ELPHIN MOUNTAIN CONNEMARAS
Farm Life

History

Elphin Mountain Farm is a 100 acre farm located in rural Lanark County in eastern Ontario. The land is rough and hilly, an excellent training ground for future event horses. About 50 % of the property is covered in bush, forest and swamp, a creek runs through the back portion and the remaining land is pasture. The barn, constructed in 1917, is built in a rare stack-wall style, which can be seen in the background of some photos. It holds 10 stalls, a feed room, a large run-in area and an enormous loft. Other barns on the property include a small log barn which was built in the '30s and restored in 1985, and a log pig sty, both home to various critters.


Above: Elphin Mountain Farm, November 1990
Below: Elphin Mountain Farm, June 2000

Like the barns, the house is also log. It was constructed about 20 km from here, and resided there until the early '60s whereupon it was taken down, log by log, and transported here to be rebuilt on this foundation. One of our fields contains a graveyard in which the original settlers of this land are buried. The small plot is surrounded by a wrought iron fence, added later than the 4 graves, all with original limestone headstones. It is a beautiful resting place, we feel honoured to have it on the land.

We have lived here since 1983 and in that time raised numerous different breeds of livestock. Currently, as well as the Connemaras, we breed Border Collies.

  
The track leading out to pasture, Paul's Creek behind the house, and the riding ring.
All photos taken during the ACPS Inspection Tour, October 1997.

We have been home to other various and assorted species over the years by running a mixed organic farming operating which sells farmgate produce. In the 1980s a herd of purebred milking Jerseys and flocks of Columbia, Dorset, Corridale and Sulfolk sheep graced the farm until this became economically unviable. In the 1990s Heather experimented with coloured sheep, breeding the rare Black Welsh Mountains for several years. We have also raised pigs, from weaners to market weight hogs. Typically, we get 4 piglets in the spring and again in the fall, raise them over the summer or winter, and then get them butchered. All the meat we produce is exceptionally tasty and lean, and free from chemical additives, antibiotics or growth hormones. Not content with the ordinary, Heather's laying hens are Auracanas, South American chickens which lay eggs with green or blue shells. At different times we have had Rouen ducks (the domestic mallard), Pekin ducks and Emdon and Grey geese. Currently we only have Muscovy ducks and they are efficient flycatchers in the summer and very friendly and intelligent pets.


The barn, September 2002. Taken by Bridget Wingate.

Keeping our menagerie fed, watered and clean keeps us busy but I don't think either of us would trade it for anything, being farmers at heart!

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