Saturday, April 07, 2007

Anchors A-Whey

Lately my work schedule has been fairly complex. (Not as complex as getting an old blogger template listed on Technorati, mind you.) I'm teaching in the mornings Mondays and Wednesdays, and Thursday afternoons; volunteering at the zoo still on alternate Thursday mornings; working at Crocodile on Tuesdays and Fridays; and now contract working pretty much all the rest of the time at the museum, which is in a high state of panic about an upcoming exhibit. So I was kind of shocked to find that I had Thursday afternoon completely free after finishing up with the baboons. I got a call from Rat Girl around 11, saying she wasn't going in to work until 2 because they were doing repairs at the dairy; all she had to do was drive a truck full of whey to Monrovia in the afternoon. I figured, cool, we'll go for lunch downtown and hang out. Then over lunch it occurred to me that I was already wearing smelly, zoo-stained clothing, and that I had absolutely no other commitments for the afternoon. "Want company?" sez I. "Well....sure!" sez she. So I got to ride along in the truck while RG demonstrated her skillz at driving a cranky behemoth of a stickshift on the highway for the drive out to Monrovia. Why whey, you say? The dairy she works for makes cheese (though they don't have a cheesecam, sadly) and a byproduct of cheesemaking is whey--lots of whey. We had 2 enormous tanks of it in the back of the truck, and we were taking it to a pig farmer who uses it to feed his pigs. It's high in protein.... and also utterly repellant, it smells vile and includes chunks of semi-solid curd stuff that looks like vomit. The pigs love it. So we got out there and backed up the truck, and basically just attached a hose to each tank and used it to fill up about 8 oil drums of muck, while the pigs were all "ooo! ooo! can't wait!" We still had about half of one tank of whey left when the drums were full, so the farmer had us just dump it out in the middle of a field, making a sort of small swamp of grossness--thank god it got cold, or the smell would have been unimaginable by the following day, I expect. Naturally I got whey on my shoes, and RG almost "accidentally" sprayed me in the back with the barf hose, and it was stinky and gross and involved heavy lifting. And I loved every minute--it was a TOTALLY AWESOME way to spend an afternoon!