On Saturday, January 13th, we had the incredible opportunity to immerse ourselves in the rich history and vibrant present of farming life at Johnsons Harbour Farm.
Under the guidance of Lee Molkenbuhr, the farm's Manager, we had the chance to witness his extraordinary skills in farm management. Our adventure began with a delightful tractor and trailer ride to the peat bogs, where Lee shared valuable insights. He explained the meticulous process of preparing the peat bank, demonstrating how to carefully remove the top sod to create a stable surface and then stack the dried peat, a family tradition often accompanied by a traditional picnic.
Upon returning to the settlement, Lee led us to the cattle pens, where we met the cows, calves, and even had the unique experience of witnessing the milking of a cow named Alice. The children were especially thrilled by the opportunity to taste fresh milk, and Lee shared his fondness for the red and white Hereford breed due to their gentle nature.
Accompanied by Lee's daughters, Rylie and Morgan, we then visited the pig pen, observing the sow, piglets, and a briefly active boar. Our journey continued to the site of the old cow shed, where we explored a turf corral and play area, including a traditional "plinky" used for hanging beef during the colder months.
After gathering some dry peat, we were invited to the bunkhouse, where Lee demonstrated how an open grate fire was historically used for cooking. Following this, a delightful BBQ awaited us at the shearing shed, complete with homemade treats and a demonstration of "birthday bumps" for a young celebrant.
The day culminated with a captivating shearing demonstration, as Lee showcased his expertise garnered from participating in prestigious shearing competitions worldwide. As the group engaged in the process of shearing and fleece preparation, Sandra and Lee provided a glimpse into the farm's rich history, including tales of early settlers and the farm's previous owners.
Before bidding farewell, we visited the fencing caravan, where Lee shared his experiences of living and working with this essential shelter. Our day concluded with a beach visit for fossil hunting, guided by a knowledgeable volunteer geologist.
Our time at Johnsons Harbour was nothing short of remarkable, and we extend our heartfelt thanks to Lee Molkenbuhr and his family for an unforgettable and educational experience.