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Middle Manager; Eleanor-the-Donkey.

A business of any size needs good middle-managers, and here at Miles Smith Farm, we have a donkey who has promoted herself to "petting-zoo supervisor." She leads a crew of adopted critters who act as farm ambassadors. Because of their small size and gentle natures, they connect with children and adults better than 1,000-pound cows.

Becoming a Calf Mother

Weaning is that special time when I get to bond and snuggle with this year's calves. To make the separation less stressful for the calf and its mom, we sequester the calves in the front of the holding pen, separated from the moms by a metal gate. Each cow can see her baby and know he's OK. Each calf can sniff his mom, but because they no longer have access to her milk, we dish out high-protein feed and plenty of hay. The calves have learned to eat hay and grain by watching Mom, so there is no danger of starvation.

A Generous Cow and a Mooching Calf

As happens with most pregnant cows, about two weeks before giving birth both cows' udders swelled with milk. They were pastured with a herd of Scottish Highlanders that included cows with nursing calves. Calves are always hungry and can be opportunists. One calf named Hamish, enticed by Keeper's massive teats, decided to nurse on Keeper; Keeper let her! Hamish was a moocher, and Keeper was a willing "milk machine."

My Pig and Your Pets Could Be At Risk

We reluctantly use poison to control rodents and had stashed it, we thought, out of reach. Unfortunately, Sparkle found the container, opened it, and ate its contents. I immediately called my veterinarian, who gave me the ASPCA "Poison Hot-Line" number.

An Orphaned Calf Finds a Friend

Murray (left) and June will be available for snuggling at Miles Smith Farm at the next Elspeth's Place fundraiser on Sept 25 and 26. It will be by appointment -- you don't want to stand in line these days.

The Continuing Adventures of Blain, the bull

"Why would I sell the best bull I ever owned?" The thing is, I don't need a bull anymore. On Miles Smith Farm, the breeding window is only six weeks in July and August. But I still have to take good care of my bull the other 46 weeks. During the long New Hampshire winter, that means buying him huge amounts of expensive hay.