Rain, a Scottish Highlander cow

Rain, a Scottish Highlander cow, investigates a pile of pumpkins. Cattle love eating pumpkins, but because they only have bottom teeth, they prefer theirs smashed. Pumpkin smashing anyone? (Courtesy photo)

The frost is on the pumpkin, which is terrific for my cattle. Freezing then thawing makes squash squishy and easier for my bovines to chomp into. We still have many pumpkins for want-to-be pumpkin smashers, so come to the farm during store hours to feed the cows pumpkins.

Meanwhile, we've been getting ready for winter on the farm. Trough water heaters are installed, and over $15,000 of hay is waiting to be fed during the winter. Fortunately, most of our herd is still enjoying the green grass and warm weather at the Audubon pasture in Concord. They will be there until after Thanksgiving, not because they'll be out of grass, but because their water will freeze. Without electricity, we have no way to keep water liquid in that pasture.

I’m not thrilled about the cold weather; it makes my fingers and toes hurt but the animals don’t seem to mind. As long as they have plenty of water and hay, they never complain, unless we’re late serving dinner. But it’s not the bitter cold as much as early winter darkness that challenges me. Most nights I have to force myself to stay awake until 8 p.m. Dark makes me tired.

I've been reading about Ivermectin lately, which is something I know about.

Livestock farmers rely on Ivermectin to control internal and external parasites in livestock. When Curious Bleu, a Scottish Highlander steer, tries to scratch those hard-to-reach spots with his massive horns, I know he's got winter lice. If Bleu has them, it's time to treat the entire herd. Horns make great back scratchers but can't reach everywhere and don't get rid of the cause, biting lice. In summer, heat kills the lice, but they thrive in cool weather.

This year it's been hard to find Ivermectin. I hope my supply will be enough to treat my herd this fall. I heard that humans are using it too. Those who use it will be free of gastrointestinal roundworms, lungworms, grubs, sucking lice, mange mites, and gastrointestinal roundworms.

So if you these are your issues, you're probably a cow, so congratulations on being able to read this! But if you are a human, Ivermectin is not the drug for you. Please leave the remaining Ivermectin for the livestock. Farmers rely on it to keep our herds healthy.

Don't forget to bring your left-over pumpkins to the farm for smashing. The barnyard is open Monday-Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for your pumpkin-smashing enjoyment.

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Author Carole Soule is co-owner of Miles Smith Farm in Loudon, N.H., where she raises and sells beef, pork, lamb, eggs, and other local products.

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