Monday, October 1, 2007

The Country Fair and Crafts Weekend at Hancock Shaker Village

Randall heifer Sally Ann with visitorsOn Saturday, September 29th., and Sunday, September 30th., Dianne and I exhibited calves at The Country Fair and Crafts Weekend at Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.Randall heifers Coleen and Sally Ann at Hancock Shaker Village On Sat., we took Randall heifers "Madison" and "Coleen". On Sunday, we left Madison at home and brought "Sally Ann" to join Coleen. This year was our 12th. exhibiting at the Village, we first started when the weekend was billed as an event for rare livestock breeds. The weather was great and the event was well attended. Phil

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Family Farm Festival

After going to the Silo Gallery opening the day before, on Sunday it was off to the Family Farm Festival in High Falls, New York. Cynthia Creech and Phil, once again accompanied by Randall heifers Sally Ann and Coleen, represented the Randall breed and the Registry at the annual event. It was the 4th year for the Festival, and it is growing quickly, with a large number of vendors and exhibitors, and a large crowd of attendees.

The weather was threatening, but no rain materialized to dampen the event. We talked to a lot of people about the Randalls, sustainable and local farming, and food issues in general. Cynthia was interviewed with the "girls" for a local (Hudson Valley) cable television news show.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Silo Gallery

We were invited to bring Randall calves to The Silo Gallery at Hunt Hill Farm in New Milford, CT, on Sepetember 8th. The occasion was the opening of the Smithsonian's Barn Again! exhibit, now permanently residing at the Gallery. The Silo Gallery won the exhibit in competition with many other Galleries.
Dianne and Phil, along with Cynthia Creech, took yearling calves Coleen and Sally Ann, and they were a hit with all in attendance.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

More Randalls in New Hampshire

Randall calves Marissa with Susan Junkins, and April with Karen DowningKaren Downing of Ossipee, New Hampshire, is the latest Randall cattle owner, congratulations! Karen and co-worker Susan Junkins came to the farm and took home Randall heifers "Marissa" and "April" to be the start of Karen's new herd. Karen (in photo, R, with April) and Susan (in photo, L, with Marissa), work at The Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm in Tamworth, New Hampshire, where Karen is the Livestock Manager. Karen's own farm in Ossipee is already home to flocks of sheep and chickens, and a pair of working steers.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

New barn roof!

The cow barn on Howland Homestead Farm, South Kent, CT, seen from the eastOur cow barn is the third to stand on its foundation. The first survived from the early 1800's to the early 1950's, when it burned from a lightning strike. In the same decade, 1959 to be exact, it burned again at the hands of a farmhand smoking in the haymow. The first two structures were traditional post and beam, but the latest is a Gothic arch roof made with glued trusses with an entirely free span inside.
Below is a slideshow showing before, after, and during the project. Larger photos can be found here.

The cow barn on Howland Homestead Farm, South Kent, CT, seen from the westThe new roof is this barn's third. Phil re-roofed it in the winter of 1978-79, when it was owned by his parents. In the last few years, shingles had blown off in spots, and an inspection revealed that repair would be costly and not extend the roof's life enough to justify it. So a decision was made to bite the bullet and have it re-roofed. The roofing job was completed by Gary Voelpel of Voelpel Brothers Roofing in Sherman, CT. Carpentry and painting was done by Transcend Carpentry of New Milford, CT.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A new Randall ox team

Elizabeth and Celeste Johnson of Naples NY with Randall ox team Anders and LarsCongratulations to Elizabeth and Bradley Johnson, and their daughter Celeste, for being the new owners of the latest team of Randall working steers! Cynthia Creech supplied a calf from her herd, as did we, to make up the 5 week old pair. "Anders" and "Lars" headed off to their new home in Naples, New York this afternoon. This is a nice looking, well matched team, and we're sure that they'll make fine oxen!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Randall calves on grass video

I took this video of Randall calves (L to R) April, Jim, Dandy, and Marisa with my still camera, so the quality isn't great. Click on the arrow in the lower left hand corner to play. Phil

Monday, May 28, 2007

Going to the Kent Farmer's Market

Howland Homestead's slot at the Kent CT Farmer's MarketLast Saturday, May 26, Phil started to attend the weekly Farmer's Market in Kent, selling mostly ground beef. The Market is held on the Kent Green every Saturday from 9-12 through the season which ends in late October. The vendors include 3 vegetable growers, a cheese maker, a baker, homemade soup, and a table selling homemade dog treats.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Visit to New Pond Farm

Randall calves Worm (standing) and Madison on display at New Pond Farm's May Fair 2007On Saturday, May 19, Phil, along with neighbor and fellow Randall cattle owner Cynthia Creech, spent the day at New Pond Farm in West Redding, CT. The event was their annual Founder's May Fair, and we went to exhibit calves and support the efforts of this great place. Randall calves "Madison" from our farm, and "Worm" (a rare red Randall heifer) were available for petting and viewing, and they behaved themselves beautifully.

May Fair 2007 at New Pond FarmNew Pond Farm is the legacy of actress Carmen Matthews, and serves as a natural resource/farming/educational center. The working farm milks 10 cows and sells milk, cheese, yogurt, and other farm products at an on-site store. One of their milking cows is Randall cow "Noreen", acquired as a calf from our farm. New Pond Farm also has a summer camp program. It's a great place to visit! To view a web album containing photos from this years' May Fair, click here. Album photos are best viewed in your browser's "Full Screen" mode.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Barn Swallows are back!

A barn swallow in the cow barnThe return of the first Barn Swallow to the farm is always an anticipated event. Conversely, it is hard not to feel a little sadness on the day in late August when all of the swallows, the ones that arrived in spring along with their now adult hatchlings, line up on the power wires in front of the barn to stage their departure. I have always loved the Barn Swallows from when I first knew them as a child visiting my grandparents on the farm.

A pair of early arriving barn swallowsWe almost lost our swallows in the late 70's-early 80's when the old original barns fell in and I removed them. Those old hand hewn beams were a hands down favorite place for the Barn Swallows to build their mud nests. We got down to only one nest in our newly rebuilt shop, and I worried that they would soon be gone. Although I know it's unlikely, I like to think that our swallows are direct descendants in an unbroken chain that traces back to when the first swallows discovered the Howland homestead over 200 years ago. Since we began farming actively and the cow barn is now open every day, our Barn Swallows have shifted their base of operations there, and we have multiple nests every year. Phil

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Off to New York

Mae and FloraWillie Denner and his daughter Mae came down from their farm in Chatham, New York, Little Seed Gardens, to pick up their new heifer, "Howland Homestead Flora". Flora is 4 weeks old, the latest daughter from our faithful milk cow "Dora". Flora goes to join "Nelly" and "Lana", also from our farm.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A new calf

Our Randall cow "Doreen" had a heifer calf today, "April". She was quickly cleaned off by mom despite being born in the mud as can be seen from the picture. She was up and nursing in no time. April joins "Coleen", her full sister from last year. A previous heifer of Doreen's was "Noreen", who lives at New Pond Farm in Redding, CT. Doreen's mom was "Pandora", a heifer we bought from Cynthia Creech, and who now lives on WitnessTree Farm in MO.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

...And another new Randall owner

Joanna Green of Newfield, NY, picked up her new Randall heifer yesterday, "Howland Homestead Betty". Betty will be joined by a Dexter calf, picked up on Joanna's return trip.
Joanna is an Associate with Cornell's Small Farms Program, and is editor of Small Farm Quarterly magazine.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Another new Randall owner!

Virginia Taylor is the latest person to start their Randall herd with an animal from Howland Homestead Farm. Virginia and her daughter Pip traveled from Virginia's "The Farm at Frost Corner" farm in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. They came to pick up "Howland Homestead Ariel", a 2 month old Randall calf. Ariel, a daughter of "Aphrodite", will be raised to be a homestead cow. Congratulations Virginia!

Monday, January 15, 2007

New Randall cattle owners

01/13/07: Congratulations to Bill and Sherri Battles and family of Westport, MA as new Randall cattle owners! Bill and Sherri have purchased Randall heifers Black Eyed Susan and Molly, and Randall steer Montgomery. Good luck with your new herd! The photo at left shows Bill and Sherri's daughters with Montgomery.