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A Calf's Birth Made It a Blessed Event

April 25, 2022

At our Easter, 2022 event, Ferdinand the white bull (left) and Baby Face, the red cow, enjoyed alfalfa cube treats tossed to them by visitors at the Easter event at Miles Smith Farm in Loudon. The day was also blessed with a surprise visit from the bovine stork.

"I didn't realize I'd see so many Highlander cattle today. And I never expected them to be so friendly," said Sally. "I fell in love with Harmony. She is so huggable." Visitors at our Easter event hugged Harmony and Daffodil, two 6-month-old Scottish Highlander heifers. The goats got brushed, and Eleanor, the donkey, got lots of scratches. Sandra Boynton's CD "Philadelphia Chickens," my all-time favorite farm CD, played in the background, and I started dancing whenever I heard the song "Cows." Here are a few lines:

"Cows. We're remarkable COWS. And wherever we go, it's a fabulous show. Oh, you know we are COWS. A turn of the head and a swish of the tail, and a tippity-tap of the toes. What a glorious sight in black and white and a touch of pink at the nose!"

If only Harmony and Daffodil would kick up their heels like the Radio City Rockettes in time to this imaginary musical revue! I recommend Boynton's moo-sic video for those who like show tunes and cows. Go to YouTube and type in "Seldom Herd." 

The event meant snacks for the livestock. Guests tossed inch square alfalfa cubes over the fence to the cattle and hand-fed cubes to cattle waiting patiently at the feed bunker. Curious Bleu, the riding steer got paid a carrot for each child who sat on his back. It's true; Bleu (and most of my livestock) will work for food.

Therapy Cows

Sponsored by Learning Networks Foundation, the nonprofit sister organization to Miles Smith Farm, the event's goal was to demonstrate the healing power of livestock. Something about snuggling with a calf or feeding a cow makes humans feel good. And everyone who visited that day got a hefty dose of "feel good" when we had a new arrival during the event.

I'd checked the immensely pregnant Ethel that morning. No calf then, but when I checked again at 1 p.m., there she was, a beautiful baby. No one saw the birth, which isn't unusual. I've witnessed only about a dozen births out of hundreds of calves born on the farm. But guests did get to see the next step. They watched Trish Taylor, farm friend and foundation board member, and I herd Ethel and wobbly-legged daughter toward the holding pen. Ethel was reluctant to comply, but when Joe, one of my New Hampshire Technical Institute students helping that day, carried the baby into the pen, Ethel followed.

We named this Easter-Eve baby "Bunny."

The Cow Stork

Another visitor on Saturday was Jingle, a puppy I'd brought back from St. Croix in January and given to Trish. Jingle was unimpressed by the new calf, but he loved wrestling with my dogs and jumping on giggling children.

I want to take credit for planning a birth at our event, but Bunny's arrival was managed by the bovine stork and mama Ethel. On your next visit, the stork might deliver another one. After all, we are expecting 11 more spring calves.

Carole Soule

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