It's been a hot few weeks! Day after day the sheep have been spending less time out in the pasture. It's been too hot, humid, and sunny for them to be outside for too long. With a much cooler barn to hang out in, I can't say I blame them. I didn't want to spend time outside either. Thankfully, it did rain significantly over the past few days.
Despite the dry weather it has been an amazing time for butterflies! Each year it seems we get more species visiting. Of course it's time for monarchs, but we get so many more. On an average walk it's not unusual to see at least 4 species of butterflies. Here are pictures of three species. I've also seen Skippers, Buckeyes, Red and White admirals, Sulphur's, and so many more. Pastures and meadows are a haven for them!
This was a relief as we had a great group of interns here planting some trees in our middle field. Recently I reached out to an international education charitable organization called Elephant Thoughts that has a location 10 minutes north of us just outside Durham. Abbey, one of their directors was a guest on The Back 40 podcast. Part of the Elephant Thoughts philosophy is to collaborate with farmers close to each of their locations (they have more than one). So I reached out to them. This led to a visit up to the Riverstone campus, a large organic farm property they had recently acquired from a family that wanted to see it continue.
It's a beautiful place with many gardens, buildings, and wild spaces. Simona, the lead agriculture facilitator is well versed in sustainable agriculture, permaculture, and community initiatives. It was great to see all the amazing things they do there including a farmer training program that grows food for the local foodbank.
This past week the interns came here to visit some sheep and plant some trees. Yes, it's not the ideal time to plant trees I know. Tim and I just haven't had the time or energy to dig the holes needed to get them into the ground. We were very thankful to have the help, no matter the time of year.
Over 12 food forest trees were planted on that Tuesday afternoon on the hot sun. Some of the trees planted include chestnut, walnut, heartnut, buartnut, honey locust, apple, aronia, and black locust. It was a great afternoon that consisted of lots of dirty hands, hauling water, and ending in a very tasty sheep milk gelato. So grateful for the help!
This was only the second real time we've had groups on the farm. The first was an EFAO (Ecological Farmer's of Ontario) event that had over 30 people here to discuss silvopasture, hedgerows, and sheep. It was a really enjoyable time.
So, we're goign to do more farm tours, more open days, and generally having more things happen on the farm. It's something Tim and I have discussed, but since moving here we've been very focused on getting the farm stabilized into a pattern of sorts. We feel we are more or less there now.
Where is it going to go? Not sure yet. But it's going to be an exciting journey!