A Visit to Tomten Farm and Sanctuary


Tomten Farm and Sanctuary
Haverhill, NH

I had never heard of Tomten Farm and Sanctuary in Haverhill, NH. My friend asked if I wanted to attend their open house farm tour on Sunday, June 12th, I said sure, why not.

Tomten is located on Court St-well, sure I've been to Court Street Arts for concerts but I've never traveled further down the road to see what else is in Haverhill NH. If I had, I would have found this 35 acre farm that is dedicated to the "Peace, Protection, and Possibility for Animals in Need."

If you look up Tomten, you'll find that the Sanctuary has been named for The Tomten books, two children's books written by Astrid Lindgren. The books are based on poems by Viktor Rydberg and Karl-Erik Forsslund. "During the night the people at a farm in a forest are asleep. Only Tomten is awake. No one has ever seen Tomten, the people only know that he is there. Sometimes the people only find his small footprints in the snow. Tomten takes care of the animals and gives them comfort through a cold winter's night. He promises them that spring will be there soon. Tomten also visits the children, who always want to see him. However, they are always at sleep when he comes, so they dream about him."

Jenifer Vickery, the Founder of Tomten opened the farm in 2014 and filed for 501(c)3 status two years later. In just eight short years Vickery, her dedicated board of directors and volunteers have created a home for many animals destined for slaughter houses.

We met SaMule HalfHorse who is still getting used to being around humans-even gentle humans. Vickery tells us to let him smell you but do not touch him yet. 

He came to the farm as a former Amish plow horse with an injured foot. He was purchased from a kill buyer that works with a Canadian Slaughter House.
Now he's having his foot attended to and he's enjoying his all you can eat hay buffet.

We start out on the farm tour by visiting a couple of horses who came to the farm after their owner passed away. Percival Pintomint (the pinto pony) and Hwee Whinny Wooly Wildfire (the black mini) are both are well into their 20's. 
When they got to the farm it was discovered that their teeth had not been touched for many years and their feet desperately needed trimming. 
Now the two are living comfortably together in their walk-in sheds.

This isn't a petting zoo, so we stay close to the fence and wait to see if the animals will approach us. Today it's a bit too sunny and hot, Percival and Whinny prefer their shade.

Our next stop is a visit to the paddock of two very senior horses, both about 30 years old. Dobbin R. Bergilind a Belgian horse formerly used at pulling contests and Pippilottaspotslongstocking. They came out to see us with a little coaxing but quickly retreated back into the shade of their sheds.

Both animals were acquired at kill auctions Pippa for $275 and Dobbin R. Bergilind for only $200. Now they are both living a quiet, happy life under the stars and on a great green pasture. Dobbin came to the farm 200 pounds under weight and currently weighs in at 1500 happy, healthy pounds.

More info on the horses: CLICK HERE

We check in next with the resident roosters. The rescue flock is on hold with the recent Avian Flu outbreak. But the farm hopes to reopen to rescues sometime in July. These two were acquired from a home schooling project gone wrong. 
Spring time "chick" sales for layers can sometimes turn out to be roosters not chickens and most roosters are killed in very inhumane ways by owners of backyard "chicken coops". These two have it made in the shade. They are fully protected from predators and their coop is more a "man cave" with swings and climbing poles. They can even bob for cabbage and corn on the cob.

More info on the feathered friends on the farm: CLICK HERE

Our next stop is a moo-ving experience. We meet some pretty cool cows and a steer.

Did you know cows like tangerines? I sure didn't but they gobbled them up.

Moo-re info on the cows: CLICK HERE

On our way to the pigs, the humans got checked out by the resident sheep and goats.

Sheep info: CLICK HERE  and Goats: CLICK HERE

The pigs are massive animals, I mean massive. 
Most pigs are killed at 6 months (225 pounds) these critters are much older than that and are actually helping the farm by rooting out the tree roots so this paddock can eventually be seeded for horses pasture.

They are very smart and really enjoy munching on watermelon (who doesn't) and will even ask for belly rubs. Is that a smile I see?

More info on the pigs: CLICK HERE

Beatrice Poppins Braymore is blind in one eye but once she smells your hand she'll give you a stare and if that doesn't work a slight nudge signaling it's OK to pet her.

She was rescued from a kill auction and surprised the crew at Tomten when they found out she was pregnant. Braynard Boddington Jones was born on November 7, 2016.

Donkey info: CLICK HERE

Our visit is almost over but not before we visit with some of the rescued horses.

Taabe Summer Storm came all the way from Texas. 

Mr.Noodle races to see if treats are being offered.

More horse info: CLICK HERE

Tomten offers occasional tours of the farm. 
Please follow their Facebook page for tour dates and times. 

You can also make donations to help cover the cost of care for these amazing animals: DONATE 
There are so many ways you can help out.

Tomten is the GreatNonProfits top rated animal non-profit in New Hampshire. Each year Tomten runs on over 6,500 volunteer hours and pays out about $820 per day to supports these animals.

The farm currently has over 50 rescued animals enjoying the "Peace, Protection, and Possibility for Animals in Need." These include: 11 equines, 9 donkeys, 1 mule, 5 cows, 4 pigs, 7 sheep, 5 goats, 7 cats, 3 rabbits and 24 fowl all rescued  from certain slaughter or mistreatment and abuse.

For more information about Tomten please visit their website: https://tomtenfarmandsanctuary.org/

More photos from my visit: CLICK HERE

Special thanks goes out to my friend Gidget L. for turning me on to this wonderful place.

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Nancy Nutile-McMenemy is an Upper Valley freelance photographer and writer who loves paddle, hike, attend concerts and local events in and around Weathersfield and the Upper Valley.

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