HEEFS September 2017 Newsletter

So much to learn...and so much fun learning it!

Learning how to best care for our residents is an ongoing labour of love for everyone at Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary. We are always consulting with our veterinary care team as well as other sanctuaries and whenever we can, we attend conferences dedicated to the care of farm animals, and we read books. Lots and lots of books!

We thought that you might like to read what we're reading! Check out these titles available at most major book retailers.

What a fish knows by Jonathan Balcombe

This book will challenge everything you thought you knew about fish from their “3-second memory” to their simple, boring lives. Find out how incredible, complex and social fish really are!





Beyond Beliefs

Author Melanie Joy, PhD tackles the issues and struggles faced everyday by vegans and vegetarians who wish to be understood and respected in a meat-eating culture.






The Animal Activist’s Handbook by Matt Ball and Bruce Friedrich

This "how-to” book for activists is a straightforward, thoughtful and inspirational guide that will elevate your activism and forever alter who you are and who you want to be.

Going Cordless in the Barn

We are thrilled that a very generous donation has allowed us to put a transfer switch into the main barn. A transfer switch is an electrical device that will allow us to safely connect a large generator (still to be funded) to our barn wiring. With a generator in place, we will be able to provide power to the entire barn without extension cords running along the floor and walls.

Volunteer Spotlight!

Meet Tom!

Like many regular volunteers, Tom initially heard of Esther The Wonder Pig through social media. He then found out that he had a friend in common with Dads Steve and Derek, and through this mutual friend he was able to visit HEEFS and help get the Sanctuary ready for opening day.

Tom volunteers on Monday mornings which he finds particularly satisfying. "I wake up on Monday mornings and drive to HEEFS with a smile on my face," says Tom. "That's very different than the many drivers I see coming into Toronto on Monday morning with frowns on their faces!" 

Working as an animal rights activist with several organizations, Tom finds that HEEFS is a sanctuary for him as well as for the animals. It's a place where he can re-energize after working so hard every other day with animals who are being abused and suffering. 

While at HEEFS, Tom has learned many new skills including "sheep hugging". He explains it like this: On the day that we sheer the sheep to free them of their burden for the summer, I get to sit on a bale of hay, tuck a woolly resident between my legs and pop them down into a sitting position. Then I just sit there hugging them as their belly is shaved. When we're done, I pop them back on all fours while their top is done. Unlike how rough and fast commercial sheering is done, this is so slow and gentle that each resident actually sits and patiently awaits their turn! Of course, they know that they get a special treat after they're done. 

Having been with us since the beginning, Tom has come to know each and every resident on a very personal level and we are so lucky to have him with us every week! 

Get to know Cornelius!


We are so thankful to have Cornelius, aka Head of Security at HEEFS, living with us at Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary. Cornelius could very well have ended up on someone’s plate this Thanksgiving when the farm he was living on lost its farm status due to the surrounding city expanding rapidly towards it. Because of our charitable designation, which allows for HEEFS to rescue animals raised for food, Cornelius, and his rooster friend, Hank, were able to come live out their lives in peace with us.

We thought we had seen it all with the likes of goat Diablo and Moby Duck, but Cornelius is in a class by himself when it comes to hilarious personality and charm. In a budding bromance with Dad Steve, Cornelius prefers the company of men to women and likes to think of himself as a “house turkey”. When he’s not lurking around the house he can be found in the barn “man cave”, eating watermelon and grapes and lounging with stallmates Hercules and Lenny.

Meet the residents.

We thought you might like . . . 


Esther Approved Organic Soap!

Pamper yourself with this creamy, all-natural organic bar soap. Great for gift-giving, too!

Available in three soothing fragrances made with the finest essential oils: Pure Lavendar, Anise Citrus and Cedar Mint.

Ingredients: organic olive oil, distilled water, coconut oil, coconut milk, sodium hydroxide, organic shea butter, castor oil. No added colour. Gluten free. Cruelty free & palm oil free. No parabens. 

You can get these soaps and find a whole lot more Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary items, at the HEEFS Store

Try This Today!

Organic Creamy Quinoa, Black Bean and Corn Chili

2 (15.5 oz/425g) cans organic black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (13.66 oz/403ml) can organic full fat coconut milk
1 (14.5 oz/411g) can organic crushed tomatoes
2 (10 oz/283g) bags frozen organic corn
1 cup (250ml) uncooked and rinsed organic red Inca quinoa (other varieties may be used) 
5 cups (1.25L) organic vegetable broth
3 organic garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon (15ml) organic chipotle chili powder or chili powder
1 teaspoon (5ml) organic ground cumin
1 teaspoon (5ml) pink Himalayan salt
1/4 (1ml) teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 cup (250ml) finely chopped organic cilantro stems with leaves
1/2 cup (125ml) fresh chopped organic yellow onion or 2 Tablespoons (30ml) dried chopped onion
1. Add all of the chili ingredients to a 3 quart crockpot. Stir and cover. 
2. Cook the chili on a high temperature for 2-3 hours or 3-4 hours on low. Crockpot temperatures will vary so adjust the cooking time. Once the quinoa has cooked and the chili tasting temperature is to your liking, the chili is done. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve the chili with additional cilantro and a side of corn chips.

Find more delicious recipes at Esther's Kitchen