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...

Dances with Weather, Winter Weather

By on Jan 22, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 2 comments

It was going to be a cold night so Bruce and I had to work fast. Temperatures had been in the 40s and 50s for a few days and all the manure and water that was previously frozen had thawed to sea of six-inch muck. If we waited the muck would freeze solid, impossible to clear away. Winter farming is a dance with weather that changes from day to day. Freezing temperatures turn boot-sucking mud into a solid surface; slippery and hard to walk on. A mini heat wave in winter can turn frozen surfaces into muck especially where there is manure.  As soon as it turns warm the manure melts. Cattle standing in the muck makes it worse.  We call these problem spots, “loafing areas.” Clean loafing areas are important to cattle health. If cattle lie down in the muck they’ll get wet and cold. Besides animal health, there is another reason to keep cattle areas clean; food for human...

What does it take to Train a Four Year Old?

By on Jan 14, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

All four feet were off the ground as the thousand-pound steer leapt into the air. I didn’t think a steer could jump so high but Stash was definitely airborne just to avoid stepping on a stone boat lying still on the ground. Stash is a four-year-old Scottish Highlander steer I was training for his new job as an oxen. Four years is old to start training a steer to work in a yoke. Usually, I start my teams at six months or younger. It is far easier to correct a two hundred pound critter than a full grown steer who has his own way of doing things. Young steers think of their trainer as an older, wiser cow and typically learn commands quickly. As they get older they start thinking for themselves and it can be hard to train them. You know the saying, “Can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” I started my first team on Miles Smith Farm at six months old. Topper and Flash were...

Escaped Calves and Fencing Woes

By on Jan 12, 2017 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

The scrap bucket was empty and the feed bunker a mess. Who had done this? Who would trash the hay and steal the pig food? This was clearly the work of the delinquents; Rowdy and Hemingway. With snow on the ground, it is very hard to keep a strong charge in the 10+ miles of electric fence that separate the pastures on our farm. At Miles Smith Farm we try to keep a good charge in the pig fencing and make sure the bull’s fence is charged but it is almost impossible to keep all the other fences fully charged. For the most part, the cattle respect the fence wires, even if there is little to no charge in them. The babies, not so much. Rowdy is a seven-month-old calf and Hemingway is two months old. Both are Scottish Highlanders and are buddies. They hang out together, play together and escape together. The weakest charge in the fence is in the gates. Each calf ducks under the wire gate...