This past week on the farm was an exciting one; we gained four new members and had one fabulous visitor. First, Seth and I drove to Vermont and bought a bull. We wanted a bull because we have six lady-cows and we'd like them all to calve next spring, and there are no bulls of our particular breed in the immediate vicinity. Our breed is the American Milking Devon, which is a now-rare breed of cattle that was the first type of cattle brought to North America, or at least to what is now the Northeast United States. Despite the specificity of the name, one of the best things about these cows is that they are bred to retain the tri-purpose nature with which they arrived on this continent: they can be trained as oxen, used for milk production, and also eaten for beef. In fact, there are even stories of single cows being milked and worked as oxen at the same time, and still tasting delicious at the end of their lives. So, we got us a daddy cow, and so far he seems to fit right in with our herd. His former keeper called him Billy Bob, though he doesn't have an official name. We get to choose it, and the only rule is that is has to start with Meadowbrook since that was the name of the farm where he was born. We're thinking of Meadowbrook Nebuchadnezzar, at my dad's suggestion, but we're still open to other ideas. Let us know if you have any, preferably starting with "N."
I haven't taken this guy's portrait yet, but he looks pretty much like all the others except he's got horns and they come straight out from the sides of his head.
We finally have sheep! I have to say I was about ready to send them to the freezer on their first full day here, but I think we've moved past that phase (for now), and today they look and sound cute. I think they're Coopworths, which is a breed that's especially well known for their silky longwool fleeces. And my dear friend Eliza, who is not an ovine but a homo sapiens, is modeling one of the three little buggers we just acquired in the two photos below.
Eliza was a major trooper during a multi-hour sheep chasing mission over the weekend, and also a superb bundle of energy and adventuresomeness during her three-day stay here at North Branch Farm. Thank you, thank you, thank you!