Veggie Hopes and Dreams
Did you know... it costs up to $1,400 a month to feed our residents? That's why it has always been our goal to have a garden program in place that could provide most, if not all, of the produce for our residents' meals. With a whole lot of help from Heather Rajotte, a horticultural expert and member of the Master Gardeners of Canada, along with kind donations and volunteer time from our incredible supporters, that goal is becoming a reality.
Planting the seeds
Late last fall we made a list of all the vegetables we would like to grow in our garden and we put seeds for those veggies on our Amazon Wish List, along with all of the gardening tools and supplies we would need. We always say we have the best friends in the world and here's how we know...we got every single seed we asked for!
Watching them grow
With the help of our regular and one-time volunteers, we constructed additional garden beds, doubling our number from last year and we're now ready to fill them with the seeds for growing lots of lettuce, cucumbers, bok choi, cabbage, carrots, beets, celery, broccoli, kale and other delicious veggies.
Over the course of the growing season, the beds will be maintained and harvested by our incredible volunteers and monitored by Heather. The more successful we can be in growing our produce, the more self-sufficient we can become.
Over here and over there
The garden beds that are out front at HEEFS are only part of our garden program. There is also a plan to create a field bed in the orchard area for plants that need more space like zucchini, squash, pumpkins and melons. There, they'll grow alongside our fruit trees giving our residents an incredible variety of fresh produce for their meals.
It's been three years since we started planting fruit trees in our orchard and we are now happily anticipating our first harvest of apples, peaches, pears and plums! Starting this spring, our residents will be able to enjoy delicious fresh fruit handpicked just for them!
You can help us make sure our residents always have plenty of fresh fruit and veggies by donating a fruit tree for our orchard or seeds for our garden.
Last month we introduced you to our newest resident, Dolly!
Dolly is a commercially farmed broad-breasted white turkey who was found, injured, on the side of the highway by Sergeant Scott Richardson of the Waterloo Regional Police Service. Earlier this month we were honoured to have Sergeant Richardson and his family come for a tour of HEEFS and to spend some one-on-one time with Dolly. That's when we got to hear the whole story of how he rescued her after she had fallen onto the highway from a truck that was transporting her to a "processing" plant.
"It was during the rush hour," Sergeant Richardson told us, "when I saw a ball of white fluff on the highway." Unsure of what it was, he exited the highway and then doubled back around. That's when he saw Dolly. She was lying there, on the road, injured and exhausted. Once in his cruiser, he called dispatch and was told to take her to Waterloo Wildlife where Joy Huggins, a Wildlife Rehabilitator, was waiting. There, Dolly was assessed and found to be extremely dehydrated with a broken wing and damaged feet. They tended to her immediate needs and soon after she was taken to HEEFS and her new forever home.
Today, we are so excited to be able to tell you that Dolly has made incredible progress since arriving at HEEFS and she has lost most of her excess weight. With her damaged feet almost completely healed, and her broken wing all better, she has taken to multiple walks around the barn, even venturing outside for a stroll to Bunny Town when she's not hanging with new best-friend, Nancy.
Thank you Sergeant Scott Richardson - you are our hero!
Meet Mary and Scott
One of the most exciting things for us is having the opportunity to work with dedicated and caring volunteers from near and far like weekly volunteer husband and wife team, Mary and Scott, who don’t even live in Canada!
Mary, a Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator, first heard about HEEFS while volunteering at a farm sanctuary near her home. Intrigued, she signed up for a tour with her husband, Scott, this past December. They were so impressed with everything about HEEFS, they knew they wanted to become regular volunteers. The fact that they live in Lockport, N.Y. – a two hour drive, and often time-consuming border crossing away, didn’t stop this dynamic duo from becoming valuable members of the HEEFS volunteer team!
Mary and Scott initially signed up to be monthly volunteers but they found the experience so much fun and so rewarding that it wasn’t long before they found themselves making the trek to HEEFS on a weekly basis. While up at HEEFS, the two help out with everything from barn laundry and chopping vegetables for the resident’s meals to cleaning out the pig pasture and creating our new garden beds. Whatever tasks they are doing, just being with the residents makes it all so much fun. “It’s heartwarming spending time with the residents of the sanctuary and being with like-minded people,” says Scott. “More than once, Mary has cried “happy tears” after watching the animals enjoying their lives at the sanctuary. It’s the simple things like watching Leonard, Hercules and Bobbie sleeping all nestled together, and Dolly investigating the outdoors for the first time.”
We always ask our volunteers to share any special moments they’ve had with our residents and Mary was happy to share this with us. “The first time that we volunteered I had the task of straightening up the towel shelves, which are located near Captain Dan’s “man cave”. Captain Dan very patiently listened to me drone on and on about boring issues (like the correct way to fold a bath towel), and he would occasionally tilt his head as if to say “Oh, really.” Of course, I had to give him an apple treat for sitting and listening so patiently. He is such a sweetheart!
After a full day of work and play at HEEFS, Scott and Mary say that they leave with a smile on their faces knowing that the animal residents are living in a wonderful place where they are surrounded by love and treated with respect.
Volunteer and tour dates for 2018 are now available!
Get to Know Yammy
If you're ever looking for a good listener...it won't be Yammy! She's a talker! And always has a story to tell. One of our more social and outgoing sheep, Yammy is always up for a cuddle or belly rub. When she's not hanging out with her best friend, Moose, she's waiting by the gate for a treat to show up. Her favourite are apple slices and kale.
Yammy is now 9 years old and about 210 pounds - with her wool. Like all of our sheep, she has her wool sheared once a year in May. This allows her to be cool in the summer and have her full, warm coat back in place for the fall and winter.
You can find out about all of our residents at www.happilyeveresther.ca
Help Keep Our Residents Warm and Comfy!
Did you know...
When the weather is super cold, like it's been up here at Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary, we go through a lot of extra straw to make sure all of our residents have soft, warm beds to sleep on.
Please help make sure we always have a good supply of straw on hand to get through the winter months.
You can purchase some straw for us and find a whole lot more Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary items, at the HEEFS Store
Try This Today!
Roasted Carrot and Sunflower Cream Sauce
Prep and Cook Time: 35 minutes plus overnight sunflower seed soak
Yields: 36 oz (1 litre).
Preheat the oven to 425F
1-1/2 cups (150g) raw unsalted sunflower seeds, soaked overnight in water
4 medium organic carrots, roughly chopped
1/4 of a medium onion
2 whole garlic cloves with skins
3 teaspoons (15ml) olive oil
Couple grinds of sea salt and black pepper
1/2 teaspoon (2ml) ground cumin
1 teaspoon (5ml) smoked paprika
3 tablespoons (45ml) Bragg liquid aminos, soy sauce or tamari sauce
3 cups (750ml) warm vegetable broth
1. Drain the soaked sunflower seeds and rinse them in a fine mesh colander. Place the sunflower seeds back in a bowl. Pour boiling water over them to kill any bacteria. Allow the sunflowers seeds to sit in the hot water for 5 minutes. Drain the sunflower seeds again and place them in a blender.
2. Place the carrots, onion and garlic cloves on a roasting pan. Coat with olive oil. Add the sea salt and black pepper. Roast at 425F for 25 minutes.
3. Add the warm roasted carrots and onion to the blender. Squeeze out the roasted garlic cloves from their skins and add them to a blender.
4. Add the remaining ingredients to the blender. Blend on high until smooth. Serve the warm sauce with cooked pasta or steamed vegetables.
Find more delicious recipes at Esther's Kitchen
Gone But Forever in our Hearts!
Please visit our In Memoriam page on the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary website. On this page we will forever remember and honour the amazing residents whose time at HEEFS has passed.