Last year Stash played the role of Rudolph the Red-Nosed-ReinSteer at Miles Smith Farm. This year Bear, a young Highlander, will play the role.

Another year has flown by, and it's time to celebrate winter and the holidays. The Scottish Highlander cattle of Miles Smith Farm are ready to party; if "party" means eating extra hay.

Cattle eat lots of hay, and when the weather is cold, they eat even more. My Highlanders are right at home in the cold. Their thick skin, coarse hair, and natural insulation help, but they also need energy to stay warm. So we have over $15,000 worth of hay waiting to feed them this winter. Some of my cattle have too much stored energy, also known as fat. These Highlanders, Topper, Red, Bleu, Galen, and Cooper, plus Belle the milking shorthorn, could stand to lose 100 pounds each. No, I'm not body-shaming them! Too much weight is hard on their joints, so they are on the farm weight-loss plan. They are in a separate pasture and receiving reduced rations. But we still give them the occasional pumpkin treat, smashed and tossed to them by farm visitors. Unfortunately, most of my pumpkins are frozen, so if you have some un-frozen pumpkins, bring them out to feed the cattle.

Once again, this year, Rudolph the Red-Nosed-ReinSteer will welcome farm guests. Last year Stash tolerated his red-nose ornament and stood quietly for pictures, but, unfortunately, he passed on last March. This year 2-year-old Bear will make his debut in that role.

Curious Bleu will be saddled up for kids to sit on as the horses and goats watch. Rudolph will pose next to his sled while Eleanor the donkey, Abbie the sheep, Tazzy, the pig, wander around the barnyard begging for carrots and back-scratches. There will also be calves to brush, bunnies to cuddle, hot chocolate to drink, and marshmallows to roast over a fire. Gina still has not delivered. She's so big she might have twins, so there might also be a newborn calf or two to cuddle.

If this sounds like a good time, come on out to the farm on Thursday, Dec. 23, and Friday, Dec. 24, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Admission is $5 per person, and proceeds will finish the Learning Barn.

We need to know who is coming, so please reserve your spot at


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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