I’m on a flight to New Zealand as part of my international government service. The 26 hour commute means that even with just two days of meetings in Auckland, I will be gone from the farm for 5 days.
I spent Saturday morning cleaning paddocks, emptying manure carts, packing hay bins, filling water troughs, and doing the final repairs/maintenance that will ensure the farm/sanctuary can thrive for a few days while I’m gone.
What happens at the sanctuary over a typical week?
Numerous volunteers spend time with animals, providing companionship, exercise and socialization
Horse experts bond with Amber, Milly, Grace, and Sweetie, showing them love, respect, and skill as they build enough trust to ride them. Star our donkey has dedicated volunteers that cherish their time with her, and give her the attention she loves, and the exercise with walks that she needs. Donors bring us saddles, bridles, medicine, blankets, and food to keep the horses healthy.
Our friends and colleagues help us create safe living spaces for our animals. Here’s what our equine rescue area looks like today with 8 stall spaces, an acre of paddock supported with heat, power, light, water, and a medical treatment area.
Our agriculture volunteers are helping with apple picking, mushroom log inoculation and harvest. We picked 40 pounds of Shiitake this week. Our 36 different varieties of apples are approaching that perfect picking moment. How do we know? We measure the starch and sugar levels of each tree to decide when to pick. Here’s a great article about the process.
New babies are born every week. Two proud guinea parents brought us a dozen new children which we’re caring for in our brooders.
Just before I left I completed the organic certification for 2017, which is very similar to a Joint Commission visit. The inspector reviewed our entire operation, our record keeping, and our policies. In 2017, we should achieve organic certification for our fruits, vegetables, honey, mushrooms, and compost.
We’re getting very close to completing our Sanctuary building phase - the electrical, plumbing, heating, windows/doors, painting, well systems, irrigation, and gutters/downspouts and fireplaces have all been fixed/maintained. The last project before winter is the generator - a 20kw Generac to ensure the animals have water, light and heat even if winter storms knock out power.
2017 has been an amazing time - a faster pace of change, projects, and activities than Kathy and I every thought possible. As we transition into Fall, we can say with confidence that the 200+ animals at Unity Farm Sanctuary are healthy, supported, and loved. That’s all we could ask for.
Now you know why Kathy and I can never travel together away from the sanctuary. While I’m in New Zealand, she’s running the enterprise. The good news is that we have traveled the world together from 1980 to 2010. At this point, we’re completely comfortable dedicating our lives to our sanctuary work.
Thanks so much to our volunteers, Board of Directors, and community for making it happen.
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