Everyone in New England appreciates that spring brings warmer weather, flowers and longer days. Those things are all nice. But here at the Mountain School, spring brings something significantly MORE important: BABY ANIMALS. 20+ lambs, 3 calves, baby chicks and now piglets! There’s nothing like a mid-day visit to the sheep barn to calm any anxieties and fill you with joy and happiness.
“So do you, like, milk cows there?” is probably the most common and inaccurate question that Mountain School students are asked by friends at home.
No, we don’t. Please stop asking.
Yes, we are on a farm. And we do have cows, but we eat them. Well, some of us do (shout out to vegetarians!). Regardless, learning about food production, including dairy, is central to the Mountain School curriculum, so even though we don’t have our own dairy cows, every semester we take field trips to several dairy farms in the area. (This is 25% because we want to learn about dairy production and 75% because we want to buy ice cream and chocolate milk).
Here are some photos of our recent visit to Hatchland Farms. Thanks to Rena for sharing her photos!
December was a difficult month for all of us past, present and future Mountain School community members. The passing our iconic guard llama, Nigel, after he bravely defended our sheep for 14 years, weighed heavily on all of our hearts. We mourned for him, all the while knowing that in a few short months, it would be necessary – for the sake of the sheep – to begin the search for his successor, even as we acknowledge that there will never exist another creature as noble and sophisticated as Nigel. He is simply inimitable.
With the legacy of Nigel fresh in her mind, our fearless livestock manager Gwynne went on a quest to find The Chosen One. She journeyed far and wide, to a farm that tried to sell her seven llamas at once (a little excessive) and another farm that tried to talk her into taking a llama with an award-winning pedigree. You know, in case the Mountain School decides to pursue competitive llama showing as its next big thing. That connects to getting to know a place and working for common good, right?
Anyway. After careful consideration, Gwynne made a decision, and now our Chosen Llama is HERE, in the sheep barn, getting to know his new brethren. He was nameless for awhile (his previous barn called him “Hunter” but obviously that name is not going to cut it in the big leagues), and students debated between Albus, Axel, Wilson, Otis and Atlas for several weeks. Then, Gwynne stood up in school meeting and said, “So, we never finished discussing what to name Desmond,” and after an official vote, that became his name. Sue loves his long curly eyelashes. Gwynne likes how expressive he is with his ears. Jack notes that he seems “more open to conversation” than Nigel. Alden waited awhile to see him because he was “not ready yet.” As for me, I’m so excited.
Without further ado, I present our new legend, Desmond the Brave: