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...

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...

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...

What do Cattle, Pigs and Kitchen Scraps have in Common?

By on Jan 30, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

Charlotte knocked the tub out of my hands and coleslaw tumbled to the ground. She was clearly excited about the kitchen scraps I was feeding, so excited she acted like a pig. Charlotte is actually a seven hundred pound friendly sow who smells like maple syrup. She has lived at Miles Smith Farm ever since she dodged being turned into bacon three years ago. Pigs are omnivores and need protein to survive and thrive. We feed our young piglets a grain mix but we feed the older sows (female pigs) and our boar (male pig) a variety of food. Since these older pigs are not growing much they can eat different types of food including kitchen scraps. Kitchen scraps are created when chefs prepare meals and can include kale, lettuce stems, fruit, assorted vegetables, cake, pasta and bread but never meat. Kitchen waste is a huge problem for chefs and in most cases goes into a dumpster and then to the...