The Township told Topsy Farms we had to tear down our Wool Shed store to widen the road. What a shock!
Our Wool Shed at Topsy Farms is housed in a former small milk house/ice house, built about 90 years ago on the edge of the narrow road, on the edge of the lake, handy for the horse and wagon. After electricity came to the Island, that small building was used for storage, for making candles, for a farm workshop, then for a teenager’s band. It then evolved into a store outlet for wool blankets, throws, lap robes, and cotton-encased wool bedding; sheepskin products; yarn; roving; raw honey and lamb cuts. The Wool Shed is also a destination for people who come for farm events, enjoying shearing and helping to foster baby lambs.
The blocks of ice for refrigeration came from the lake, but it continued its slow steady erosion of the limestone shoreline and cliffs, chewing at the rocks until a person can stand in a cave under parts of the road.
The school bus, feed delivery trucks and heavily laden farm wagons travel that same, dangerously undercut road.
Loyalist Township is working to make the north-west corner of Amherst Island safe, by redirecting, shoring up, ditching and widening – a massive undertaking.
We feel both threatened and grateful by the plan to tear down our Wool Shed store.
Farmers must be as flexible as a tree, bending with the winds of change. We need to perceive modernization as beneficial, even while the road crew are cutting down our venerable trees that are too close to the road. Our family must flow like the water, moving smoothly around unmanageable barriers; persisting at reducing others.
We are turning the cut trees into lumber and firewood and mounds of organic wood mulch.
We are building a larger, designed-for-the-purpose Wool Shed in our back yard.
Our extended family have prepared a concrete pad. We hope that Noel, an artist with a backhoe, will be able to lift our former store (milk house/ice house) and move it beside the new building. It will be a storage area, linked to the shop. Success will depend upon the unknown base of the aged structure.
Our 3 generation family at Topsy Farms sees this upheaval as a challenge and opportunity to spruce up, rebuild, and otherwise improve our space.
We’ll be inviting everyone to a party this fall to celebrate the new/old Wool Shed.