The holiday season is over, and that means more time to get outside, get active, and make the most of what’s left of winter! Whether or not you’ve been to Wolfe’s Neck Center before, the changing seasons bring new life to the farm (literally!) and a variety of activities to make the most out of your visit. Here’s what you can expect:
A SPECTACULAR VIEW
Make sure to drive onto Burnett Road via Wolfe’s Neck Road for a beautiful view overlooking Casco Bay. The ice-covered shoreline is a sight to see, so be sure to bring your camera and pull over for a good look!
Next, on to the main campus of our farm, where you’ll find our Organic Dairy Barn and Wishcamper Livestock Education Barn. Park in the barnyard and take your time wandering through these open spaces.
ORGANIC DAIRY BARN
Our dairy barn is the hub of all dairy operations at the farm. You’ll see three age groups of cows on your walk through the barn:
To the right is our milking herd. We milk them twice a day in our parlor behind the barn. They rest in a bedded pack of sawdust, many layers deep. Our farmers “pick” the pack several times a day to remove any manure from the surface and maintain a clean place for them to lay down.
Peek outside…The milking herd is also fed several times throughout the day in the outside bunks to be sure they have enough calories to maintain their body condition and produce milk.
On your left as you walk through the barn are the heifers (young female cows who have not had a calf). This small group of calves are between 3 and 6 months of age and are living together after being weaned off of milk. They too have a bedded pack to rest on and are fed several times a day to make sure they have plenty to eat to help them stay warm and grow.
Take a closer look…You’ll notice these calves have
shaggy looking hair which is the winter coat they grow out in response to the light change in the winter.
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End your trip through the dairy barn by saying hello to the calves. Newborn to 2 months, these calves are in individual pens. They wear jackets when they are young and the weather is cold, which keeps them warm and helps them use their calorie intake to grow. Our newest calf was born on January 9th and is only the second Ayrshire born into our herd (our other breeds are Jerseys and Holsteins).
What’s in a name? The calves are named by taking the beginning letter of their mother’s name. Our apprentices have the special job of choosing a name that best fits the calf!
LIVESTOCK EDUCATION BARN
Cows are not the only animals on the farm. Our new Wishcamper Livestock Education Barn houses our goats and sheep, plus newborn lambs! As of early January, there are three lambs from two ewes in the barn. These lambs have arrived a little earlier than the rest, but we predict many more through the coming months. We are expecting 35 lambs from the 24 ewes, many in February, so expect a growing flock with each winter visit!
Caring for the lambs…Wondering about the layout of the barn? We separate the ewes with lambs into “jugs” for safety of the lambs. This prevents other ewes from “stealing” lambs and allows for bonding between the pair.
Lunch in the livestock barn…The ewes who’ve lambed get extra oats in addition to the standard diet for our sheep. Once the lambs are a couple of weeks old, they get access to grain through a creep feeder. This is a pen specifically designed to be small enough for lambs to fit through for extra access to feed that are out of reach for the ewes.
EXPLORE THE SNOWY LANDSCAPE
This quiet season gives visitors a chance to explore the campground on foot. Bring out your snow shoes for a peaceful walk through the campground roads, which are unplowed in the winter months for trail use. Leashed dogs are welcome, too. Come prepared! Be sure to wear layers and be conscious of the conditions.
Closer to the Little River Bridge is the West Bay of our campground. Walk this loop for a beautiful view of Casco Bay through the trees.
Across from the Campground Office (closed for the season), is a road through the East Bay and Middle Bay sections of our campground. Walk or snow shoe through here for a wintry wooded landscape and some water views. Look out for birds and other wildlife in the trees or tracks in the snow!
On the wood line behind the Wishcamper Livestock Education Barn, you’ll find the Farm Loop Trailhead. For a full winter adventure, head out in this direction for a wooded walk and views of the marsh.
Whichever direction you head on your snowy walk, make observations of the wintry surroundings and be sure to visit again in the summer to see how the environment has changed!
The Visitor Entrance to our farmhouse will remain open during daytime hours. Please feel free to come indoors to warm up or use the restroom. If you have any questions, please email us or ask a farmer while you’re here. Enjoy your visit!
Looking to stay in touch beyond your visit? Be sure to check our website for information on a limited number of events we’re hosting this winter. New this year is our Backyard Gardener Workshop Series, designed to give you a look at our vegetable production and tips for the aspiring small-scale farmer.
Support this special place by joining our community with an annual membership. You make these farm interactions and new educational programs possible! Learn more today.