Foot Flats Farm - Amherst Island, Ontario, Canada Foot Flats Farm Seasonal Newsletter

2013 In Review

*Dan Simpson* June 2013
Sadly for us Dan ended his time with us in June 2013 — we had been working together for 5 years and he leaves now to focus on his own farm, his music, kitchen parties through the winter, The Emerald Music Festival in August, and his new role as a country music presenter on CJAI, our Island radio station.We've had a great few years with Dan, renovating both the Goodman House and the Emerald House. He is always cheerful, turning his hand to any farmwork, machinery repair, construction and whatever crisis might present itself.

His motto: "The impossible just takes a little longer".

Thank you Dan!

*Mike McKee* July 2013
In July 2013 Mike McKee, his wife Anita and youngest son Graeme moved into the Emerald House. Mike has retired after a long and successful career in the Canadian Forces to realize his goal of becoming a full time shepherd! He is now the Assistant Manager at Footflats Farm. It was straight in at the deep end as we launched into our biggest hay making season ever. Grandaughter Noa joined us for the summer as part of the team and we rolled up nearly 850 tons of hay in our new John Deere mesh wrap baler.

*WEATHER 2013*
Just after putting the Ram out on December 16th, we had an ice storm
that lasted for about a week. The ewes were carrying 10+ lbs of ice on
their backs which I am sure will delay lambing next May.

Writing this now in March 2014 we can safely say that we are still in
the grip of the worst winter since 1992. A farmer we know in Prince
Edward County who is in his 80's recently told us he couldn't remember a
colder, snowier or longer winter. What a contrast to writing in March
2012 where we had the mildest winter on record here.

It has been a real challenge keeping feed up to the ewes. We had no breaks in the weather, when we weren't facing continued cold spells, we experienced heavy snowfalls with no thaws to relieve the situation. We can only hope that
the deep freeze has made it harder for parasitic worms to survive the winter.

*Bits and Pieces 2013*
In June Loyalist Township protected many of the old drystone walls on
the Island under the Ontario Heritage Act. The drystone wall Mark built
in 2006 beside the house was also added to the list—gratifying for us
to know that we have added to Ontario's heritage.

In October we installed a solar microfit project on the roof of the
barn. This high, steep roof has the perfect southerly aspect and it is
gratifying to know that on a very clear, cold day in the winter we are
making some money!

The saga of the wind turbines continues on Amherst Island. There is a project in the works to build 36, 550 foot-high turbines on the Island despite strong opposition from most residents. The designation of the Island as an "Important Bird Area"(IBA) (habitat and migration areas for Owls, Raptors and many rare species of birds) appears to be over- ruled by the "Green Energy Act"(GEA), as is the democratic will of most residents and property owners on the Island.

The input of Loyalist Township is also severely restricted by the GEA.

The Suzuki Foundation has made a statement that IBA'S are not appropriate places for wind turbines.

Margaret Atwood, a strong environmentalist, has also come out publicly to say that Amherst Island is the wrong place for turbines – "a very wrong place". The application is also opposed by the Cataraqui Conservation Authority, Kingston Field Naturalists, Nature Canada and many other groups. Over a thousand submissions have been made to the Ministry of Environment questioning the application by Wind Electric and yet the process towards construction grinds steadily on leaving us all confused as to what the future of the Island will be.

You can learn more here:

Sadly Stella, Cherry's Border Collie died this summer as did Scruffy, the majestic porch cat. They are both missed a lot.

All the best to all of our friends and family ,
Cherry and Mark.