06 Feb Journal: The Buffalo Farm
In the dead of February, there are VERY few things that can convince me to leave the comfort of my home office. As a freelancer, I’m lucky enough to be able to do most of my work from my (very well heated) condo, save for a few weekly client meetings in which I Uber to and from like a total winter hating brat. So when a close friend organized a weekend away in Mattawa to stay at an on-site yurt at Ontario’s only Buffalo sanctuary, to say I was reluctant is putting it lightly.
Six of us girls dressed in parkas and at least two sweaters each crammed into our respective cars and braved for the four hour drive from Toronto. Two roadside Tim’s stops later, fuelled by coffee and curiosity, we arrived at The Buffalo Farm. Greeted upon arrival by the kindest and most beautiful couple quite possibly on earth, Ellie and Javid showed us to the yurt and instructed us to return to their cabin once we settled in for a tour of the stables and to visit the buffalo.
With a fire burning and blankets galore, our home for the night was incredibly cozy and warm, thoughtfully designed with a soaring ceiling that made it easy to forget that we were, in fact, glamping in the middle of the winter. A propane heater located in the centre of the yurt provided warmth, while a wood burning stove served double duty as additional heat and a cooktop. The washroom was located just to the right of the entrance, with a narrow floor to ceiling curtain-less window that provided a beautiful unobstructed view of the field and forest beyond. Once we layered on as many socks as we physically could, we set out to meet the animals and spend some time with the hosts. E+J’s passion for the creatures they had rescued was evident through the animal’s behaviour. Each was gentle and full of personality, timid at first but warmed up to our offers affection easily. It was wildly inspiring to see the love that The Buffalo Farm staff put into rehoming this incredible beings, nevertheless in one of the most stunning and truly peaceful places I have ever been.
We headed back to the yurt for a macrame lesson, wine and dinner. With full glasses and candles scattered amongst the yurt – our only source of light – we patiently crafted wall hangings from yarn with guidance from of our talented friends. Cooking Shakshuka on the wood burning stove was both challenging yet exceptionally satisfying, as we jimmy-rigged ways to adjust the temperature to allow for both the boil and low simmer required by the recipe. Would you believe me if I told you that six mildly inebriated girls managed to complete an intricate craft AND make dinner on a 400+ degree cast iron cooktop without a single burn or broken wine glass?
Sleep came easily guided by the sound of the crackling fire and winter winds. I prevented myself from drifting off for as long as I could. I wanted to take the longest mental snapshot possible of the starry view provided by the yurt’s skylight above. We snoozed our alarms and woke at a slow pace, not a single one of us in a rush to face the below zero temperatures that awaited us outside. My visit to the Buffalo Farm was the perfect reset from the hustle of the city, a reminder of the importance to live slow and disconnect whenever possible.