TOWNSEND — “Growing up on a farm teaches you the miracle of life, respect, compassion, joy, heartache and yes, death. It’s all part of the circle. When you take on the responsibility of any form of life, it has to be followed to the end,” Nancy Loudon of Townsend said warmly.
Loudon recalls that life really began for her at age 9, when her family moved from Fitchburg on July 30, 1960, to the Grand View farm at 198 North End Road in Townsend, on 100 acres of farm land. Her family name is the longest on the land. Loudon’s parents always had animals and she also shared that love, especially for horses. The family had chickens, geese, rabbits and ducks. They had purchased the farm because they needed more space.
There was much work to be done to prepare the old barn since it was a modern milking building at the time. New wiring, floors and lighting had to be installed as well as a vacuum pump to run the milking machine.
And when the bucket was full, it had to be carried by hand into the milk room and poured into the bull tank by stainless-steel pails. The cows (Holsteins, Jerseys and Guernseys) were milked twice a day, every day.
“There is nothing better than fresh milk from the bull tank. We always pasteurized the milk even though the cows were tested several times a year,” recalled Loudon. The Holsteins produced the biggest quantity and the Jerseys and Guernseys put the butter in the milk which makes cheese, butter and ice cream.
Loudon’s mother and father decided on names for all the cows; most came from the Bible. Not only did they buy cows and calves from other farms, many were born on the farm.
“One birth that sticks out in my heart was on Christmas afternoon, when our family had gathered for dinner and there was a cow due to give birth around that date. Behold, my father came into the house from the barn and announced Babbitt was in labor. We all piled into the barn to witness the miracle of life and the calf was born with no problem. Because it was a girl (Heifer calf) we named her Noel. Merry Christmas in the barn.”
Over the decades many animals have been raised on the farm. Horses, baby ducks, chicks, red flying squirrels, Eastern grey squirrels, all kinds of birds, turtles, mice and more dogs and cats than anyone could imagine.
“God love my mother; her heart was bigger than her brain. She could never say no to any living creature two-legged or four. She would always say that every living creature that feels needs a place to call home.”
With all the doings at the farm, Loudon’s parents also decided to take in foster children. She said her mother felt guilty having a ten-room house and that those children needed a place to go. They had nine different foster children over the years and many still keep in touch with Loudon.
Loudon’s mother would take care of the family in the home and barn every day while her father would go to work in the family business, Fitchburg Engineering Corp., which started in the 1940s. The company made special machine parts.
Loudon’s grandfather on her mother’s side invented the wood chipper, Nancy said. Loudon’s mother died in 1988; her father in 1999. Loudon said she was blessed to have such amazing people in her life. They showed her how to be thoughtful, compassionate, caring and loyal and to believe in herself and God. They always made her believe that anything is possible.
Loudon has watched all living things at the farm since she was very young. She said she has seen the change in seasons, breathtaking sunsets, thunderstorms that scare you silly and snowstorms that come off the mountains of New Hampshire.
“I have people driving by many times that I don’t even know, stopping to say this is a ‘grand view!'” said Loudon.
A few years ago, Loudon had a timber harvest done, where only selective cutting of the trees is allowed. By doing a selective cut it allows more room for the new trees to become mature. Loudon loves to stroll in the woods and go to her little stream and feel peace and serenity. There is a comfort in all the wildlife activity that surrounds her. She loves her Dutch harness horse named Annie, her rescue Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Maggie, and other creatures around her.
“This old farmhouse has many stories. The original part of my home was a cooperage where wooden barrels were made in 1892. Over the years, the main part of the house was built with a two-story shed that attaches to the three-story barn. There has been lots of love, laughter, song and some great gatherings here at my home, and will continue in the future,” said Loudon.
She grew up on homemade food from many members of her family. With both parents working and fast food being too readily available, Loudon feels children have no idea what homemade means today. “No one has time to get back to the basics. Too many young people have too much idol time on their hands and that when the trouble begins,” said Loudon.
There have been many offers to sell her home and break it up into house lots. That is not Loudon’s “Grand View Dream.” Her dream is to have a new barn built in the upper pasture. She wants the facility to have an indoor riding arena so no matter what the weather brings, children and adults can always ride or drive a horse.
There is a special bond between animals and children that no one seems to understand, said Nancy. She has had many children visit her farm and she quickly picks up the traits of every one of them. Loudon wants to make Grand View that special place where children who have cancer, heart disease, physical disabilities and emotional handicaps can come and participate in therapeutic riding. She has attended many Special Olympic events over the years and is inspired by these young children and adults competing.
Loudon has a passion for nature, life, living and death. Her favorite expression is “Happy Trails.” She welcomes both neighbors and strangers to her homestead with a big warm smile. She is trusting in God that he will show her the right path to take and lead her down the road to success for everyone’s well being and so the “Grand View Dream” becomes a reality.