Cloudy
42°
Cloudy
Hi 49° | Lo 31°

Those Good Old Summer Graze

  • At Cedar Mountain Farm in Hartland campers wait to show their cows to family on the last day of cow camp. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    At Cedar Mountain Farm in Hartland campers wait to show their cows to family on the last day of cow camp.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Nicoya Mowbray-Parker,10, of Hartland puts a halter on her cow during cow camp at Cedar Mountain Farm in Hartland. Campers learned how to care for cows during a week of camp.  In the window is camper Caitlin Seville,4, of Hartland. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Nicoya Mowbray-Parker,10, of Hartland puts a halter on her cow during cow camp at Cedar Mountain Farm in Hartland. Campers learned how to care for cows during a week of camp. In the window is camper Caitlin Seville,4, of Hartland.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Finn Seville,9, squeezes out of Pearl's stall with Nate Lambert,5, behind him, both boys live in Hartland. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Finn Seville,9, squeezes out of Pearl's stall with Nate Lambert,5, behind him, both boys live in Hartland.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Alaina Laplante,7, of Hartland gets some help from her dad James Laplante with the sign she was wearing that had her cows name on it. This was the last day of camp. parents came to the camp to watch campers show their cows. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Alaina Laplante,7, of Hartland gets some help from her dad James Laplante with the sign she was wearing that had her cows name on it. This was the last day of camp. parents came to the camp to watch campers show their cows.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Counsel Jenna Rice helps campers with signs they were making to put on the cows stalls in the barn.<br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Counsel Jenna Rice helps campers with signs they were making to put on the cows stalls in the barn.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • At cow camp Nate Lambert,5, of Hartland was working hard mucking out one of the stalls at the farm. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    At cow camp Nate Lambert,5, of Hartland was working hard mucking out one of the stalls at the farm.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • At Cedar Mountain Farm in Hartland campers wait to show their cows to family on the last day of cow camp. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • Nicoya Mowbray-Parker,10, of Hartland puts a halter on her cow during cow camp at Cedar Mountain Farm in Hartland. Campers learned how to care for cows during a week of camp.  In the window is camper Caitlin Seville,4, of Hartland. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • Finn Seville,9, squeezes out of Pearl's stall with Nate Lambert,5, behind him, both boys live in Hartland. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • Alaina Laplante,7, of Hartland gets some help from her dad James Laplante with the sign she was wearing that had her cows name on it. This was the last day of camp. parents came to the camp to watch campers show their cows. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • Counsel Jenna Rice helps campers with signs they were making to put on the cows stalls in the barn.<br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • At cow camp Nate Lambert,5, of Hartland was working hard mucking out one of the stalls at the farm. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

Hartland — Cow camp at Cedar Mountain Farm in Hartland is catching on. Last year, nine kids spent a week learning to care for the animals at the farm at Cobb Hill Cohousing. This summer, 15 children signed up.

Jenna Rice, one of three counselors at the camp, said news spread by word of mouth.

“I think a lot of people told their friends about it,” said Jenna, 16.

Several of this year’s campers also attended last summer.

“I think they enjoy it because a lot of them don’t have a chance to work with cows that much,” said Jenna’s sister and fellow counselor, Nora Rice, 13.

Children age 4-8 attend in the mornings, and those age 9-12 stay all day. This year, campers included Hartland residents and two children from Pennsylvania who were visiting their grandparents locally.

Over the course of the week, campers tackled chores, such as mucking out stalls and feeding the cows, and picked up various other skills, with an eye to the show that wraps up the experience.

“We worked up to it very gradually, so no one would get too scared of the cows,” said Jenna, who lives with her family at Cobb Hill.

“On the first day, kids walked each other. On the second day, they walked actual cows.”

Later in the week, they “did lots of brushing and grooming” and learned more about walking the animals and keeping them under control. Campers teamed up, three to an animal.

“The kids work together to lead the cows around so that they have the strength to control them,” Jenna said.

While some of the kids were a little nervous when they arrived, that had changed by Friday, Nora said. “Most of them were pretty comfortable with their cows by the end of the week.”

If the campers were new to cows, the cows were also new to campers. The five Jersey cows, all heifers, are young. The oldest is just under a year, and the youngest is about a month old.

Being around the children is a good way to acclimate the animals, which they plan to show at the Cornish Fair this summer, Jenna said.

“They really like the kids, but they can get a little overwhelmed,” she said. “The younger ones are always very high strung, but the more you work with them, the more calm they get.”

In addition to working with the cows, the older kids built a wooden feed trough. They also spent a rainy afternoon talking, making butter by shaking jars filled with milk, and playing the game “telephone,” she said.

On Friday afternoon, campers strut their stuff at a show for their families.

“They lead their animals around, and I talk about them a little bit and say how much they’ve improved and what they’ve done well during the week,” Jenna Rice said.

The Rice sisters lead the camp with their friend, Gretta Stack. The three girls have worked with animals at the farm for several years and have been showing cows together for about five years, Jenna said.

Camp is a special chance to share the skills they’ve developed at the farm.

“It’s passing on something that we’ve enjoyed so much,” she said.