Farms and Barns
Temple, New Hampshire's Farms and Barns Tour
Hay rides, historic treasures, equine vaulting and high-jump; milking and farm demonstrations including a shingle mill; lamb rambles, sheep grooming, plus kids and miniature horses to love and to pet–all this and more happens at the Temple Historical Society’s barn tours. This summertime event features working farms and historic barns, dating between 1754 and 2015 chosen for their wide diversity of period, style, and use.
The actual lineup of barns may change from event to event, but at a recent barn tour, the Burnham Barn let youngsters pet miniature horses and Nubian goats and kids, with the day’s activities closing with music by the Temple Dance Band. This New England bank style barn (c. 1850) is the tour’s outstanding architectural gem. Most of the original features in this historical barn are still intact — the large posts & beams are hand hewn, while the braces, nailers, & minor rafters are sash sawn. Major rafters have 2 major purlins running horizontally. The foundation is made of large dry-laid stones, with the cellar open on the south. Live music.
Temple’s most important farm from an historical point of view is undoubtedly the 18th-century Oak Hill Farm, home to eight generations of dairy farmers. Shingle-mill demonstrations by Mel Rossi highlight the 2015 event, and owner Kent Perry answered questions about his collection of antique farming tools. Priscilla Weston was also on hand to talk about the farm’s long history. A unique feature of this large post-and-beam barn is an interior square silo. Catwalks connect several levels of hay lofts. Platforms and troughs for the cows still exist along with stalls for work horses, as does an interior elevated walkway for the cows to return from the fields. In 1976 the New Hampshire State American Revolution Bicentennial Commission presented a Certificate of Recognition marking the ownership of the farm retained in the same family for at least 200 years. Twelve years later the United States Secretary of Agriculture designated Oak Hill as a national bicentennial farm.
Of equal historic significance is the Felt/Tobey/Scott Barn, part of one of Temple’s earliest farms. A display of antique farm equipment will accompany a visit to the barn, and local builders Ken Quinn and Phil Marchuk will describe the massive restoration undertaken in 2014-15. One of Temple’s earliest farms. Charles Tobey bought the property in 1903, and in 1962 Ken and Martha Scott moved into the house. The original builders laid the sills across a two-foot trench, allowing the building to move up and down with the freeze-thaw cycle. By the early 21st century, when the sills on three walls began rotting away, local builders jacked up the barn to permit the laying of a new foundation. There it stands today, good for another two centuries. There will be a display of antique farm equipment and miniature horses & Nubian goats.
The Connolly Brothers Dairy Farm (1982) includes a dairy barn and milk house, ice cream plant and retail store (formerly hay-sawdust shed), and pole barn. Also, lots of contented cows and satisfied sheep. The Connolly farm store sells fresh (raw) milk, ice cream, beef, eggs, yarn and other wool products. Also composted manure. Events during the 2015 Barn Tour included a pasture walk to see the cows in the field, and demonstrations of spinning and milking. There was a public outhouse available.
Milking demonstrations and pasture walks at the Connolly Brothers Dairy Farm brought visitors in close contact with the prize Jersey cows that provide the milk for the farm’s renowned ice cream. Be sure to try some, and enjoy snacks and meals from the Connolly lunch wagon, Elliott’s Place. The newest structure on the 2015 roster was a compost barn, also at the Connolly Brothers’ farm. Completed in 2015, the ultramodern “composting bedded pack (CBP)” barn is the first in southern New Hampshire. A NH state expert on CBP barns discussed this ground-breaking development. The primary motivation for a CBP barn is cow comfort – and health. The barn is bedded with fine, dry sawdust. Tilled twice a day, the pack provides insulation against cold surfaces in winter, and good footing. Since cows are less likely to go lame, develop sore hocks, or undergo stress, they are better able to resist infection. Farmers also report a significant increase in milk production. A NH state expert on CBP barns discussed this ground-breaking development. Visitors also explored the old dairy-cattle barn, home to a herd of prize Jersey cows that provide milk for the farm’s renowned ice cream. The family also sells meat, milk and wool products, and eggs.
Connie, a genial guard donkey, shares the farm with hens and a flock of registered Oxford sheep
Youngsters and adults alike enjoyed rambling with lambs, sheep grooming lessons, and tractor-drawn hay rides at the Sartell Farm. They were sure to notice how this early 1800’s post & beam barn has been beautifully maintained to last another 200 years. Originally used for dairy cows, the barn is a classic post-and-beam structure. Connie, a genial guard donkey, shares the farm with hens and a flock of registered Oxford sheep, which are sold as breeding stock, show animals, 4-H projects, and pets. The total flock size varies from around 30 to around 70 during lambing season. Nothing much is exact, plumb, or square in an old barn. It is oriented north-south on a granite block foundation. The barn and house were connected as one structure. In the winter the farmers never had to go outside. The cows went down a ramp into the basement, where water was hand pumped for them. One of this barn’s amazing features is the granite block threshold under the main doors. Other unique items are the north side door-in-door, bifold basement doors with floating threshold, floating thresholds on shed doors, & a sliding gate made of native hemlock.
Touchstone Farm, home of Pony Farm and the therapeutic program Horse Power, is always alive with action. Ongoing all morning was horsemanship demonstrations including games, jumping, and carriage driving — climaxing with the Renaissance Farm Vaulting Team performing gymnastics on moving horses. Representatives were on hand to talk about Operation Horse Power, the farm’s new veterans’ program, serving veterans and their families from all eras. The three-story 1754 post and beam bank barn — designated a “Barn of True Distinction” by the State of New Hampshire — houses 50-70 horses and provides lesson programs, summer camp, and horse shows. The barn also hosts Horse Power, a therapeutic riding program and camp. The stonewall foundation rocks were hoisted by lever, oxen, or horse. Stagecoach horses were switched on the second-floor aisle, with pulleys removing the harnesses from the tired horses and lowering them onto fresh horses. Horsemanship classes are held here and horses prepped for special events, and old horses receive special “TLC.”
For further information about Temple Farms & Barns go to www.templebarns.org, or call Anne Lunt (603.878.3443).