This could have been my first rodeo but I wasn’t dressed for the part. The story you are about to read is real. All the characters playing various roles in the production are not actors; this is who they are every day.
One afternoon about a week ago something a bit out of the ordinary happened on Griffin Road. We had been up to our camp for a few days, as Leah was home for vacation. Steve had been home about 40 before we showed up. When we walked in, Steve looked like he had just washed his face. But when he said to look closer, half of it was puffy and he had used eye drops. I said, “What happened to you?” He only said, “Just look at the pictures on my phone.”
And this is where the story takes an unexpected turn. What Leah and I had just missed seeing was an errant stray cow that had several cowboys attempting to lasso and hold on to it waiting for the trailer to arrive. What!? They needed another pair of hands since the others had not arrived yet. Since the cow was in our yard and in an area that was wooded, they used some of the large trees to wrap the rope around as well as using the horse and rider in an attempt to contain the animal. Steve was put to the task of holding on to one rope for now. This animal was huge and not cooperating as I listened to the story. It had been on the lam along with four others since Friday (it was now Tuesday). One can only imagine how the heat and lack of water took its toll. They pinned it to the ground in an effort to calm the beast but it struggled all the while. When the trailer was in place they got the cow up with the help of cattle dogs, coaxed and pushed it along with riders on their horses. The trailer then left to return this huge buffalo-sized cow to the farm.
The story continues. Now I noticed several young men walking up and down a section of the street. We had no idea what was going on until more cowboys showed up on horseback. The trailer returned and had now pulled into Westwood Drive. Walking up to where they were, I stayed out of the way, as it seemed another stray cow, which had been with the others in the back 40 acres of Cindy Fielding’s house, was being followed and cajoled towards the road. The men and cattle dogs were carefully guiding the stressed animal to where they could convince it to keep moving when it suddenly stopped and flopped down. Meanwhile the young men had to stay on traffic duty since Griffin Road can be a speedway.
I waited on the corner with, who I realized, was the owner of a farm in Litchfield. He cautioned me on the cow’s unpredictability should it dash across the road. I didn’t want to intrude by asking questions so I watched how they worked the situation. One stayed on horseback and gave directions to the others all the while trying to tell the dogs that they had done their job and to ‘cool it!’ It took a bit to coax and prod the frightened animal but four of them guided it across the road and finally pushed it into the trailer. The owner assured me that all was fine. The animal would be okay.
The rodeo was over and all five cows had been found. The cowboys rode back up to Griffin Ave and the others left in the truck to go back to the farm. Back at our house, we could only say, “What the heck was that all about?” It was a scene out of another part of the country, not here in Londonderry, New Hampshire.
So now what? Well, Steve decided he probably had an allergic reaction to horses since he had held the rope. Stray cattle loose in the neighborhood was not a normal sighting. We still had no idea why they were here.
I had only asked where the farm was and the owner said in Litchfield. Later on I was still curious, so on the internet I found a Grass-Fed Beef business owned by Steve Normanton. I showed the picture to Steve to verify and he said, “Yup that’s him.” After reading about his youth spent farming in South Africa and his passion for holistic farming, I decided to visit the farm. Since I am a profile writer for the NH Farms Network, I looked at this as an opportunity to write about Steve, his family and the business, and to give him another avenue for publicity. It was an interesting mystery ride to finally locate the farm and then to find him on the property. He now has a newly opened store about 2 miles from the farm where they sell many other all organic products. He graciously gave me a few minutes of his time as I reintroduced myself as it was our house the big cow stopped at. He admitted it was a stressful time. They had located the cows in the woods but it took a huge effort to get them where they could safely capture the wild bunch. He put out a call to people he knew and the cowboys arrived from New York to help. Each night through the weekend, he agonized over the fact they may try to cross the road and be hit since they are black cows.
According to Steve’s website, holistic farming is a commitment to a better life all around. The cattle are moved every day during the spring, summer and fall. The reason they were in the neighborhood was that he had five cows pastured at the farm at the end of Griffin Avenue which is off Griffin Road. “It was a 1 out of a 99 chance situation that they were able to go under and lift the portable pen and hence escape. It just so happens that the street names in the area the cows were near are Angus, Jersey, and Holstein.
So that’s the story and I’m sticking to it!
Please support local! Read more of Steve Normanton and his amazing story at his website.
Steve Normanton – Grass-Fed Beef
226 Charles Bancroft Hwy. (Rte.3a)
Litchfield, NH 03052
“We sell delicious, healthful pastured chickens, eggs, pastured pork, 100% grass-fed beef, and certified organic vegetables.”
FARM STORE is located at 55 Charles Bancroft Hwy, open Tuesday and Friday 1 to 7pm, and Saturday 9 to 2 pm.
Debbie Curtin writes stories about people, places, events and other topics of interest that engage the reader. As a member of the New Hampshire Writer’s Project, Debbie keeps ‘in the game’ with other like minded people. She has been an artist and creative person all her life and uses the unlimited sources of inspiration that abound everywhere in her writing as another art form.