Caroling for the cows at Grey Barn



The Grey Barn in Chilmark hosted over 100 people just before Christmas for its “Caroling for Cows” event. 

Islanders of all ages, many young children, arrived in holiday gear and gathered at the farm’s stone wall to sing to dozens of farm cows. 

“Our cows love a bit of singing before they are milked,” read the announcement for the fully-booked event.

Carolers arrived at 4:30 pm, and enjoyed pastoral views and refreshments for half an hour, just until sunset. Grey Barn co-founder Molly Glasgow greeted guests, and handed out song books as well as hand held jingle bells. A draw for many children was a tractor festooned with string lights, to climb onto or pretend to drive.

Before caroling began, adults and children alike lined up at the Barn’s food stand for hot chocolate, made earlier that day from the barn’s cows. “They were milked this morning for the hot cocoa,” Glasgow said. “And then we pasteurized it, of course.”

Adults were also given the option of hot chocolate with “holiday cheer” (whiskey), to settle any nerves before entertaining Grey Barn’s cows.

As the sun was setting over the farm, Glasgow, megaphone in hand, led the crowd to the stone wall at the edge of the pasture, where a portion of the farm’s 45 cows had been brought out for feeding. Glasgow then led the carolers in seven songs, from “Frosty the Snowman” to “Jingle Bells” to “Joy to the World.”

Some children were given the full cow-caroling experience when a cow came right up to the wall and licked them, possibly in appreciation for their caroling.

Though cows were the focus of Thursday’s event, many attendees were fascinated by the farm’s cats, some of which were social to the point of being performative. Orange tabby Hank mingled with the crowd, and posed for a photo atop the wall.

After the conclusion of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” attendees said goodbye to the Grey Barn’s cows, and departed in anticipation of Christmas day.


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