FrogHollow – A Rescue/Retirement Farm in Southwestern Ontario

A Quiet Hobby Farm outside of Woodstock, ON, Canada
A Quiet Hobby Farm outside of Woodstock, ON, Canada

I live right in the centre of Southwestern Ontario (or close to it). It is the most heavily populated area of Canada and contains the 401 which is one of the busiest highways in the world. What I love about living in this part of Canada (or Ontario) is that within 2 hours, I can reach many of Ontario’s big cities including Toronto. I can also find myself plenty of road trip destinations because this area is littered with dozens of quaint little towns and villages rich with culture, history and attractions. Or I can find tranquil quiet spots amongst the forests, pastures or rural settings throughout. It is wildly diverse.
One of these tranquil spots by most people’s definition would (what started out to) be a small hobby-farm outside of Woodstock. I know the owners quite well and have visited the farm a couple of times in the past but recently it has taken on a more pronounced identity that I have come to follow on Facebook. I find I look forward to the daily posts about the life of the animals on the farm. They each have a distinct name and personality that I love to see evolve through the post series. I am going to use the words right from its the Facebook page because those words, I think, capture the essence of this enchanting premise best.

FrogHollow – Rescue/Retirement Farm: We are a small family-run hobby farm in Southwestern Ontario, giving our many animals a safe place to live and love. They are all family, not food.

 

Green Pastures of Frog Hollow
Green Pastures of Frog Hollow

County Living – May 5, 2003: When we moved to the country we didn’t really come with a plan. We just decided we wanted to move our then, small family to greener pastures. We weren’t here very long before the barn looked mighty empty and we added some goats and a few chickens. Since then we’ve added a few more critters in need of a good safe place to call home…including a few more human residents too.

Heidi
Heidi

Heidi – 2003: Heidi is a sweet girl born to a feral Mother outside of our local corner store. We were asked to take her home to keep her out of harms way…who could say no to that cute face?

Bushy (aka Butch)
Bushy (aka Butch)

Bushy (aka Butch) – 2003: Butch, or as we would come to call him, Bushy (there was really nothing rough about this boy) was the cat with the big price tag as we liked to say. He was the ‘barn’ cat that we were asked to keep when we bought the farm. He didn’t stay a barn cat very long and soon traded his horseback naps to the comforts of the indoors and sleeping on beds. This is a boy who would be seen wandering far and wide (until he was promptly neutered), showed up home with a dislocated hip once, and then just disappeared one a rainy night. We called and searched for him but were just left missing him. ♥

Goats
Goats

Goats – 2004: Having no experience beyond dogs and cats we decided first to venture into goats. We started with three females and had one male on loan to us. As we would later come to realize, almost any animals that come here, stay here. Well Billy came and when we found out his fate upon return was not good he was here to stay too. The next spring we were blessed with the adventure of four beautiful baby goats. All of which enjoy the comfort of Mom and Dad by their side for life.

Cornelius
Cornelius

Cornelius Moves to the Country – June 2014: When I saw that poor Cornelius was living in a shelter surrounded by dogs I knew I needed to do something. When I called I found out he had actually been there for several months and many phone calls had still led to no takers. With his neuter scheduled, we made a plan to take the two hour drive to go pick him up the next week. My little one and I set out on our adventure to spring that pig from his jail and set him free in the green pastures at FrogHollow.  We were sent off with a giant bag of produce, and his bag of pig pellets so off we went for the trip home to freedom. It didn’t take him long to start meeting the furry neighbours in the pasture over the fence or the ducks roaming free. Corny is the most talkative pig I’ve ever met and is more than willing to express how he feels daily (translation is still in progress!). He has made friends with long time resident and lone pig, Daisy and has even accepted his new Tamworth siblings, as long as he can be the boss. Not sure how that will go over as they begin to tower over him but we will love him all the same!!! Welcome home Cornelius! ♥

Charlotte and Wilbur
Charlotte and Wilbur

Charlotte and Wilbur – August 3, 2014:  two new wonderful Tamworth pigs for us to become the proud new family of! Wilbur is a calm, cuddly boy who loves tummy rubs and stays close to his sister. Charlotte (aka Charlie) is a little more brave, adventurous, and ever so slightly more independent. Together they are the best of friends. We have all loved watching them meet new friends, play, fight, squeal, run, root, eat, and grow and grow and grow! They are a wonderfully fun addition to our barnyard and who have quickly gotten us wrapped around their trotters!! We owe their being here to the great family and volunteers at Cedar Row whom without we wouldn’t have our special red-haired beauties to love and spoil!!

This gives you a glimpse into life at FrogHollow.  I encourage you to visit and “Like” the page on Facebook. There are more animals and stories for you to see.  Awwww… life in Southwestern Ontario.

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In My Own Backyard

I was born, raised and live in Southwestern Ontario. You would think, with that much time spent in one area (over 40 years but under 42 years), I would be able to explain everything about it, right?.  And being Canadian, I could define the Canadian experience – right?  I’ll tell you, one can certainly have a Canadian foundation but really not know, nor understand, anything about what it is to a be a Canadian.  It wasn’t until I spent 4 months of my life living and travelling abroad, that I began to realize I needed to explore my roots and embrace my nationality.

View from the Glass Ceiling atop the CN Tower
View from the Glass Ceiling atop the CN Tower

During university, I spent 4 months living, studying and travelling abroad.  I was based in London, England, but being in such close proximity to so many other countries, I used my weekends, school breaks and summer, to travel the UK and a bit of Europe.  London didn’t feel much different from Toronto.  Big buildings, lot’s of traffic and resources; very cosmopolitan.  When I got to travel outside the city I was in awe.  Vast green forests and hills.  There were rocks and sheep and quaint little cobblestone roads.  I went up the Eiffel Tower in Paris  and couldn’t believe the beauty of all the twinkly lights and how far I could see.   Waiting for the elevator to go down, my best friend and I overheard the woman behind us, ask her companion how high the Eiffel Tower was.  It was certainly one of the highest structures she had ever been up.  My friend and I winked at each other because we knew the CN Tower in  Toronto, back home, was higher.  Then it occurred to me.  I hadn’t been up the CN Tower since I was 4.  I barely remembered being terrified riding the elevator to the top with my grandfather.  But that was it.  All of the sudden,  I felt like  a part in a movie when everything sped up and the picture became blurred.  The things I was admiring during this excursion, were things I didn’t even know if we had in Canada.  I never paid attention.  I took it for granted that things I saw everyday in my homeland were just always … there.  But were they??????

Lush forests in Ontario, Canada
Lush forests in Ontario, Canada

When I got home, I put on my national glasses and suddenly I saw … vast green forests and hills, rocks and sheep (and cows), not cobblestone roads but dirt roads with farms and livestock.  I took my (then) fiancee (and now both my sons) up to the top of the CN Tower and witnessed twinkley lights and saw for miles.  It brought tears to my eyes.  The things that  I thought were beautiful in a foreign land, were the very things that I couldn’t see in my own backyard.  It put things very dramatically into perspective.  I am so very GRATEFUL for all that I live amongst in this place we call Canada.

View for Miles
View for Miles