Monday, July 22, 2013

Thanks to the kindness of strangers.....

Photo by Kali Sykes

Thanks to the kindness of strangers, we were able to get our entire hay supply out of the field, into the barn, all the hay crew paid and both of the hay farmers paid!

What did strangers have to do with this?  Well, I'm part of an online community, Daily Kos, here on the good old intertubes.  Mostly I've been a lurker, commenter, infrequent diarist.  However, I've begun to go to several of the local get togethers of other "Kossacks" held at various locales in Portland.  I've made a few new friends which is always good and one or two very good friends which is such a blessing.  Two of the many amazing people I have met via DK are Ann and her sister Sara, who make "community quilts" for Kos members who need comfort or inspiration.  The cost of making the quilts is usually covered by donations from DK members, who send in words to be transcribed onto fabric squares, which are included in the quilt tops.  It's turned into quite a tradition on the site.

Other fundraisers have been held for various members struggling to keep up in a terrible economy and it's always amazing how the community rallies around it's members.  In wondering how I was ever going to pay for the hay this year, a new and dear friend suggested that I do a photo diary of goats and ask members to sponsor goats.

As we were rushing to get the newly baled hay gathered, baled, moved and stored, while dealing with vehicle breakdowns, heat and dogs that were sure the hay crew were goat stealing varmints.... I took short breaks to write out the diary that was forming in my head.  I went through many pictures already taken and went out and took a few more, liberally including them in the diary, along with the back story of each goat and details of haying and of life on the farm.  Information on sponsorship of individual goats via paypal was included.  I cautiously and timidly put the diary up early on July 4th.  I thought many people would be busy that day, the diary might not be seen by many, but even if it raised a few hundred dollars, it would be a big help.

I was totally overwhelmed by the response of the people who read the diary.  Many goats were sponsored, some several times over.  My chief helper has a few goats of her own that I've given her and HER goats were sponsored for both hay and grain for the year.  One reader from Holland, sponsored a little Nigerian Dwarf buckling who shared a name with her late Grandfather, Albrecht.  One young woman said her sponsorship could go to any goat BUT our herdsire, Ramone! Ramone was the name of her ex!  lol 

Thanks to the generosity of strangers, our hay is paid for.  Our vet bill is paid for.  Grain for the next two months is paid for.  Some barns will get cleaned out and the worker paid.  A few pieces of stock panel fencing to replace some older sections were purchased.   And the love those of us caring for this herd have for the goats has been shared with people from all over, wanting to make a "farmer" connection, and wanting to support a sustainable business.

Thank you emails have been sent to paypal sponsors.  Those who used snail mail received thank you cards.  And people sponsoring the full ride of an adult doe or two kids for a year will receive a sampler of goats cheese during November or December, so that it can be enjoyed during the Holiday season.

I cannot begin to ever thank everyone who came to our aid enough.  It was an amazing experience to receive such an outpouring of kindness from strangers.  Thank you everyone!
"MUDBALL"  Photo by Kali Sykes

PS:  On Daily Kos I am known as "Oregon Gal".  
My July 4th Diary was entitled:  My Girls and I Need Some Help 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Artisan Bread Fundraiser for Alsea Food Bank

Photo by Nancy Chandler

The Alsea Valley Voice came out this week, mailed to everyone in the valley, and in it is the announcement that I will be making artisan bread all month to be sold at John Boys Alsea Mercantile with all proceeds from the bread to go to the Alsea Valley Food Bank.  I delivered three loaves the other day, crossing my fingers that they would sell, and they sold at once.  So I made six more yesterday and delivered them this morning.  By midafternoon all were sold and other people were coming in asking for more, so I'll be baking again tomorrow.  It's fun, I like the creativity of making each batch a little different and the kitchen smells so danged good.

It's so great that Alsea has it's own food bank and people don't have to go over the mountain to get food help.  If you don't have money for food, gas money is a challenge too.  I like to do a fundraiser for the food bank every year and last year we did a wonderful bake sale that raised almost $600, keeping the food bank going for the month of January.  Everyone I called pitched in and baked such wonderful stuff that we sold on December 23rd.  This year there were lots of bake sales in front of the Merc all during December so I decided to do something different.  Thanks to everyone for supporting this effort and I will try to keep up with the demand!  We may not make as much all together, but so far we are at $30 and I will keep mixing and kneading and baking as fast as I can!