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My Relationship to Blain the Bull

It might seem that a calf born on the farm lives out his life there. That's true of 90 percent of the herd at Miles Smith Farm. But some cattle, especially Blain-the-bull, have more-interesting careers. I met Blain in 2016 when husband Bruce and I trucked three heifers, a cow/calf pair, and a bull to a cattle auction in Earlville, New York. Blain weighed 1,000-pounds, back then. With short legs and a muscular body, he was more impressive than most other bulls, regardless of breed. Short legs mean there's less bodyweight that doesn't add value. Extra muscling does add value so short legs, and a massive body are desired in a bull so these traits can be passed along. His physique was impressive, but he was also easy to handle.

How to Eat Local and Save Time

August is "New Hampshire Eat Local Month." It's a 31-day occasion worth observing. (Not to be confused with "Eat Locals"). When you purchase local food the benefits ripple through the community, helping the farms and businesses that support them.

How to Herd Cows the Civilized Way

What I've learned about working with cattle is simple. Get them to think your plan was their idea, and you'll win every time. Successful negotiation involves getting your counterpart to do the work for you; to suggest your solution.

How to Speak to Horses and Cows

´╗┐Guidance means using the reins to steer and squeeze with one leg or another to encourage the horse to move in the desired direction. Steering a horse matters, but where you look also makes a difference. Look at the ground, and you are likely to end up there. Set your sights on the middle of the trail and the horse will likely go there. Driving instructors give similar advice: Look at the shoulder of the road, and you'll end up in a ditch. Look in the middle of the lane, and you stay on the road.

What Do Cows With Big Horns Have to Prove?

At Miles Smith Farm, we have two kinds of cattle: Scottish Highlanders and Angus/Hereford cross-breeds. There are many differences between these breeds, but one is particularly striking. The Highlanders, both males, and females have enormous horns, and the others do not. In ancient times all cattle had horns, but as a result of selective breeding, many breeds of cattle lost their horns.