... Freeport farm folks take in neglected animals
That's Amelia Ulery -- the mother of this Maine family -- with their salvaged
donkey. It all happened at the Safe Harbor Farm, in South Freeport.
It was a family farm stand on a small back road in South Freeport, Maine. We were on
a two-day jaunt to Bowdoin College in Brunswick to view the "Edward Hopper, in
Maine" show. And on the way, we came across a farmstand, manned (more appropriately
"girled") by Mimi, a teenager who experienced life as a fun thing. She was never
without a smile or a laugh during our 45 minutes there.
It turns out that their donkey was rescued from another farm where its owner had
either passed away or had otherwise neglected his animal. The donkey was found many
months later, suffering from lack of attention, especially to his hooves, which,
through lack of trimming, had grown obtusely and painfully.
Mimi said that her family "acquired" him" -- that is, had to buy him in order to
save him. With care and love, the animal became a teddy bear, almost a family pet.
But that's not the end of the story. There were a couple of horses in the barnyard,
the biggest of which -- a large brown mare -- has similarly been neglected. It had,
Mimi explained, when its owner had died, been left in the barn for four months --
without food or attention.
"We got him, too," Mimi said, "and he's put on about 250, maybe 300 pounds since
then." She said she rides both horses through a large nearby forest. "The little
white horse is a dream to ride," she said, "but the other one has a mind of its
There are five kids in this Maine family, of which Mimi is youngest. Her father is
an architect, her mother is a chef at a nearby French school, but the whole family
takes part in the operation of the small farm. By the way, Mom's pies (on sale at
the small farm stand) are out of this world. A blueberry pie was $8, a huge pumpkin
pie was 12. Hours seem to be determined by the harvest -- and the weather.
To get there from Melrose, take I-95 north, then I-295 through Portland, out the far
side, exiting some ten miles north onto old Route 1. Right there, on your right, is
the DeLorme Map Company, which has a huge globe in its visiting room, adjacent to an
ingenious map store. Continue up Route 1 for maybe two miles until you come to this
towering Indian statue -- where you take a right. Just follow that rural road until
you come to the small farm stand on your left. If you pass the French elementary
school, turn around, you've gone too far.
November 4, 2011