle that said Cal-Nate 1069 and told me she had milk fever which she said is fairly common in dairy cows. According to the PennState Extension services, “In the time period shortly before calving, large amounts of calcium are removed from the blood and are utilized in the mammary gland to be part of the colostrum. The rapid drop and the decreased mass of the calcium pool prior to parturition, and the failure of calcium absorption to increase fast enough after the onset of lactation, can predispose animals to milk fever or hypocalcemia”. Since we had milked her and got some colostrum out, Trixie lost a lot of calcium and needed a boost from the help of Miss Kathy with Cal-Nate. We also gave her two calcium pills throughout the day and she seemed to be doing just fine by the evening. Trixie will be back to her normal self tomorrow.
Monday - 6/24/19 - While Miss Kathy and Miss Jen were away on a visit with some of the baby animals, Roger came by to artificially inseminate one of our dairy cows. I was a little nervous since Miss Kathy wasn’t around, but Roger was very friendly and I could tell he knew what he was doing. He said he has been in the business for 45 years… that’s a long time to be sticking your hand into uncomfortable places.
After everything was done though, he showed me the tube that contained the semen he put into the cow’s uterus. He told me that there are anywhere from 40,000-50,000 sperm cells in one small tube. Then he started explaining to me what is on the test tube such as the bull’s name, where he is from, and his registration number. I thought it was funny because I had taken an animal science course in college a couple semesters ago and vividly remember going over this. I thought I would never need to know any of things learned and here Roger was, explaining to me exactly what I learned in class that I thought would never come in handy one day.
Tuesday - 6/25/19 - There is always something going on on the farm whether you know it or not. Today, a man came by to drop off supplies for the new upper barn roof that is going to be installed.
Although, Miss Kathy was expecting him, sometimes people show up and you didn’t know they were coming. Sometimes, even volunteers happen to not show up. Even though sometimes things don’t go exactly how you planned, everything still manages to get done and there hasn’t been a day I left the farm that I don’t feel accomplished in the hard work I have put in. After all, it is all part of the adventure at Flint Hill Farm.
Wednesday - 6/26/19 - I was accompanied by a sweet little helper named Karen this morning. She helped me milk the goats, even though she was a little scared that they would eat her shirt. Then, we went and visited our furry friends. She likes the bunnies the most. She also liked watching all the ducks splash around in their ponds. We made a little duck during our craft time.
Before she left, we decided to help Miss Kathy plant some new veggies in the outside aquaponics. Most of the plants were peppers to flavor our cheeses, especially habanero. We got to feed the old lettuce that we pulled up to the chickens and they loved our little treat.
6/27/19 - Thursday - I know I touched on it briefly before but today I did some more famacha scoring with the goats and the sheep. The objective of famacha scoring is to check their eyes for an anemia deficiency. This is mainly caused from the barber pole worm that is in grass which goats and sheep graze on during the day. If they happen to ingest it, the worms can lay eggs in their stomach and cause diarrhea. However, Dr. Faffa Malan created a scoring chart that is used to score their eyes from 1-5 (1 being good, 5 being bad). The chart corresponds to the color of their bottom eye lid and indicates if the goat or sheep needs medication. Usually if it’s a 3 that’s almost a 4 or higher, I give them 6 ml of cydectin and 3 ml shot of iron. These 2 treatments help them to remain happy and healthy. This photo is how we track our data so we can see which goats were treated last and make sure they are progressing towards being 1’s or 2’s on the famacha scoring chart. ￼
6/30/19 - Sunday - I helped Miss Kim with a Girl Scout troop this afternoon that was visiting the farm to get their horseback riding badge. Miss Kim walked them through an informational tour on all the horses we have at the farm, showed them how to groom the horses while practicing proper safety techniques, and then enjoyed some horse and pony rides at the end. Some of the girls have never ridden a horse before so I was glad to be a part of their many “firsts” in life. ￼
7/1/19 - Monday - Today was the day I finally got to meet Miss Joann. Everybody on the farm speaks highly of her, and she would always happen to come and help on the days I wasn’t here. It felt like I already knew her and we had good conversation while making smoothies. She is such a sweet lady and even taught me how to make butter. ￼