February 2012, Apache Junction, AZ
We kept busy in February with Tai Chi, Water Aerobics, and hiking. We also helped with the February Pancake Breakfast – Nancy helped cooked scrambled eggs and Rex helped cook bacon and sausage. We served over 230 people at this breakfast. The Dolly Steamboat started getting busier as more snowbirds arrived in the Valley of the Sun so Rex has been working more days. The weather was great this month – mostly in the 70’s.
We went to the 22nd Annual Heard Museum World Championship Hoop Dance Contest and watched the last day of the competition. Hoop Dancing is Native dancing using from one to as many as 50 hoops. The hoop or circle is symbolic to all Native people. It represents the Circle of Life and the continuous cycle of summer and winter, day and night, male and female. The best Hoop Dancers from the US and Canada participate in this competition. We were able to watch dancers from the Youth Division (6-12 yrs), the Teen Division, the Adult Division and the Senior Division. We really enjoyed all the dances and especially liked the young children. The adult and senior divisions were very competitive and most of the competitors used all 50 hoops – pretty impressive.
Nancy went on a park bus trip to Shamrock Farms, a large dairy farm southwest of Phoenix. This big red barn is their visitor center.
From here we boarded a trolley that took us on a tour around the dairy. This colorful graphic shows that it takes 35 gallons of water and 100 lbs of feed to produce 8.5 gallons of milk. This process also produces 30 lbs of waste. Something to think about the next time you drink a glass of milk!
This is one of the many pens for the cows. As you can see this dairy does not crowd its girls.
The milking parlor was pretty impressive – it can hold 1600 cows at a time and they milk 200 at a time. On average they milk 8,000 cows a day – 2 times a day. It was fun watching the cows file in and go right to their milking stall. The milking parlor was so large that you could not get it all in one picture – this is about half of the parlor.
Of course, we had to stop at the nursery and they let us pet the calves – we had to wear rubber gloves so as not to give the little ones any of our nasty germs!
The tour ended back at the visitor center where we got a bottle of milk, a hot dog and, of course, ice cream. We were impressed with the operation and cleanliness of this dairy and with the care they give the cows. This was a fun and interesting trip and Rex was disappointed that he was working and missed it- as a lot of you know Rex worked on a dairy farm in his younger days.
On February 29th, we helped our friends Larry & Pauline celebrate their 13th wedding anniversary - they have actually been married 52 years but have only celebrated on the 29th 13 times.
We continue to enjoy hiking every week and Rex has enjoyed leading the Friday hikes. One of our hikes was to Sunrise Peak in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale. We were able to see the fountain at Fountain Hills from the top.
Rex playing “King of the Mountain” at the very top of Sunrise Peak.
Another hike was to Fremont Saddle in the Superstition Wilderness area where we had a great view of Weavers Needle.