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Lonely? In a Herd? Not me!

April 12, 2020

The two standing cows in this picture are pregnant; Virginia (left) and Francine (right). Which do you think will give birth first?

Watch my daily videos from the farm and meet the calves as they are born.

Now that the pandemic is the new normal, we can all look back with nostalgia to the good, old days – in February! Remember when you could hug a friend or buy toilet paper? Now we have to keep to ourselves and wear masks when we get anywhere near other people.

Husband Bruce and I are used to staying put for days at a time; in winter and early spring anyway. Chores, including the need to feed cows twice a day, keep us on-campus. Our icy New Hampshire weather often called for face-coverings, so the current call for masks is not new for us.

When I venture out to buy groceries or for interacting with our drive-up meat customers, I wear a stylish homemade mask. However, it takes some getting used to. It occasionally slips down, my glasses fog up, and breathing is harder with it. But I persist because, even though I'm symptom-free, who knows? I wear it to protect others. I have a new respect for healthcare workers who wear them all the time. (Of course, that's in addition to my tremendous respect and gratitude for their courage and service on the front lines of this war.)

Have you looked back at the old days and thought how the decisions, big and small, that you made then are affecting your life now? The funeral you decided to skip? The lunchtime page-turner novel that you left half-finished at your office? The dental work that you put off? In February, in an unusual moment of foresight, we set up an online ordering system for our farm store, and we processed some extra cattle for beef. The online ordering system has made buying the beef simple and is now feeding hungry customers.

Those were fortunate decisions. Another good one would've been to get a haircut. But I didn't. Fortunately, I have an extensive collection of baseball caps to wear so as not to alarm our customers when they drive-up to receive their orders of meat. These times are frightening enough.

How are you coping? For me, it's the usual bovine therapy. Time spent with my cows, bulls, heifers and steers soothes my soul. It's a rare privilege these days to spend time in a herd that is not able to catch or transmit COVID-19. For the past week or so, I've been sharing my moo-time with one and all. Every day I post a video of farm activities on the farm website, so you can enliven your downtime watching cows try to lick my camera or run to the big hay bale for dinner.

As you think about the future, include a cow in your thoughts. If you want to relieve your self-isolation, stop by the farm and watch the cattle from the safety of your car or check out my daily videos. We have a bunch of calves due to be born any day. Little do they suspect they are about to become video stars.

Carole Soule

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