Why I Care So Much For Animals


Life continues with its ebb and flow here at Free Farm Animal Home   where it is becoming increasingly apparent that nothing is FREE.


Although I have more or less given up on finding a deserving family who will in fact care for the animals here, applicants continue to pour in through the original long delisted kajiji ad. In fact, this weekend a determined family from Toronto, desperate to escape from what they view as the “rat race” are coming to roll up their sleeves, rent a room in the local motel and try their hand for three days at what they perceive will be an environment for them. We shall see. Nothing like jumping right into the boiling pot during  the daunting winter months.Two weeks ago another  city family took the plunge, begging me for the chance, convincing me they could last the two days I proposed. When their car pulled up my driveway and came to a screeching halt, the youthful wife bounced out of the car and the older retired husband, a clone of Mike Duffy, slumbered out behind her reminding me of a marshmallow rolling off of a table in slow motion.I rather liked him as, many moons ago while on a national tour promoting a book I wrote, I was a guest on the television show,”Mike Duffy Report” with  CTV news. Anyway, this family which rekindled  a past life of mine  lasted all of three and a half hours before telling me, evidently out of breath, “This is not for us.” (POSTSCRIPT A WEEK LATER: The determined family who  came after the Duffy lookalike,  packed it in after a day professing they were “overwhelmed” and understandably so coming from an urban environment.)


Meanwhile, a lot of email continues to rather plague me with soul-searching questions, largely out of curiosity.


Is it not insanity, craziness to assemble so many animals that cost endless physical, emotional and financial resources, enough to undo any “normal” person?


I must confess that by the definition of our English language that yes, I am crazy, insane. I am not “normal” as it were. Normal would be to be seen as looking after oneself, being prudent in a financial sense and basically being reasonable.


Let’s face it, the world, at least to me, is a very interesting place in that we have different  viewpoints, different lifestyles and differences in general. Even different ways of thinking. Some life stories inspire us to be better people; some point to a lesson of avoiding a self- destructive path.


As for myself, I share some rather personal details here in the hopes of answering some questions that keep bombarding my email.


I grew up in a dysfunctional family (who doesn’t nowadays, eh?) I was constantly being abandoned and thrust into the care of various children’s aids societies in Quebec under that notorious rule of Maurice Duplessis. I was never able to answer or even address the crucial question, Who Am I?  Nor was I able to probe another life sustaining thought, Where Do I belong? As such, the answers to these questions were, I am NOBODY. And, I don’t belong anywhere.I was in fact a mere “less than…” marginalized individual with whom the authorities  during my elementary school years proposed a lobotomy to rectify my demeanour.  Fortunately, my single often unemployed mother did not have the funds to  pay for this procedure. We were not exactly cut of the same financial  cloth of America’s Lancelot clan, the Kennedy’s  who were in fact  able to take this expensive avenue with one of their children. 


Now, age 63, I look back at a fascinating, colourful and engaging life ride which saw me move from rags to riches and back down where I am at present, financially speaking that is, in the poor house, just like most of the planet (sans the rich).


I have since been able to determine who I am. I’m a person with a big heart when it comes to caring about anything,including people, and especially animals. And, as far as belonging, well, that’s an ongoing challenge. As far as my rather lacking social skills are concerned I developed  a compensating  bad habit of becoming a control freak, alienating those who did not understand me. 


Here is another mystery explained. For me, with the kind of background experience I have unwittingly survived, I find that it is rather useless to merely have COMPASSION for causes, like animal welfare to take an example. There is the equally vital component of ENGAGEMENT that must come with the compassion. To dig deeper into my own personal experience, I remember how my continuously abandoning mother allowed me, for a brief time, to own a cat which I named “Fuzzy” but one day, she unceremoniously  tossed it outside when  I was told we were leaving Montreal, actually running away to Toronto under the looming  threat of  terrorism in 1967 during  the FLQ crises. I was not only horrified about leaving my cat but I was told we would be leaving our life behind — in 15 minutes   time! Funny how certain pivotal  events in our lives can remain in  our consciousness for so long. I understood then that this was not the way to treat any living entity, people or animals. My life now, with  the Free Farm Animal Home derives its roots from that one callous act. This painful  memory is certainly not fuzzy for me.


To elaborate on my  value system, my way of looking at the “animal problem” as some see it, if you see an abandoned cat and merely provide some kibble for that living creature, and do nothing more, you’ve hardly made a dent in the precarious world it is facing. In my mind, far too many people take the plunge, especially at Christmas time to adopt a cute little kitten for their young child, never giving a thought to the realistic possibility that the animal may need professional medical attention and a life time of commitment to nurture its well being and give it the kind of opportunity it truly deserves.


As such, unlike some other well-meaning animal caretakers, I am not one that believes in merely keeping silent about any medical condition of an animal and just content with passing it along in a quick adoption process, like a hot potato, out of sight, out of mind, no longer being bled financially as it is now someone else’s “problem.”


I have been the recipient of  that route in my own personal life and know what sort of unfair challenges this behaviour leads to. To me, it’s just not right. But that’s only my “not normal” approach in my attempt to make a difference to the animals I have brought aboard on my self created Noah’s Ark. For many, this is pure lunacy, I realize, but this is me, the person I am.


I have more or less resigned myself to the reality that it will be a very hard thing to find a family to carry on in my footsteps of course.


Recently, I experienced a rather challenging, emotionally challenging situation. The vet clinic I was using harmed my cat. They more or less forced me to undertake a rather risky and expensive full dental extraction of a cat. They told me they would no longer continue to treat this cat unless I agreed. So I agreed. They botched the procedure and instead of telling me this, they tried to cover it up. First, they refused to allow me to see the teeth they pulled. I asked for x-rays but they talked me out of it. I was told by the owner of the clinic that all the  teeth had been removed successfully, roots intact as well. No   problems. Mind you, the owners of this busy clinic would not allow me to talk to the actual tooth puller on their staff. Furthermore, they put a lot of pressure on me to turn over the cat to their clinic to have it as a house cat. After I paid the hefty fee for  their services mind you.


When the symptoms of the cat become once again exasperated, and it was clear the initial vets who were caring for this cat with promises that the physical pain would definitely be resolved with this procedure, I followed the advice of another vet clinic I hired and insisted on an x-ray and followed through with a visit to one of Canada’s leading cat dental specialist who found multiple roots had not been removed from the teeth that had been pulled, and older teeth that had fallen out ages ago leaving potential nerve damaging roots behind, even though the vets medical records stated in their own handwritten notes that ALL of the roots were successfully removed and , in a horrific, to me at least, a made up and self protecting report entry that the pet owner refused x-rays. Here was evil in its worst form. Lies.     



It is the kind of situation in life, in reality in any medical environment, that comes up every now and then. There are obviously times when we absolutely need medical assistance to resolve suffering. But sometimes the engagement of veterinary medicine is like a marriage. You can’t live without it and you can’t live with it type of thing.


How am I dealing with this issue, a situation that   surfaces when you have many animals to care for, now with a cat that I am told by the dental specialist can no longer have his roots removed because it would be   too risky to operate again, even mere weeks after the partial dental extraction, because the original attending vet had overlooked a heart murmur?


Indeed, a tough situation to process and right now as noted earlier I continue to receive compassionate   care of this animal through another vet.


Some pet owners might be tempted to   litigate, especially with proof of falsifying medical records, covering up a botched procedure and basically less than competent care. But personally, being who I understand I am, my view is to walk away and spend my limited energy on addressing the needs of the animals themselves. Albert Schweitzer and Mahatma Gandhi are the role models in my eyes and taking their non-revengeful , non resistant approaches rule my day.


May this blog answer the questions of the readers who are curious.




This wonderful afternoon I feel the sunshine blowing up my ass.


Yesterday there were issues and as I blogged, my life was pretty much up. No more Pea Soup for Stephen Overbury. No more handwritten letters. What else can one do but laugh it off, make myself a home made bun with fresh duck eggs and locally produced cheese. With a cup of instant Tasters Choice black coffee, served at 3AM in my driveway overlooking the cows chewing their cud, puffing away at a Century Sam, weather at minus ten be damned. Life, she is beautiful, no?


Today I took my customary walk with the dogs along the Rideau Canal and then it hit me. The architect of this marvel, which would eventually be recognized as a world famous UNESCO Heritage site, Lieutenant Colonel John By, found himself unwanted by the powers that be in Mother England for having spent too much time and too much money, building the elaborate system of locks.


If Col. By could have a bad day, so could I. Along my ritual walk this sunny day, I encountered my good friend and farmer, George,  who offered me a bushel of carrots, picked minutes earlier. I was as happy as a dog with a bone. I planned to bring those mouth watering carrots home and cook them with my last can of Pea Soup.


You see, after living through the humiliation of being unceremoniously thrown out of that important drug haven, Shoppers Drug Mart, I returned home to discover I couldn’t find my can opener! Even an old rant like me deserves a break, the last rites of a bowl of Pea Soup. But life was not kind.

Laugh it off I told myself.


Then the phone rang this afternoon. It was the acting manager at Shoppers.


“Mister Overbury. We’re so sorry. We mistook you for someone else, someone who was violent to the cashier you were served by who tried to steal product from us. We have reviewed our security footage and realize we made a big mistake.”


Well, I guess I won’t have to search for another pharmacy to buy drugs anymore. But I will have to clean up my disheveled appearance that is the byproduct of never slowing down in this animal home!


Since the end of the first Great War, “Homemade Traditional Habitant French-Canadian PEA SOUP” has been a Canadian staple. At least for me.I remember this on on the 11th day of the  eleventh month, this cold winter night when I have successfully captured two of the litter of kittens I spoke of in my last blog, still awaiting the elusive calico who has been taught by  her now deceased mother not to trust  humans under any circumstances and is still hiding somewhere under the skids in my hay barn.


As for me, the tired caretaker of these wonderful creatures,  I find myself like a dog without a bone. I am no longer able to purchase a can of the Pea Soup at the Shoppers Drug Mart here  in the quaint and wonderful town of  Smiths Falls, not far from our  country’s capital of Ottawa.


Add to that demise, if you now write me an old fashion letter like most Canadians did during the war years,  and I receive a card in my mailbox because the Canada Post courier can’t be bothered to walk up to my door to inform me that there is a signature required, I can no longer receive my mail at the Smiths Falls Shoppers Drug Mart outlet where it will be stored.


This is rather annoying because in my life experiences I had the pleasure of meeting  a rather pleasant pharmacist, the late Murray Koffler who just happened to be the founder of that same Shoppers Drug Mart chain of stores that has suddenly taken a dislike to me.  I once profiled Koffler for Toronto’s Business Magazine and as I got to know  him became a fan of Shoppers.



A little violin music please, maestro. I hate to rain on your parade dear reader, but my life is finished here in Smiths Falls. I will no longer be able to receive handwritten letters.


This a saga which  you must pass along to your children, to ensure they do not follow in my wicked footsteps, that they do not languish as citizens of this great country because they can no longer buy the Pea Soup here.


It is further depressing to also learn I will not be able to follow the advice of the Shoppers headliner banners which scream at you as soon as you enter any one of their cross Canada stores, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. TAKE YOUR MEDS. WE’RE HERE TO HELP.


No longer will I be able to stock up on the latest anti depression pills to remove the death sentence I now face of not being able to purchase my Pea Soup. No sir.


I might linger outside their store peering through the constantly scrubbed windows witnessing the hyper activity of the overworked staff that works until they look like they personally need the meds they sell by the glass load. I will still be an outcast, forced to walk for at least ten minutes to another pharmacy that might accept a louse like me and allow me to medicate my woes of banishment away. And buy the odd can of Pea Soup. But of course, it will never be the same as buying it at store that the polite, caring and honourable  gentleman, Murray Koffler built when Canada was a different kind of country than it is today, when arrogant  companies did not  rule the day.


All of this mayhem began, as a matter of daring to challenge what I thought was a laughable and arrogant putdown by a large company like Shoppers.


Last week, my local medical clinic suggested I purchase a one years supply of thyroid medication to save on the four dispensing fees I was used to paying. I had been buying it four times a year.


When I went to pick up the prescription,  I was presented with a dispensing fee of  TWO purchases. I made the fatal mistake, the one that would cost me my Pea Soup for the rest of my life, by daring to discuss the issue with THE pharmacist himself, the High Priestess of Medicated Happiness.


Mind you, it wasn’t such a happy conversation. It went like this:


“Could you possibly explain how you charge me for TWO dispensing fees when I am making ONE order.”


“It’s in the computer system sir, that’s all.”


“That’s crazy,” I suggested. “I certainly don’t mind paying a highly trained professional such as yourself, with a handsome dispensing fee at that,  but I do mind paying you for a second service you clearly did not perform.”


The pharmacist was looking a little rough when I answered this way and came back at me with a vengeance. In fact, I was worried he was going to burst a blood vessel. Don’t mess with a Drug Lord I told myself.


“Listen, as far as I’m concerned you saved money. We spent a lot of time on your order and hand cut the pills ourselves. All 360 of them. It took time. You got value,” he quipped and with a shake of his hand it was clear the conversation was over.


Well, that was that, eh? I then got the bright idea of calling the media relations department for Shoppers, which yielded nothing, not even a return call. The same for Loblaws, which now owns Shoppers. Then I read in The Globe and Mail that the corporate owners were arbitrarily tacking on a new near one percent charge on every supplier that sells anything to Shoppers and Loblaws. That they could do   and would do and be damned with the suppliers. Shoppers was the giant, the new goliath of the retail world of food and drugs. But to be fair to their way of thinking one must consider how their costs are going up and eroding the profit margins of important shareholders. And not to forget the near fasting executives who refuse to return calls likely because they have become anemic after cutting back on their vast energy producing intake of red meat because costs are high. It takes more effort and time and money to bury the money in offshore accounts. Talk about pressure. Those poor company heads.


Having realized how large players were being routinely shafted,  I just decided to drop the matter. I had bigger fish to fry.


Then I got the urge during this sub zero  winter night to buy a can of Habitant Pea Soup. I waited patiently in line at the Shoppers Smiths Falls outlet and was asked to wait for a moment, which was prolonged into five long moments. I thought it would be worth it to enjoy that heated Canadian traditional soup.  I waited and waited wondering what had happened and then an acting manager approached me rather abruptly as I was lost in my thoughts, and informed me I had been told not to enter the store, not to pick up my mail, not to buy my Pea Soup here. Ever  again! I had in fact been banned   without having been told. Oh my.


Well, I was just shattered. Imagine, a cold wintery night in Smiths Falls and you are being read a death sentence. No more Pea Soup. This could be interpreted as my final hour, if only I couldn’t see the comedy in it.


“You had been told Sir.”


I gathered my courage to reply.


“By whom? Are you sure you have the right person?   Nobody has approached me.”


“We’re sure the  store Manager has told you by now. Now, Sir, you’ll have to leave,” intimating the hard-core police force in Smiths Falls would show up armed and take me down. I wasn’t worried about that mind you. I had just picked up my mailed parcel from the Shoppers mail outlet in the back of the store moments earlier and in that very parcel was a fountain pen. Personally I believe the pen is mightier than the   sword as they say so I was not to be rattled by this threat.


Not to be undone, not to let my face down, to carry on in the name of other great Canadian Pea Soup lovers, I made a plea for justice.


“Well, I guess my life is over. But could I kindly purchase this one last thing, this   important can of Habitant Pea Soup. I’m so hungry and it’s so cold outside.”


The compassionate assistant floor manager gave in. Who says Smiths Falls workers have no heart, eh?


“Well, I suppose we can make this last exception but only if you promise not to return.”


In my mind, that recess I travel to when faced with troublesome situations, I raised my left hand and muttered, “I promise to tell the whole spoof and anything but the truth so help me God. I will not return.”








I seldom share my grief in public, especially during this Free Farm campaign, but for the emotionally charged event of today this will be an exception.


I first saw this robust calico cat the other week, darting in and out of my cattle yard. She was skittish at best, refusing to even allow me more than a mere glance. But I saw her. She mattered.


The thought of rescuing yet another stray did not seem like an option. I mean, when is enough ENOUGH? I had one hundred cats and kittens to tend to with mounting vet bills and endless food supplies to further a fast track to absolute financial ruin. Not to mention the incredible amount of associated work and responsibility.


I hesitated. Then, as fate would have it, yesterday, inside the hay barn I walked in to find a family of half a dozen young kittens darting away. The calico cat had given birth to a litter months earlier without me finding out. And a brutal winter was about to rear its ugly head tonight. Oh no. What to do now?


Being as I am with a profound belief in the idea that compassion without engagement is useless, I decided to attempt to catch the family.


It wasn’t to be. On my daily dog walk today, I found the mother and one of her babies dead from a car impact alongside of the road.


I spent the rest of the day reflecting on my lack of taking quicker action. That cat, a calico, was the trademark cat of my friendly neighbor, Sarah who has since passed on. She would tell anyone who would listen how she loved calico cats.


Sarah had her own brand of caring. Basically, she allowed any or all neighborhood strays to come and go in her cottage house. Her windows and front door remained open year round. No litter boxes. No neutering, no medicine, not a single call to a vet. Just allowing nature to take its course. She amassed what neighbors tell me was hundreds of cats, most of whom were run over on the highway that separated her property from mine.


When I first considered buying my waterfront farm, I saw two kittens, both of which appeared to be injured, one of which was bleeding. Calicos of course. The previous owners of my property told me they were strays and they fed them from a distance. Not to worry old boy, I was told, they would be tended to in the farm sale.


The following day I asked about the kittens. “Oh, they were sick and died,” replied the elderly owner.


I put my foot down and told the couple that unless they caught the two kittens, alive, I would not even entertain the very idea of buying their farm.


Mysteriously, the following day I received a phone call informing me the kittens were in a cage awaiting my visit!


The local vet informed me that each of the kittens required a leg to be amputated and it would cost three thousand dollars, up front of course.


I decided to pay the bill but as luck would have it, a young couple saw these adorable creatures and wanted to adopt them and would pay for the operations.


After I moved onto the property I would find endless calico cats, a number of whom would give birth to litters that were in varying conditions of health, enough to keep me busy before my animal kingdom grew. I paid for all of this and found homes for many of the cats.


It appeared that this colony was rife with inbreeding, something that is very popular in Lanark county in general.


Sarah was well known. She was extremely attractive and made sure you noticed she had a very engaging large set of breasts. They were often exposed when you met her. She was known by a lot of local men you could say. As an elementary school teacher she got herself entangled in a secret affair with the principal but when he tried to end the brief indiscretion his wife left him and he ended up marrying Sarah the animal lover. She became a hoarder of things and of animals. When I met her she told me she didn’t own a single cat, that locals would drop them off and out of kindness she would merely feed them. Mind you, she once confessed to me that she also kept the odd calf in the bathroom during the biting winters to avoid attacks from coyotes, in her new digs, a waterfront dilapidated cottage. She had a fetish for cows even though many kept getting out of her poorly fenced pasture land and getting run over by local trains. She was no longer living in her grand Victorian brick house across the street as it had been condemned by the local government. Almost eighty, with hundreds of cats and the same number of cows, she allowed a local troubled handyman to live with her in exchange for helping out. He was half her age and evidently fit enough to run the menagerie.


She kept up her hoarding lifestyle with the occasional interruption of local mental health authorities slowing her down and the odd raid by the police department and the OSPCA. But this was her life god bless her.


She and I had differences about how to care for animals. In her world, learning that hundreds of her cats were run over was processed in a cavalier manner, as if to say, this  was their fate and acceptable to Sarah. Paying nothing for their care didn’t bother her in the least. She was thrifty with her millions.


It’s hard to be self righteous about the situation. It is what it is. The unnamed calico I buried today was one of the few I must have missed when I rounded up all of her cats. I was told earlier in the summer that she was about to be institutionalized and her live in was about to inherit all of her numerous farms and personal property, that he wanted the cats put to sleep and had called the OSPCA who planned to come and comply with this request.I arranged a quick visit to see her and in a legal fashion she signed over the care of all her animals, including her poorly tended to guard dogs (which I have since found homes for). 


I felt a need to make a difference to these cats   in particular and touch wood, under the supervision of two vet clinics they are doing well, forty kittens to boot. (Remember, when I caught them half were pregnant! )Adoptions are now possible to good responsible homes.


Why write this you might ask. I suppose there is a little bit of melancholy in me at this time, having just returned from burying the unnamed mother and her child. There is no anger, just acceptance that life, especially with regards to animals, is not always fair.


In terms of my Free Farm campaign you might wonder, exactly what has happened?


Have you ever woken up one day and thought that FOR SURE you had the perfect solution for some overwhelming challenge that you were faced with?


Well, I did. I thought with fifty million clicks in the social media mayhem that broadsided me that I couldn’t possibly miss at finding a suitable candidate. I would succeed. Guaranteed. Just a little discomfort to weed through the endless contestants.


But I could not have been more wrong.     I wasn’t successful, which may turn out to be a good thing after all. Right now, I have hired and continue to look for paid help to assist the onslaught of work here in this unusual, perhaps insane world I have created. And I’ve come to terms with the more than 17,000 applicants who did   their best to persuade me that they were my answer. I now find it rather a comedy of errors or an error in comedy. The experiences were rich and moving and unquestionably engaging material for a hilarious book, which I am now busy preparing.






I signed off my blog weeks ago when my “angels” arrived. I had succeeded. Ready or not, Japan here I come.A group of single parent Mom’s who were for the most part on welfare, which in these neck of the woods are considered financially solvent, were the answer to my prayers of desperation. My friends in town warned me, in front of the Angels at that, “Stephen, You will be back in three months. Count on it.” I thought that comment was negative thinking on their part.


The angels were relatively young, beautiful and incredibly physically strong and hell bent on launching an animal sanctuary of some sort.


So I thought.


After a mere two weeks of living with a group of four of the seven of them, in my house, with their hanging fly paper, rules to keep intrusive thoughts out by keeping any talk shows on the radio off in my (former) house, and another one hundred or so immediate rules to live by, I found myself facing a do or die situation.


The angels presented me with a DEAL FROM THE DEVIL.


That’s right. Straight from HELL I tell you. Unthinkable. But right there staring at me in the face. I must do things THEIR way or the highway was the clear cut message.


The form of this rather unpleasant situation took a strange twist. The Charles Manson type of iron control  leader of this pack of  obedient wolves was far away in St. Catherine’s but very much here all along. Whatever came out of my mouth was immediately texted to her and, in a manner similar to Oz in the Wizard of Oz, I would get a quick, thundering email to correct my thinking, to keep it in line with The Way of The Group. A cult ? I wondered out loud one day. Big mistake to have even breathed that word as the leader, with whom I was never allowed to know her actual name, threatened to remove baked goods from the menu. Yes, I was expected to eat with everyone, in order to belong in the Inner Circle.It was known as parenting with Integrity, they told me. I saw it as an indoctrination of a cult myself, but smartly kept that thought to myself. (How else would I get baked goods, eh?)


After two weeks in the thick of it, things were heating up in terms of the cat situation with an avalanche of work as a deadly viral  and parasite infection hit my cat population. The amount of time and energy to cope was quite frankly difficult for even a full time established animal sanctuary.


It was at this point I arrived home to find my animal loving angels in the driveway. They were leaving, telling me they would be back soon, maybe in a week or so, but only  once I had a lawyer’s agreement in place.This, their leader had pronounced, would keep them away from the shackles of SLAVERY and PAIN which hard work could bring if there was nothing in it for them. At least, that’s the way it was explained to me. They were as surprised as me that they were suddenly leaving, as this was certainly not a planned move, especially in light of the workload for the sick cats,  but they were powerless to ride against the ordered missive of their Pied Piper. 


What the High Priestess wanted was a contract which created a Board of Directors, of which I would have one of the seven votes, in charge of all my real property and animals. For at least five years. Without any track record of having engaged in such projects. With their only source of income, social assistance handouts as single parents, hanging precariously at that. And with the written stated objective of eventually having the leader’s sweet teenage daughter take over everything completely, once they had showed me of how well they did. WOW! All that in two weeks.


In other words, should the Board next week decide that Stephen Overbury was unworthy of being a board member, or even visiting Free Farm, the Board would legally remove him, even ban him from visiting for the five years they had control. 


This is where I saw the dangling balls, larger in size than a Centurian Tank. After a mere two weeks of working their butts off, a reprieve from the social assistance life style they were seasoned in, they were taking over. GOODBYE Stephen. Hello Canada, I took a shot at the open unguarded net and SCORED. BIG TIME. With little effort.




When I first  looked into the eyes of those angels I initially did not see what was in front of me. But thank god for caffeine, I awoke with a cold shiver in my spine and realized my idea to find a caretaker has obviously not been a realistic plan. Damn, it took me long enough and humbled my belief in myself. I was not attracting candidates who thought as I do. It was not bringing in those who wanted to work with animals either, but rather, a crowd of the new age movement of people who wanted control of situations  to pursue a lifestyle of leisure without having to work for it. FREE, as it were.


As such, I have now decided to attempt something completely different with my property. After all, you can’t keep hitting your head against the wall repeatedly  and expect different results. Seasons change and so do I. I will elaborate in a future blog.


BTW, for those who need a little humour in their lives and want to know the  real skinny about this raunchy cult of angels that were here, stay tuned for my kiss and tell book which will be in print sometime next year.


Let’s be honest. There are so many readers who have followed my campaign with dismay, ‘Doubting Thomases’ who feel I am as naïve, as green as they come, chasing some utopian pie in the sky dream and am unquestionably destined to nothing less than what I deserve: FAILURE.


I hate to disappoint these self-serving negative types to even suggest that there are genuinely caring people in the world, however, there are.


Right now there are two wonderful single parents toiling away on my property, backed by a large team of other women who will make a serious go of becoming caretakers to the Free Farm Animal Home.


These women, who have sacrificed their lives to raising children in a positive way in a society, which marginalizes everyone equally, are on board and I will no longer be reading proposals. I am moving on with a warm and fuzzy feeling.


It is somewhat of a mystery to some Canadians that I am fleeing this great country of ours when so many people would do anything to come here.




What I have learned about being a typical Canadian is not exactly a positive finding. I should have known better about what makes typical citizens tick, especially around all the hot air floating around the Ottawa region. It is more of an idea of ASK NOT WHAT YOU CAN GIVE TO SOCIETY, rather, ASK WHAT SOCIETY WILL GIVE TO ME. FOR FREE.


Years ago, I was hired by the legendary ship builder, Jack Leitch, head of Upper Lakes Shipping. Leitch hired me to do a cross Canada investigation of what hidden subsidies his fellow competitors were garnishing. He promised me, and broke his word, that with every follow up cash grab from the various levels of government that I uncovered his competitors were getting, he would give me one percent of the grants he would in turn receive from various governments who had covered up political grants to his competitors. What I found would have then made me an instant millionaire because I uncovered endless hidden subsidies. The system was all about hidden political subsidies, under the table handouts. The Great Canadian Cash Grab Give Away.


Not much has changed since I worked for Leitch.


While I was a freelance journalist years later, working on a profile of Canada’s armed forces for Canadian Business Magazine, I learned more of the same. During the research phase I interviewed the Commander of Canada’s armed forces, General Jean Jacques Paradis in his Ottawa headquarters office. I started my interview with a probing question:


“General Paradis, there appears to be a lot of disgruntled companies who feel that nepotism runs the show in terms of military contract procurements.”


The general began to laugh and offered me this insightful quip: “Stephen, my friend, the only people who complain about this are those who are not on the receiving end.”


This dear reader hits at the soul of what I have learned on this viral campaign ride of mine. It’s all about how to bilk the system and get your share. We live in a very self-serving society. The various levels of government satisfy dissidents by offering them an endless array of government grants, most of which are bogus good will projects. A lot of this obvious waste was transparent with our 150th anniversary bash.


It wasn’t always like this, mind you. There was a time in history when institutions truly cared about a great nation, about family values, about caring for its citizens as opposed to marginalizing them with free cash grab incentives. But that era has long since gone and the letters to Free Farm really drove home that reality for me. The letters that arrived made it appear I was in a position to give away a valuable commodity ABSOLULTELY FOR FREE, if they took the time to write a proposal.


Take last week. This silver haired woman breezed into my life, well dressed and driving a fancy car, luring me in with the idea that she was the saviour of marginalized women over 55, some homeless, others just plain broke and single, who could not afford to buy a home. Her campaign on her non-profit corporation was to put an end to that. Why, she would buy up large houses right here in Smiths Falls as she had in Hamilton, and renovate them, turn them into five units each and help deserving women form a community of caring proud home owners and as well give them a purpose in life to volunteer to run Free Farm. Her idea, presented in all of one hour over a coffee break from her whirlwind real estate tour without actually seeing my property, incorporated a further three women to live in the stone house of mine. But to achieve this I would of course have to transfer the legal  ownership of my farm to her group,  in effect give it away to them for free, IMMEDIATELY, that is if I wanted her “help”.Take it or leave it, she told me.


How do you spell STUPID? I wondered. Well, I played this up by asking her for audited financial statements of her corporation. These mysteriously did not arrive. Then I arranged for some of the women I have since chosen to run my would be animal sanctuary to respond to this lady’s brochure, to see what sort of compassion she had for women in that category. The answer as you likely guessed was NONE. They might be considered to move in and clean up if they paid a rent and would then be expected to move on once her people arrived. After five minutes of conversation she hung up on the women I had asked to apply, and emailed me to say those applicants were overly strong willed for consideration.


I mention this candidate just in passing as I plan a kiss and tell book of all the scammers who have applied here at Free Farm, for a future more in depth book. Her application is simply typical of the self-serving applicants who have turned up.


My take on the last six months? Canada is a nation of human parasites who view every opportunity as a potential cash grab, and believe there is no such thing as a nation of caring individuals. Only appearances. One can’t blame this backward thinking when our religious leaders are exposed as sexual perverts, when government leaders end up being jailed, when the leader of the wrongly perceived most powerful nation in the world is a real life narcissistic, fascist nut case, can we? We are living in muddled times and frankly, I feel I will be as comfortable in Hokkaido, Japan, even more comfortable than in eastern Ontario, even though this is the exact spot that a nuclear mishap may erupt from a short of the target fallen North Korean missile.


This is why I will not miss Canada.






Evolving Ideas About the Free Farm Animal Home




I notice more and more serious questions have been sent to me more than once so this small blog will further address those concerns.


First of all, it should be clear by now that this is a project or a mission to serve a community need, namely, establishing and sustaining a full fledged animal shelter for animals that cannot be adopted as well as a sanctuary for farm and domestic animals that can be placed in loving homes where their true worth is recognized.


The project is at the IDEAS STAGE in the sense that there is no structure in place. Everything so far, with these overcapacity number of animals I have chosen to care for, has been done by one person, myself. It is evident that the mission statement of mine to establish a successful shelter cannot be met by a lone individual. As such, my campaign is to find a small number of people, a couple for example, who appreciate the worth of this kind of project. And for me to move on, assisting in the project for sure but allowing more capable people to take over. Sure, it helps that I am committed to funding the vet and animal food bills, and that there is a large property bought and paid for which is on the table. But this in itself does not guarantee success. I need to find a serious applicant which understands the long range challenge of fulfilling such a mission and it will unquestionably depend on the people skills of this applicant and the ability to make hard decisions to take this idea forward.


The campaign initially invited ideas as to how to make good use of this property. I heard everything from some young girl in Pembroke, Ontario wanting to establish a private university to someone wanting to grow peaches and sell them on the roadside to make ends meet. As the campaign evolved, and I got sidetracked by one clever couple who deceived me for two full months, I reworded the ad to make it clear that at this point it would only be turned over for use to a party that would launch an animal shelter for a variety of animals (as opposed to say, only dogs or only cats).


There have been many questions regarding the finances of being able to live here. I have asked that whoever comes will pay their own basic operating costs of feeding themselves, heating and electrical bills and a few others, an overall relatively modest living expense for sure in comparison to a family who is covering their mortgaged house in a large city. The real costs are the feed and vet bills for the animals which the winning couple will not be responsible for. Furthermore, it is conceivable with a “not for profit” status that a salary can be garnished by the winning candidate who will be putting in the long hours, provided the fundraising is successful. The ideal candidate I hope will have the kinds of skills to live in a rural setting, to shovel snow, to fix fences, basic framing skills as opposed to someone who has to farm out every job.


Some applicants are concerned that their sweat equity in itself does not give them any protection on staying on and continuing in this project. They worry I will return and take over. For the qualified applicant such protection will be spelled out to alleviate any concerns in that regard.


It was not necessarily a good thing that I placed my ad in a general online message board, nor was it a good thing that it went viral. Sure, the numbers of applicants were impressive at first but the people who have applied appear to have been swept away by some illusion that this was all about a free land grab, a tranquil country setting– all for FREE, even though the ad did not say that. Nonetheless, for this wave of interested parties, this is what the lure has been. Not about the service to animals.


Now, in a more reflective manner the message is being carefully laid out so that there is no chance for confusion.


If you have read the last three blogs, understand a little bit about where I am coming from and what it is I want to accomplish, then by all means contact me.