Features

A day at the farm

... the miracle of birth

by Betty Rossi



On Wednesday, July 29th, I made my wonderful day trip to East Hill Farm in
Troy, New Hampshire. As soon as I arrived, I was hustled out to the barn to see a
brand, spanking new calf that had just been born an hour before I arrived.
Cassie was there licking and cleaning her newborn baby girl, who was as big as a
nine year old human child. The calf was still soaking wet and couldn't stand
up yet. The ambiotic cord was still attached to the mom and she kept swishing
her tail until it was gone.

The calf, who they named Clementine,was the most beautiful little thing.
She tried and tried to stand up but couldn't because she kept slipping and
sliding in the sawdust curl bedding that had been laid down in Cassie's stall for
the birthing. The farmer said that if the calf had been born in the field at the
back of the barn, she would be standing up already. The grass would give her the
traction that she needed to stand up, but she couldn't get traction enough in the
sawdust to stand on her newborn, wobbly legs. Imagine standing up before
you are an hour old! The calf's little hooves kept slipping and sliding and she was
getting worn out trying to stand. Cassie was loaded with milk and she was trying
hard to help her baby so she could stand up and nurse. She laid down beside the
calf and then stood back up, licking her and pushing her, as if to say, "This is
how it's done".

Clementine was Cassie's second calf to be born at the farm, so she was an
"old Pro" and really knew her stuff. Mother and baby were getting exhausted, so
a couple of the kindest, gentlest most wonderful farm hands entered the
stall to help out. Cassie got kind of wide eyed as she watched them with her baby.
Sure enough, they stood Clementine up and held her steady for about five minutes.
They milked Cassie to relieve her, filling a bucket just in case they had to give
Clementine a bottle, if she couldn't nurse and to give her a little strength. It
was amazing to see the tenderness they showed to mother and calf. They taught her
how to nurse from her mother as we were standing there, never hesitating to explain
what they were doing. It was like being in a maternity ward and seeing the doctor
and nurses take care of an infant.

The sow had adorable piglets, but it was nothing compared to the birth of the beautiful,
well-formed Clementine, who could stand and nurse by herself by the time I left for home that
evening.

East Hill Farm is a working farm. They grow and cook their own food for the most part. Hearty, home cooking. They bake their own bread and don't throw out
what's not used. There is a paper bag on each family's table which the kids can feed to the donkeys, goats, chickens and pigs. While I was watching
Clementine, my grandson went to the chicken coop and found an egg. Thursday morning, the cook would be cooking it for him, Sunny-side up! A lot of the
chickens run free..in packs! They are a riot to watch. If one goes to the right, they all follow. They'll run from coop to barn and even the tractor waits
for them. They were definitely not the type of chickens you'd ask why they crossed the road!



There was plenty of horse back riding, s'more making, a hayride and a talent show, with the children guests as the talent. The older kids that are there
for the week, help the younger kids perform their "talents". My teenage granddaughter was the M.C., there were two "Taylor Swift's", Mind reading, some
cheerleaders, and my ten year old grandson who did scientific experiments for the crowd, using common household items. Baking soda inflated a balloon,
Mentos in cola created a volcano and some kind of stuff he used to make a bouncy ball. He also made some "oobleck" stuff, that was liquid and solid . If
you put your fingers into the mixture sickly, it was liquid, but if you tried to punch it down, it was a solid. Amazing stuff. There was mind reading, and
a hoola hooper who swung that thing while doing the Macarena.

A cocktail hour with or d'oeuvres for the adults and then dinnertime with salad, corn on the cob, meat pie, zucchini and squash combo, baked beans,
macaroni salad, stuffed mushrooms, grilled chicken and lemonade. You could gain thirty pounds at every meal. At lunch, I had homemade ice cream, a lemon
square, and a surf and turf delightful arrangement over salad. I think that the wheelbarrows that are around are for overeating, content guests!

Shuffleboard, volleyball, dodge ball, Spoons, card games of "Go Fish", swimming and a hayride and it was dark already. Once more to the barn to see Cassie
and Clementine, who both stood right up when we went in to say goodnight. They had brought into the barn a very black, very huge bull from the fields when
they brought in the horses for the night. I sure wouldn't want to meet up with him in
the fields. I believe his name was Milton. He looked like he weighed a couple of tons, but I'll bet that he could run like the wind.

Wonderful day, wonderful place, wonderful time. See them again next year!!



August 7, 2015


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