Jeff Newcomer has been a physician practicing in New Hampshire and Vermont for over 30 years. Over that time, as a member of the Conservation Commission in his home of Chesterfield New Hampshire, he has used his photography to promote the protection and appreciation of the town's wild lands. In recent years he has been transitioning his focus from medicine to photography, writing and teaching. Jeff enjoys photographing throughout New England, but has concentrated on the Monadnock Region and southern Vermont and has had a long term artistic relationship with Mount Monadnock. He is a featured artist in a number of local galleries and his work is often seen in regional print, web publications and in business installations throughout the country. For years Jeff has published a calendar celebrating the beauty of The New England country-side in all seasons. All of the proceeds from his New England Reflections Calendar have gone to support the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at the Cheshire Medical Center.
Jeff has a strong commitment to sharing his excitement about the special beauty of our region and publishes a weekly blog about photography in New England.
We New Englanders love to complain about cabin fever, but compared to the trials of the cattle on our diary farms, our winters are a breeze. The Holsteins at Stonewall Farm in Keene New Hampshire have a lovely warm, bright and spacious barn to shield them from the bitter cold, but imagine for a moment that you have been cooped up all winter in the same room, with the same group of gossipy females, eating nothing but dry food. By May, I'm sure you would be breaking down the walls to get out for some clear air and fresh eats. It is not in the nature of the usually placid cows to break down walls, but they do get very excited on the first spring morning when they are finally released to the tender spring grass of their beloved pastures.
In recent years the folks at Stonewall Farm have invited the public to witness the "Dancing of the Ladies", the remarkable morning when the cows are briefly transformed from their usual semi-comatose, grass munching state into crazed, dancing, prancing, head butting, 1500lbs, black and white milk shakes. The girls come running out of the barn like kids on Christmas morning. They really do prance and on occasion kick up their heals. It is common wisdom that the cows prance and bump because they are excited to get to the fresh spring grass, but after watching the show for the
last three years, I am convinced that it is really because they are thoroughly fed-up with listening to the same old complaints from the girls to whom they have been tethered all winter long. Hence the head crashing. This year, as always, the excitement lasted about 15 minutes and then the ladies settled into the real reason for their excitement, the long summer munch.
Perhaps most importantly, the "Dancing of the Ladies is a great excuse to get people on the farm, touring the barns, smelling the smells, and seeing the adorable new calves. It's good to be regularly reminded about all the wonderful ways that Stonewall Farm enriches our community throughout the year.