Bernie’s and Polly’s Amazing Trip

Bernie Harberts and his mule, Polly, came to Newfoundland in early June to get away from the heat and humidity of North Carolina in the summer.  They started at the top of the Northern Peninsula and they’re slowly making their way south. 

“Newfoundland has good grass, grass and fog is what I’ve heard, and so I thought I’ll come up here,” explained Harberts. “If I can travel 15-20 kilometres a day, I can get a pretty good feel of what the countryside is like up here.”

The duo already had one Canadian experience: four years ago they trekked for 13 months from Saskatchewan to Mexico.

So far on this trip Polly, the mule, has pulled Harberts in her two-wheeled cart from L’Anse aux Meadows to Plum Point.  They were attracted to Newfoundland by the weather, but they’ve been won over by the hospitality from the people they have met.  “We have literally had to eat our way through Newfoundland,” enthused Harberts.  “Polly is living off, aside from the great dandelions, lots of apples and carrots and, increasingly, potato chips.  Harberts has been feasting on canned moose meat, given to him by new friends he’s met along the way.

Harberts said he and Polly have no particular destination in mind.  They’re planning to spend the next couple of months in Newfoundland, following the road and the food at their own speed.

Sandra Pady, Founder



In decades gone by, in Southern Ontario we could expect 15 or so days every summer that were VERY hot.  Global warming is changing our expectations in that regard, however, and now  it is not uncommon for us to experience day after day of sweltering temperatures and humidity.

At times like this, I feel for urbanites: the intensity of asphalt heat can make an extremely hot day unbearable.  In contrast, for us here at the Sanctuary Farm, although the barnyard is like an oven there are enough other shaded places to  make life tolerable.  Added to that option is the example set by our donkey and mule friends.  Their movements are slower than usual, more fluid, and they stand still……….  Humans are like wired fleas in comparison.

In addition  to all of this stillness and sensible movement,  there are the mules, Terra and Reno, who thrive in the open areas of their paddocks.  Day after day, I have watched them in the afternoons, lying full out under the sun, looking for all the world, like two statues.  Every now and then, a head will be raised and a mild grunt can be heard. Oh well, their donkey ancestors roamed the mountainous deserts of Africa and the Middle East so I expect that these days  might seem  mild in comparison.

Summertime.  The donkeys and the mules are a constant reminder that “the livin” is easy.”  Or, at least, it should be.

Sandra Pady, Founder