Homemade Detergent and Soap for Everyone

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

When I’m getting my hair cut or I’m at the feed store I wonder if anyone will notice the mud on my boots or crusted dirt on my cargo pants. Cargo pants, with their many pockets, are regulation farm-wear for me. Before cargo pants, I frequently lost my cell phone, literally. It would slip out of its holder and hide in the grass, on silent ringer, lost, literally. One side pocket of my cargo pants holds my phone the other my knife and glasses. Every farmer needs to keep a knife handy and this farmer needs glasses. Extra pants pockets make all the difference. Farming dictates my clothing choices but it also changed my laundry choices as well. I have discovered that it was easy to ditch commercial laundry soap for my own homemade variety. Not only do I save money making my own laundry soap I also avoid washing my clothes with harsh chemicals. Making laundry soap is so easy I...

Agriculture at the Deerfield Fair

By on Oct 4, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

It only rained one day at the Deerfield Fair this year. Our hairy cattle didn’t mind the cold wet weather but it chilled me to the bone. Most livestock are okay in the cold but humans not so much. Thankfully, the fair had tents and buildings to shelter us frail farmers from the weather. This year the Deerfield Fair had a special surprise for sheep, goat and llama exhibitors; a new barn. Two huge buildings were built in part of the parking lot to be used by small animal exhibitors. The larger of the two buildings housed livestock and the smaller was used for sales of wool, knit hats, fiber and a show ring all in the spirit of advocating for agriculture. Yes, the Deerfield Fair and many New Hampshire fairs, have a midway with rides that turn you upside down and inside out, but they also are the best place to get up close and personal with livestock. Where else can you pet a cow,...

Birds and Hurricanes

By on Sep 26, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

As I watched from my window a chickadee parent fed her baby, also in flight. The young bird grabbed the meal and continued on its way. The bird parents were teaching their babies how to grab insects in mid-air by feeding them in flight. That was earlier this year and by now, late summer, the babies are all fully trained in the art of mid-air feeding and are feasting on insects to make it through the winter. Birds are always with us until they aren’t. Recently hurricanes have pounded through the Carribean; not just once but many times. Irma destroyed the U.S. Virgin islands of St. Thomas and St. John but just missed St. Croix, also a U.S. Virgin Island where I have family and have frequently visited. While many hurricanes have touched down on St. Croix the worst was Hugo in 1989. The twenty-seven-mile island was not only devastated by Hugo but when it was gone, so were the birds....

Agression in the Barnyard

By on Sep 20, 2017 in Carole's Corner |

As he hovered over Charlotte, my 800-pound “pet” sow, Bucky lunged. I felt his hot breath on my hand as he snapped at me with his tusks stopping short inches from my hand. Bucky, a normally well-mannered boar was being protective of Charlotte. I was injecting her twice a day with medicine to help her recover from an illness. When I injected her, Charlotte would squeal and grunt her displeasure but ultimately put up with the twice-daily shots. Not so Bucky. This is the same Bucky who tried to rescue one of his offspring a few weeks ago. Then he was a concerned Dad; today he was a concerned husband to Charlotte. He saw and sensed that she didn’t like the injections so he decided to take action. He would not back off and hung around Charlotte ready to protect her from the “attack of the needle.” Like so many of us, Bucky was acting on partial information. He only understood...

Delinquent Pigs on the Run

By on Sep 13, 2017 in Carole's Corner |

The pigs were bouncing through the cow pasture barking at the turkeys and snorting at the calves. It was a delightful, happy scene except for one thing. These little piggies were escapees from their pig pasture across the road and occasionally snuck to our neighbor’s yard to steal apple drops. While fencing pigs is not complicated, it is fussy. These delinquent pigs each weigh about eighty pounds, just small enough to dive under the plastic handle. The handle is insulated so if they move quickly the handle will roll off their backs as they dive, at lightning speed, under it. Braver pigs dive under the bare wire to make their escape, risking a fleeting zap as they escape. Pigs are smart and once they see a sibling escape they all copy the move. They never go far and always return to the pig shed but it just wouldn’t do to have twenty-one piglets terrorizing the neighbor and...

Coming Home from the Hopkinton Fair

By on Sep 7, 2017 in Carole's Corner |

When I returned from the show ring with my oxen on Monday night the crew was already packing up our barn at the Hopkinton State Fair. I was exhausted and the cattle were ready to go home but we all had to wait until the posters, wheel barrow, show trunk, yokes and other stuff was jammed into the goose neck trailer. The barn had to be clean or we would face a $100 fine. The cattle, tied to the outside of the trailer, waited patiently for us to finish so they could be loaded up for the trip home. It was dark when we pulled into the farm and I unloaded the animals by trailer lights (the barn yard lights stopped working a few months ago) into a “quarantine pen,” where the cattle will stay separated from the rest of the herd for at least 10 days. Even though all the cattle are inspected for diseases when they arrive at the fair grounds, animals stabled together for 4 ½ days can still get...