Pigs and Beer

By on Mar 19, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

What do beer and pigs have in common? If you said, “Beer drinking pigs,” you might be right. I have seen pigs and other livestock drink beer but that is not what I had in mind. Depending on the taste, different types of grains are used to make beer. Mashing is a step in the brewing process that combines grain with hot water to convert complex starches into simple sugars. After about an hour of brewing, the grain is drained and rinsed to extract sugars. That’s what the brewer wants: sugars, which is the starting place for fermentation. Left behind is the starchy grain. Because the grain has been brewed it’s called “spent grain,” or “brewer’s grain,” and can be an excellent feed for everything from pigs to chickens. Because Miles Smith Farm cattle are grass fed we don’t feed the cows spent grain but our pigs are another story. Pigs are omnivores with digestive systems...

Do you milk your cows?

By on Mar 13, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

The two-day-old bull calf was weak and not interested in nursing on his mother, a black Scottish Highlander cow. The mother cow’s teats were too large for this little fellow to get in his mouth. If we didn’t do something, he would starve. Scottish Highlanders are beef cattle that produce just enough milk to nourish their calves. Beef cattle are, well, beefy with backs and butts that are well muscled to produce steaks and roasts. A good beef cow has small udders which are easy for baby calves to nurse on. On the other hand, dairy cows are bred to produce milk, not beef. The back of a dairy cow might look thin but their udders, where the milk is, are typically large. Large udders on a dairy cow are a bonus and can mean good milk production. Large udders on a beef cow can be a problem which was the case with Flash, the bull calf who wasn’t nursing. Most beef cattle are...

Legislators aim to make ‘ritual slaughter’ inclusive of more faiths

By on Mar 2, 2017 in Stories | 0 comments

Grinding through a bill about livestock and meat inspection, legislators have spent a lot of time on one, short section: which faiths are permitted to perform animal slaughter in accordance with religious beliefs. The proposed legislation originated from a 2016 study committee examining livestock and meat regulations. Slaughter according to Jewish religious ritual was already allowed, and the study committee decided that slaughter required by Islamic religious ritual should be permitted, too. Both methods require an animal to be alive, not shocked, shot or otherwise harmed prior to slaughter, to be performed by someone of the Jewish or Muslim faith, and to be done with a single, swift slice to the throat. Not everyone in the House Committee on Environment and Agriculture agrees with the bill’s more inclusive terminology. Meeting minutes show that on Feb. 14, Republican Rep. Anne Copp...

Boscawen therapeutic riding program looking for new home

By on Mar 2, 2017 in Stories | 0 comments

Everything about Whispering Horse Stable is understated, quiet. The therapeutic riding center is obscured behind Tim Reese’s Boscawen home on Corn Hill Road. Its small barn is occupied by just one horse, Cloud Dancer – also known as C.D. And most days this winter – due to abundant ice and snow – owner Heather Wunschel said she’s mostly stayed inside, completing barn chores and leaving rides on C.D. until mud season ends. By that time, though, Wunschel will need a new place to run her business. She said that Reese informed her that the current barn space will no longer be available as of April 15, her one-year anniversary of opening the business. Wunschel is now on the lookout for a new home in Boscawen. If she can find one before the warmer season, her business will be bustling: she’ll again start up riding lessons for her two current clients, bring in her volunteers from last summer...

Sap Loving Cattle

By on Feb 24, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

The black and white steer was clearly drinking sap from a maple bucket hanging from a tree pictured in a Facebook post. I thought that my cattle were the only “sap-sucking” culprits but, apparently, my herd is not alone. We had to stop collecting sap in our pastures because the cattle would tear off the plastic sap lines and lick the sweet water flowing from our maple trees. February and March are when farmers stay up all night to boil sap into thick, delicious maple syrup. It takes forty gallons of maple sap to make one gallon of syrup. Warm days and cold nights in late winter and early spring are required for good a flow of usable sap. In the right conditions, farmers can be overwhelmed with sap. When the sap starts flowing it has to be stored and when storage space runs low it has to be boiled down to make maple syrup. Farmers will literally stay up all night to boil sap and check...

Calves and Coyotes

By on Feb 20, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

After over two hours in the woods searching for the lost calf we all stopped. In that spot the smell of death was overwhelming. The calf had been here but it was obvious he was gone forever. Later, I realized I was smelling blood soaked ground. We were in the forest,  just fifty feet from the edge of a Miles Smith Farm fenced pasture. I could see the cows grazing and hear their mooing. I’d seen this silver calf a few days earlier, just after he was born. He ran off across the field as I approached. In the time I took to get my ATV to follow him, he was out of sight. Completely invisible. I had been waiting for nine months for this cow to have her calf and now the calf had vanished. Usually, when calves run off they eventually come back to their mothers. The mother moos if she can’t find her calf and the calf will return to nurse. We usually move a mother and her new calf...

Bill would take away local control of agritourism

By on Feb 15, 2017 in Stories | 0 comments

Less than a year after legislators approved a bill defining how municipal bodies should treat agritourism, the New Hampshire Senate is considering another bill that would completely remove local regulation on the issue. During a Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee hearing, the bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Bob Giuda, argued that the law passed in 2016 didn’t go far enough to protect the commercial interests of farmers. “We are allowing our local communities … to define commerce in our state,” he said. “That is not a power we give to our towns and communities.” Giuda said his proposed amendments to the law were necessary in light of several ongoing lawsuits that pit farmers who want to diversify and host weddings to stay in business against their neighbors who want peace and quiet on the weekend. “The law is being used against individuals by other individuals because we...

The Oldest Profession might not be what you think

By on Feb 11, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

“I want to see the Guinea Pig,” asked Mason. “No, Mason, it’s a Mini Pig, not a Guinea Pig,” explained his mother. Mason, a five-year-old boy and his parents, were spending the night at our Farm House Inn and wanted to snuggle with Tazzy, our mini porch pig. Miles Smith Farm is a working pig and cattle farm and most of our income comes from selling meat. No matter how hard we work our sales don’t quite cover farm operations. With a $30,000 yearly hay bill, $12,000 yearly electric bill plus taxes, mortgage, heat and more we often wonder how we can pay our bills. How do we manage? We brought back a tradition that is just as old as farming: Agritourism. Many think that Agritourism is a new thing; it’s not. “Agritourism has been part of the fabric of agriculture in New Hampshire for generations. If anything, the increase in attention of late is a revival,” according to...