From the farm: Three calves land in livestock heaven

Miles Smith Farm Scottish Highland calf Clarabelle (formerly known as Rosemary Lynn) is now living a life of luxury in Miami with her two siblings. Two weeks ago, Carole and Bruce transported a group of three lucky calves to Berry Farm, where they get unlimited vegetables to munch on and lots of love from farm visitors.

Miles Smith Farm Scottish Highland calf Clarabelle (formerly known as Rosemary Lynn) is now living a life of luxury in Miami with her two siblings. Two weeks ago, Carole and Bruce transported a group of three lucky calves to Berry Farm, where they get unlimited vegetables to munch on and lots of love from farm visitors. CAROLE SOULE / For the Monitor

Published: 03-16-2024 10:00 AM

Karl Wiegandt called looking for two small Scottish Highland heifers for his Berry Farm, a busy and lively agritourist attraction. I had the perfect pair for him: two friendly heifers, Rosemary Lynn and Pepper Spice. He wanted a third smallish calf and agreed that the ironically named Titan, a tiny and uber-friendly Belted Galloway steer, would be perfect. Belted Galloways are often called “Oreo Cookies” because of the big white stripe around their middle. We were set – except that Karl wanted them delivered to Miami, 1,600 miles away.

My regular shipper would deliver to Georgia but not to Florida, and Karl couldn’t find a trucker who would pick the calves up in Georgia and drive them to Miami. Karl’s Miami agritourism window is brief. He closes his farm after Mother’s Day to avoid the summer heat, so he wanted these lovelies pronto.

Google Maps said we could make it from Loudon, N.H., to Miami in 24 hours. Hmm, not impossible. By sharing the driving with husband, Bruce, I could leave at 7 a.m. on Tuesday and arrive by 7 a.m. on Wednesday. Easy peasy. Wow, did I get that wrong!

We packed food, water, and bedding straw for the calves, loaded the truck with our stuff, and left Loudon on schedule. In 15 hours were at the massive Kenly 95 Truck Stop near Charlotte, N.C. – just over halfway to Miami. Bruce and I were exhausted and so were the calves. So we fed and watered them, used Kenly’s immaculate restrooms, pulled out the pillows and blankets, and slept in the truck. The calves had plenty of room to move around and lie down in the trailer during the trip, but the constant motion of the road was tiring for them, too. So, this was a welcome break for them.

Our trip was slower than Google’s forecast because we were pulling a trailer with livestock. We only felt comfortable driving under the speed limit of 70 mph in the South. We got back on the road at 4 a.m.

Just 600 miles from Miami, we stopped at a Waffle House in St. George, S.C. Google Maps promised we’d arrive in Miami by 2 p.m. Really? We’d have to drive 70 mph for nine hours (without bathroom breaks). What kind of A.I. monster decided on that plan? After checking on the calves again, we contemplated this driving torture over breakfast. We love Waffle House because of the quick service, good food, and its chatty-but-quick waitstaff. Where do they find their workers? At multiple Waffle House stops, we learned that some are retired teachers, single moms, and college students. These frequent stops also gave the calves a break as we gave them water and extra hay.

Hooray, we were finally in Florida! Upon entering the state, all vehicles pulling a trailer must pull over at an agricultural station where paperwork for livestock, fruits, vegetables, and other products must be presented. To transport animals across state lines, a health certificate is needed that lists the final destination and the shipper. We’ve had cattle delivered to many states, but most of them never checked the paperwork. Not so Florida.

Due to our slow pace and a stop at Daytona, Google Maps kept moving the arrival time later and later. We finally pulled into the Berry Farm at 8 p.m., met Karl, settled the calves into their new digs, and beelined for a nearby hotel.

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The next day, I inspected the brand-new space Karl had created for the calves. While we trekked down the Eastern Seaboard, Karl had built a large coral enclosed by a white picket fence. He made a shaded area with a concrete pad where misting fans would keep the calves cool. It was paradise for our hairy cattle in the midst of Miami heat.

Even so, we pulled out the clippers and gave each calf a summer haircut. After advising the staff on handling the calves, we packed our gear again and headed north, dawdling to make it in four days.

The Berry Farm lost no time in posting pictures of the calves online. Since they now live on a vegetable farm, they get all the scraps they want, including strawberries, cabbage leaves, onion tops, and carrots. Besides their exciting new diet, they have new names: Clarabelle, Maggie Lynn, and Maple Berre. The Berry Farm website invites visitors to come and “meet the newest members of The Berry Farm family,” which are described as “majestic creatures.” Visitors are invited to “enjoy petting, feeding, and walking with our gentle Scottish Highlands.”

I’m grateful these lucky calves have landed in such a happy situation, even if it is 1,600 miles away.

 

Carole Soule is co-owner of Miles Smith Farm (www.milessmithfarm.com), where she raises and sells beef, pork, eggs, and other local products. She can be reached at carole@soulecoaching.com. Carole also coaches humans, helping them achieve the impossible a little at a time.