Oxen Should Be Beefy, But Not Porky
Submitted By Carole Soule
Author Carole Soule with Stash (left) and Topper (right)
at a 2017 event at Canterbury Shaker Village.
is that cow going to give birth?” asked dairyman Bob as he pointed
to my black Scottish Highlander. “Uh, probably never,” I replied,
disconcerted. “Stash is a boy. I guess he needs to go on a diet,” I
added, looking at Stash's bulging belly.
a 6-year-old steer, is an “easy keeper,” which means he doesn't need
a lot of food to gain weight. He is fat. Very fat. Obese really.
Some lucky humans can eat candy, ice cream and pie with impunity,
while others can gain weight at the salad bar. Stash is like one of
the latter. He seems to gain weight by just breathing air, while
other bovines struggle to keep the pounds on – especially cows with
might look gaunt, but her calf will be chunky. That's because her
energy goes into producing milk for the baby. When that rich diet of
mother's milk brings the calf's weight 400 to 500 pounds, the calf
is weaned, and the mother's own weight will come back.
skinny calf usually stays slight as he grows; a fat baby grows up to
be a fat bovine. Conventionally raised beef cattle are fed grain to
plump them up. But cows' stomachs aren't built to process lots of
grain. It's not always good for them so Miles Smith Farm cattle only
eat grass and hay, as well as apples, carrots, pineapple, pumpkins,
cantaloupe rinds, and other fruit and vegetable scraps kindly
provided by Shaw's in Gilford, or Grappone Conference Center in
started life as an average-size calf and grew up to be one of a pair
of oxen that competes at county fairs, dragging loads upon command.
Cattle are heavy, but at 1,400 pounds Stash is too hefty by about
150 pounds. And just like an obese person, he has to work hard to
carry those extra pounds. That kind of weight causes fatigue and
puts stress on a creature's joints and heart.
beef-cattle farmers, the notion of a steer that's overweight is like
a joke that's too funny. For obvious reasons, beef farmers celebrate
meatiness. (Two years in a row Topper and Stash have won the Best
Fat Cattle Championship at the Hopkinton State Fair with trophies
displayed in our farm store.) Steers are generally bound for the
dinner table, but working oxen like Stash and Topper are really more
time permits, we'll fortify the farm's internal fences so we can
sequester Stash and control his access to food. When summer rolls
around, visitors will be admiring his powerful physique instead of
wondering when Stash Jr. is due.
Letter To The Editor
year since 1993, the President declares January 16 to be “Religious
Freedom Day,” and calls upon Americans to “observe this day through
appropriate events and activities in homes, schools, and places of
worship.” It commemorates the anniversary of the 1786 passage of the
Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom penned by Thomas Jefferson.
The drafters of the US Constitution leaned heavily on Jefferson's
Statute in establishing the First Amendment's guarantee of religious
freedom. Today that protection is as important as ever.
many instances, uninformed public school teachers tell students they
cannot include their faith in their homework or classroom
discussions. The US Dept. of Education has issued guidelines
explaining students' religious liberties making an administrator's
job easier because it clarifies that schools need not be “religion
free zones.” Freedom of speech can take different forms. It
includes what you say to other people as well as to God in prayer;
it includes what you write in school assignments or create in art
class; it includes the words you give to a friend either by speaking
or in writing.
message students need to hear is that they shouldn't feel like they
have to be “undercover” about their religion. Religious
Freedom Day is an opportunity for a civics lesson regarding
Americans' freedom to express and live out their faith.
commemorating this day, schools could have an assembly or ask
teachers to recognize it in classrooms. Sample activities:
the Presidential Proclamation-
read the annual Thanksgiving Day proclamation once during morning
students write a paper on “What religious freedom means to me.”
Distribute copies of the USDOE's guidelines on students' religious
about countries where religious freedom is not allowed under penalty
Josiah Carpenter Library January News
of Winter Fest parents and children are invited to a Pajama Story
Hour at the library on Sunday January 20th at 6:30pm. The
pajama time will last about one hour; come to enjoy stories, a craft
and simple refreshment.
Hour for babies, preschoolers, families and caregivers meets on
Thursday at 10:00am will be having fun exploring winter and
transportation. The Adventures Club (kindergarten thru 3rd
grade) that meets on Tuesday at 3:30pm, Creating Adventures (3rd
thru 6th grade) that meets Wednesday afternoons at 2:00pm will
also explore winter, then take on some Lego design challenges.
Book Worms will gather at 6:30pm on Tuesday January 8th to discuss
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee.
The Pittsfield Writer’s Circle will meet at 6:30pm on Tuesday
January 22nd, bring your latest work to share and hone with this
dedicated group of writers. The adult book club will meet at
10:30 am on Tuesday January 22nd at the Pittsfield Senior Center to
discuss The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui;
which is described as “a book to break your heart and heal it.”
Anyone who would like to join the book discussions can pick up the
books at the library, come and enjoy some spirited conversation.
next gathering of the Chichester-Epsom-Pittsfield Libraries Memory
Café will be held at 2:00pm on Monday January 14th at the Epsom
Public Library. George Robbins will be present to share the
joys of bird-watching. Local caregivers and folks living with
memory loss are invited to come and relax in a supportive
environment, refreshments will be served.