Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life …
For this week’s Garden Gate/Farmyard to Kitchen Intermediate Level Merit Badge, I brought back Andy, Nora, and Piper to put some finishing touches on what we’d learned during our Beginner Level badge adventuring. (Oh, you thought you EARN badges here? No, no, silly goose, we ADVENTURE them.)
They had gone through the whole gallon of cream-on-top, fresh-from-the-cow milk I had given them in no time. I had assumed one of their mamas would get to experience the bliss that is fresh cream in her morning cuppa joe, but evidently, Nora got to it first and used it on her oatmeal. She however got to experience some bliss so all was not lost.
They had also spent a whole week eating only fresh, organic chicken eggs, and they were mightily impressed.
“Aunty!” They told me (as if I didn’t know), “The yolks are bright orange! Like, practically glow in the dark! And they taste sooooooo good!”
I was pleased as punch and proud as a peacock (hey, do peacocks lay eggs?). Now it was time to mooo-ve along to discussing what types of chickens lay what colors of eggs.
“I want a pink egg!” shouted Piper. “And a purple one with sparkles!”
“Um, yeah, not happening. Focus, little sprite. This here is a Rhode Island Red.” We were in the backyard coop, the better to teach in a visual manner. I read that in a book once. Kids like visual stimuli. And, if I do say so myself, my backyard is even better than a picture book. “And that one over there, looking disgruntled and cranky, is a Gold Laced Frizzle.”
“Are we gonna have to spell these?” Andy wanted to know, looking even more suspicious than my Gold Laced Frizzle.
“No. Which is good, because that one is a Wyandotte. And that one over there is a Plymouth Rock. Isn’t she adorable?”
“Which one lays striped eggs?” Piper again. Good thing she’s cute, because sometimes I wonder about her intelligence.
“Uh, none of them.”
“Ack!” shrieked Nora suddenly. “What is that giant puffball? That walking cotton candy? Oh my gosh, I am in love!”
“Oh, that’s a Silky. Yes, she’s pretty cuddly.”
“I bet she lays Cadbury Eggs, right, Aunty?” Piper whispered to me.
“Okay, kids, let’s head back to the kitchen. I have some new milk I want you to try.”
“Yes!” Nora fist-pumped. “My oatmeal was totally lonely this morning.”
At the kitchen counter, they bellied up to the bar, so to speak. I used my smallest juice glasses to pour shots of a few different types of dairy for the smallfries. In order to keep them guessing (and to keep the “EWWWW”s to a minimum), I kept the containers under wraps. This was to be a blind tasting. I had goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, a bland store-bought skim cow’s milk (shudder, shudder), and of course, fresh, whole, organic, cow’s milk.
“Man, I was hoping for chocolate, but this is good too,” said Andy.
“I like #2,” said Nora. “But not that one that tastes like weird water.” Down the drain went the skim, and good riddance.
“I like them all! Another round!” shouted Piper, banging her glass down. “Barkeep! Keep ‘em coming! And make mine a double!”
We drank our milk and made guesses as to the source all afternoon till… well, I guess you could say until the cows came home.