Carole Soule

Carole invites you to the Miles Smith Farm Easter Celebration on SATURDAY, April 3. Proceeds go towards our non-profit Learning Center Barn.

Is your spouse ignoring you? Kids tuning you out? Sick of a year of pandemic isolation?

For some people, living in semi-quarantine is a burden; for me, it's an excuse for spending more time on the farm.

My bubble includes a herd of cattle and other animals who have helped keep me sane. The bubble also includes my farm, which is my happy place. Most farmers love their farms. Why else would we go deep into debt to buy cattle that need to be fed and/or milked twice a day and endure all the hardships and inconveniences that we love to complain about? But assuming air travel was Covid-safe, and that husband Bruce and I had money for travel, where would we go to spend it? Paris? Thailand? They'd never let my "therapy animals" onto the plane.

So we stay home. And when I'm sick of paying bills, my first thought is to go to the pasture and visit Topper. He's a 1,500-pound Scottish Highlander ox who will walk up to me and rest his shaggy head on my shoulder while I scratch his neck. Born on the farm nine years ago, Topper and his new partner, Finn, are a team. I put a yoke on them, and with a goad stick and my voice, they do what I ask. Sometimes I don't even have to ask. (Cattle can read minds.) Working my oxen is my idea of fun, and it's unimpeded by the pandemic, just as petting our animals is my idea of comfort.

Do you want to try the "cow-cuddling cure"? Do you want to feel the soft breathing of a cow, look into those big brown eyes, smell a cow's sweet breath, and feel the warmth of that big body (101.5 degrees)? You can, on Saturday, April 3, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sometimes the untimely arrival of manure can break the spell, but it's nothing among friends. It's all part of the earthy package that is available for a single fee. You and seven friends or family (eight total) can spend an hour petting, scratching, and even sitting on a steer (if you are under 130 pounds) for the Miles Smith Farm Easter Celebration — on Saturday, not Sunday.

Cow-cuddling not only makes me feel better, it reminds me that I'm doing what I love: farming. But I'm willing to share.

It costs $60 and reservations are required. They can be made at: (https://www.learningnetworksfoundation.com/book-now/). Proceeds go to building the Learning Barn, where humane methods of raising livestock will be offered for adults and children.

Stress will always be with us, but farms — with their rolling pastures, their lazily grazing livestock, and their harmonious blending of nature and industry — are here to feed your body and soul. Whether you are visiting the animals, buying local products from our solar store, or simply enjoying the view, we are here for you.

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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. She can be reached at cas@milessmithfarm.com.

 

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