Local Heart, Global Soul

March 14, 2017

Literally… This Boss Is A Real Cow!

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,TEXEL,Texel: Ice-cream farm Labora,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

At  “IJsboerderij Labora” in Texel, Family Kiwidutch and our friends got the opportunity to see something very new for the first time.

That ‘something” was introduced with a sign on the wall of the dairy farm which read: “Wilt u binnen een kijkje nemen? Ingang om de hoek, Hier kunt u onze melkrobot in werking zien” (Would you like to come inside for a little look? Entrance around the corner, here you can see our milk robot in action).

Milk robot?  I’m immediately curious and went in to take a look.

Inside I find myself facing the back side of a large machine called the “Lely Astronaut“. It is busy with water, brushes and milking suction cups and the cows are simply walking up to it one after another and allowing themselves to be cleaned and milked before returning to the main stall.

There is a small screen with a rolling commentary on our side of the machine.  It tells us all about how the milk robot works.

Translated and summarised: “Dutch dairy farmers wanted to find an easier and faster way to milk cows that was less stressful for cows, more efficient for the farmer.

Various machines already in use have a multitude of problems, for example that the cows have to move backwards or sideways and out of stalls, a movement not natural to them and produces stress. Stress is not only bad for the general health of the cow, it also means that she lets down less milk.

Dutch agricultural firm “Lely” therefore decided to redesign the entire milking procedure from scratch using new methods of technology and the  “Lely Astronaut” is the result.

Firstly, the cow moves only in a forward motion, gone are side-steps or reverse, she enters the milking stall at one end and leaves through the other.

She is scanned as she enters, the computer identifies the specific individual and tipping a small feed mix into the container by her head:  if milking has been unproductive the feed mix is adjusted with supplements or medication. She is weighed and her general condition accessed via a scanning system.

An arm with rotating brushes comes out under the cow, cleaning her teats and udder using a steam clean requiring no detergents. The udder is scanned and the robot finds the teats one at a time, mimicking how a calf would do it.

Sensors throughout the process can detect signs of mastitis, the arm under the cow also measures colour, temperature, conductivity, fat, lactose, levels of somatic cells, protein levels in the milk, as well as milking speed. If the machine detects a deviation in the milk value then the milk is separated automatically.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The cups are attached to the teats using a 3D camera and lasers, cow is milked, then mimicking nature at the end they detach one at time. Cow and the equipment are steam cleaned and disinfected again at the end and the cow exits via the front of the stall, whilst the back opens up for the next cow to enter.

Amazingly the farmer can control everything from an App. on a smart phone and so can spend more time with cows that need specialist attention.

Cows feel pressure and discomfort if they are not milked on time and having lived on a farm I know that cows are intelligent animals who happily walk to a milking shed when they feel this need, therefore this robot means that the cows decide according to this need and milk themselves!

It was certainly funny to see the orderly queue as the cows lined up waiting their turn at the machine. The farmer just fills the hoppers, collects the milk, does maintenance and can supervise on a remote dashboard and collect data for management of the herd.
It seems that “teaching” cows to become accustomed to an automated milking machine is a very achievable objective, and a big success. It’s great to see how modern technology can be put to good use, and that everyone in this system benefits: happy cows, better milk, happy farmers.

It’s been an eye opener to see a system where the farm animal can be part of the decision process and that everyone wins. I’d love to see technology extended to help other farm animals have a “say” in their own environment, be in the spaces where they live, to heat and light. Who knows how technology will evolve later in the twenty-first century? I hope that machines like this robot lead the way to better lives for livestock on our farms.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 28, 2013

Milking My Last Audley End Post… The Dairy is Beautiful, But the Work Probably Wasn’t…

Filed under: Audley End House,ENGLAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,
(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

The last place we are visiting in the Audley End House grounds is the dairy.

This is where milk products were handled, made into butter and cheeses etc and so it’s situated in the cool inner section of the extended outbuildings close to the main house.

It’s definitely a room that is more beautiful to look at than it probably ever was to work in, and I hate to think of how many revolutions were needed to churn one amount of butter.

I dare say that dairy maids of centuries past had very strong arms.

I’m not certain what all of these shallow teardrop shaped porcelain basins are for, but there are a lot of them…

Surely the work here would have been repetitive and physically exhausting, so I envy no one this task.  It would have been easier in the summer months no doubt, but in this unheated room, winter  months work would have been arduous. Velvetine managed to get far better photographs of the decorative butter pats  and the general area in the low light than I did, so I have used some of her photos are used here with permission.

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

June 25, 2013

Step-by-Step Indian Cooking Lesson: Keer with Orange

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Keer with Orange

1 litre (2 pints)full fat milk
a few strands of Saffron
2-3 teaspoon sugar (according to taste
180 ml jar of oranges in syrup (or 1 cup fresh orange segments, must be sweet)

Before I get on with the step-by-step photographs, there are a few tips and notes from or Indian cooking lesson teacher to mention.

The milk should ideally be reduced on the stove at a time when you are not frying any strong flavoured things, particularly garlic or onions, because otherwise the garlic and onion odor will be absorbed into the milk.

The reason that a commercial jar of orange or mandarin segments is used in this recipe is that  our teacher says that usually fresh oranges are too dry and simply not sweet enough to given enough flavour to this recipe.

Method:

Heat the milk in a large pan and simmer gently until it reduces to three-quarters of it’s original volume. This will take approximately 30-40 minutes. Stir frequently, fold in the top skin, scrape the side of the pan and mix into the liquid. Continue until the milk thickens and darkens in colour.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the saffron strands to the milk and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then remove from the heat and allow to cool down completely.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then add the sugar (photograph not included)  and the orange segments. Mix well, taste and add a little more sugar if required. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Teacher’s Note:  This dessert can be made a day before and kept in the fridge.

Kiwi’s Notes: I’ve mentioned earlier that desserts that are heavily dairy based wreck havoc with my asthma, so  this milky dessert really isn’t for me, and was never going to be a personal favourite. I can tell you that the milk, once the keer process is finished is very creamy in taste, which was nice but there was a less strong orange taste to it than I imagined there would be.  Again, my cooking classmates loved it so it’s all personal preference and comes down to if you like this type of dessert or not. It’s definitely easy to make, I think it’s safe to say that you need more time than effort for this one! Enjoy!

June 22, 2013

Step-by-Step Indian Cooking Lesson: Gajar-ka-Halwa (Carrot Halwa Dessert)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Gajar ka Halwa (Carrot Halwa Dessert)

1 litre full fat milk
200 grams (grated) carrots
2 Tablespoons Gee
6-7 Tablespoons sugar (to taste)
1 ½ Tablespoons raisins
1 ½ Tablespoons chopped pistachio nuts
2 teaspoons crushed cardamom seeds

This particular Keer / Kheer recipe is a little different because grated carrots replace the rice often found in these desserts, so I went looking for more information about one of India’s national desserts.

Wikipedia tells me:

“Kheer is prepared in festivals, temples, and all special occasions. The term Kheer (used in North India) is derived from Sanskrit words Ksheeram (which means milk). Other terms like Payasa or Payasam (used in South India) or payesh (used in Bengal region) are derived from the Sanskrit word Payas which also means “milk”. It is prepared using milk, rice, ghee, sugar/jaggery, Khoya. Some also add a little bit of Heavy Cream to give it more richness in taste. It is often garnished using almonds, cashews, raisins and pistachios.

It is an essential dish in many Hindu feasts and celebrations. While the dish is most often made with rice, it can also be made with other ingredients. It is one of the most significant desserts served in Assamese families and quite often a part of religious ceremonies.

The South Indian version, payasam or payasa is an integral part of traditional South Indian meal. The South Indian payasam also makes extensive use of jaggery and coconut milk in place of sugar and milk.
In a South Indian meal, payasam or payasa (Kannada) is served first at any formal or auspicious occasions.”

Method:

Pour the milk into a medium sized non stick pan and heat over a gentle flame. Stir regularly until the milk thickens and reduces to approximately half its volume, which is a process known as “keer” and takes roughly 40 minutes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the grated carrots to the keer and stir frequently (to prevent burning) for a further 40-50 minutes until the mixture thickens into a paste-like consistency.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Cover the pan and let the carrot mixture cook down…  remember to stir it every so often.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the sugar…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the raisins…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the pistachio nuts and stir to mix thoroughly.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Continue cooking the mixture down so that it become less liquid…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now add the gee for extra flavour and to slightly thicken the mixture…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Gajar-ka-Halwa needs to be quasi-dry so continue cooking for another 10 minutes…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Remove from the heat and spread the mixture evenly in a shallow dish…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the crushed cardamom seeds…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Teacher’s Serving Tip: This delicious dessert can be served hot or cold. It can be kept in the fridge for a number of days without loss of taste. It is neither too heavy or too sweet whilst retaining the goodness of the carrots.

Kiwidutch Notes: We were advised that some people prefer this dessert served when it’s still warm and others when it’s cold. My classmates and I tried it both ways and my personal preference was for the warm version. One thing  surprised me:  it almost tasted like there might have been rice in this, even though  I had seen with my own eyes that there wasn’t.

As I’ve mentioned earlier elsewhere in this blog I have a lung condition and severe asthma  and have to avoid dairy products most of the time because they give me problems.  Himself isn’t  actually allergic to milk, but suffers from some measure of intolerance to it so unless we are having enough visitors to help us polish off most of this, it’s not realistically going to be high on our family  list of desserts. ( This also means I miss the cooked rice puddings with loads of cinnamon that I love too.)

I was still delighted to have tasted this… and to have learned all about a dessert that was totally new to me.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kheer

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