Community spirit and volunteers help Cape Breton farm get its groove back
INGONISH, N.S. -- The barn at the Groovy Goat Farm in Ingonish, N.S., burned to the ground this past winter, but people have come together to raise a new barn and give the farm a fresh start.
Any barn raising is typically a party-type atmosphere, but in this case, that's almost an understatement.
"Back in the winter, when we lost our barn to the fire, somebody mentioned having a good old-fashioned barn raising," said Shannon Costelo.
In February, when the original barn here at the Groovy Goat in Ingonish burned to the ground, along with the blow to the owners' livelihood, nearly two dozen goats, along with horses, died in the fire.
From the devastating feeling back then, to the uplifting mood on Monday, it's been quite a difference.
"The support from everywhere has been incredible," Costelo said. "And, just to see this happen, it's a really unusual thing that I don't think you would find just anywhere. And I really think that says just how special our community is."
Kevin Chiasson was one of the volunteers who pitched in.
"It took a lot of volunteers, and of course we all are volunteers here," Chiasson said.
When the work started on Friday, there was just a concrete slab.
From professional labourers, to people just wanting to lend a hand, Good Samaritans have come from all over and raised the new barn.
"It's astonishing," said Chiasson. "The people that's been here. Friday, Saturday and (Sunday), I just couldn't believe the amount of volunteers. We probably had up to 50-60 people here on site."
It's taken the past four days to rebuild what the fire back in the winter destroyed so quickly.
What's nearly completed here is a labour of love that it's hoped will last for years.
"So, at the end of the day, we hope to have the last of the strapping on the roof, and we hope to put the metal on (Tuesday)," Chiasson said.
Costelo says kindness like this is impossible to repay.
"We'll owe them forever!" she said.
But she says this has always been the community's barn, and will be even more so going forward.
"We hope by Labour Day that we can have a big grand reopening, and we can welcome everybody back again, to see it totally finished with animals inside," Costelo said. "And yeah, we'll just be back up on our feet thanks to everybody."
So, if a cat has nine lives, this Groovy Goat has a new lease on its second -- one it's hoped will be part of this community for years to come.