Thursday, December 15, 2016

Unity Farm Sanctuary Begins

Today we completed the purchase of the Unity Farm Sanctuary, established Unity Farm Sanctuary Inc. (a non-profit charity) and opened for animal rescue.    Our first new citizens arrived on our first day.

Pippin is a 30 year Welsh Pony who is healthy, friendly, and outgoing.    He has Cushing’s disease so he needs daily Pergolide mesylate, a dopamine agonist. It works by taking over regulation of the pituitary gland, helping to decrease ACTH release and lower blood cortisol levels. Although Cushing's can't be cured, administration of this medication can help control symptoms, and possibly slow the progression of the disease.

Billy and Marky are weathered (gelding) Alpine goats.   They have an unclear history other than being found thin and unloved on a run down farm.   They are incredibly friendly and love human companionship.  They are very gentle and will do well with visiting children.

Napoleon is a weathered (gelding) pygmy goat.    He’s a bit shy but we’re sure he’ll gain confidence over time.    Although Napoleon was not at the same farm as Billy and Marky, he’s become an equal member of the herd.   When Kathy and I each led Billy and Marky from the barn to paddock, we left Napoleon in the barn for a few minutes.   He really missed his buddies and when we returned for him, he ran to the paddock to join Billy and Marky.

We had 6 inches of snow today and now that we’re clearing 30 acres, multiple paddocks and multiple roads, we had a chance to test out the new plow on the Terex front loader.   Peter, who helps us out on the farm, declared our equipment to be ideal for purpose.  With a Terex PT 30 tracked vehicle and appropriate attachments - snow blower, plow, bucket, forks - we’re ready for anything.

Last week we sold my Toyota Prius and replaced it with a Ford 150 3.5L 4x4, which has been wonderful in the snow and ice of our first major winter storm.

We’ve stocked the Sanctuary barn with timothy hay, goat grain, and a special high fiber horse grain for Pippin.   We purchased a size 54 insulated/waterproof horse blanket so that Pippin will be more comfortable during his winter days in the paddock,

Closing escrow and becoming operational within 24 hours was challenging, but such is the reality of rescue operations.   You have to be agile to respond to evolving situations.  We have a 20 year old Arabian arriving on December 26 and we were just asked to take on an 18 year old Quarterhorse the same day.     We’re being very careful to avoid taking on too much too soon and needing rescue outselves!

As the holidays approach, we’ll have a few days with family and friends who can all help with sanctuary building.    There are fences to repair and paddocks to amend with stone dust.   There are trails to cut.    As we prepare to receive the public there is electrical, plumbing, and carpentry.   There is painting and floor refinishing.    Here's the almost 200 year old Unity Meeting Hall on the property.

In that spirit, my Thursday blogs for the next year will be called “Building Unity Farm Sanctuary”, explaining all the work we’re doing to create a legacy for the town of Sherborn and the region offering rescue, education, and community services from a publicly available center just 500 feet from downtown.

The sanctuary building was created in 1830 and served initially as a meeting hall for the Unitarian church (hence Unity Lane, our access road).   As we build the sanctuary, the building will return to its tradition as a public meeting space.   The Thursday blog will document the journey ahead.

The adventure begins!


Unknown said...

WOW. Words escape me.

Claudia said...

Good luck, this is a great thing to do.

Anonymous said...

I wish you all the best with your sanctuary and stand ready to help you in any way I can.