No bull, no answers in Hillsborough
"He's hopefully just wandering around southern New Hampshire and will eventually come back," store owner Amy Scott saod.
Scott, whose family owns the Winter Hill Farm in Henniker, said when she opened the farm store next door in Hillsborough, she went looking for some good old-fashioned roadside kitsch to catch the attention of passing traffic.
"We have been farming for three years and when we opened the store, we wanted to make a name for ourselves as a local business. We needed to find funky things to put out front to bring people in," she said. "Who isn't attracted to funky things?"
Last year, Scott visited the huge annual antiques show in Brimfield, Mass., and stumbled upon a 5- to 6-foot-long plastic bull weighing around 200 pounds.
"I saw that bull and I just knew he was the one," Scott said. "That was Ferdinand."
Scott and her kids painted him blue, and he was placed in front of the antique barn that's home to the Winter Hill Farm store. It wasn't long before folks began stopping to see Ferdinand up close, and to indulge in an ice cream cone or buy some locally raised beef.
"He was on his way to becoming a southern New Hampshire family landmark," Scott said.
A few weeks ago, the Scotts shut down the farm store for the winter. But as soon as they closed, people started calling the farm and begging them to re-open. Scott's husband went to the shop to restock the freezers. That's when he discovered that Ferdinand was gone.
"We're hoping it was a band of court jesters who borrowed Ferdinand and plan on bringing him back," Amy Scott said.
The Hillsborough Police Department is actively investigating. Scott said tire tracks were found that likely belong to whoever took the bull for a ride.
"I just want Ferdinand to return to the store where he belongs," she said. "My kids were so sad when they found out he was gone."
The shop will open Friday as planned, whether Ferdinand makes an appearance or not, but having the big blue bull standing sentry outside would certainly take a bit of the chill out of that unheated barn in Hillsborough.
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Nancy Bean Foster may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.