Friday, September 30, 2005


4th Annual Open Barn exceeds expectations!!!

Hello, everyone!

It is now almost 2 weeks since the 4th Annual Open Barn event at The Farm and I must say, I am still recovering!

What a day! The one element I had no control over cooperated again in magnificient style - it was sunny, clear, and almost too hot! Not bad for a forecast of rain and thunderstorms, eh?

Fourteen of our herd were available for pets and carrots and pictures. Almost 30 volunteers were there to answer your questions and assist in any way. The "In the Yard" vendors came in grand style and we had pottery, custom jewelry made on-site, honey of all sorts, reflexology treatments, face painting, and all kinds of other things to look at and partake in. And all "In the Yard" just outside of the corral!

The silent auction (our first ever) was well received and some very unusual items were auctioned and quickly taken home by their new, proud owners. Jeff Hines once again conducted the live auction and Jeff did his typical outstanding job. Hines Auction Service donates their staff and time to conduct our auction each year and once again, their services created an excellent close to a remarkable event.

The program included a few very special highlights that I must mention:

* Kathy Myren, our Operations Manager, spoke "from her heart" and told me and everyone else that her payment for all of her hard work was in the faces of those who came to The Farm. You see, Kathy has the passion. She has the heart of The Farm in her. And it shows.

* Tara Bol, a long time volunteer, illustrated her ability to fly by tapping to a number from Lord of the Dance - on plywood over uneven ground in the corral! That alone takes talent. And since her dancing partner needed to leave for a parade, our dear Kathy joined Tara in the dance - except Kathy was dancing with her barn boots on!

* And finally, MaKenna Johnson graced us all by singing her song "The Horses of Refuge Farms" to us. I have never heard so many people be so quiet for so long a time. It was absolute silence as you listened to this angelic young voice sing about the horses she has come to love up on this hill here in Spring Valley, WI.

All in all, it was a day beyond my greatest expectations. The volunteers were everywhere and did just what needed to be done when it needed to be done. I just needed to meander and chat with our visitors - what a treat!

Jim D'Angelo did his magic with his camera, and soon the pictures will be posted for you to see all of which I am telling you....enjoy!

Next year's Open Barn is Sunday, the 17th of mark your calendars now for a day of celebration at Refuge Farms!

Enjoy the journey of each and every day, Sandy and the Herd

Sunday, September 18, 2005


A message from the webmaster...

I appreciate Sandy for letting me share her blog so that I can say a few things. First and foremost, I want to thank Sandy and all the members of 'the herd' for their thoughts and continued prayers during this monumental, catastrophic ordeal. I live in Metairie which is a suburb of New Orleans. All of us were caught in the path of destruction caused by Katrina on August 29th. The swath of devastation included the whole Southeastern part of Louisiana and Southern part of Mississippi. The pictures you may have seen on TV didn't even come close to documenting the horrific devastation in which lives will be altered forever. Hundreds of thousands of people lucky just to be alive lost entire generations of belongings and memories...some, sadly, paying the ultimate price of also loosing their loved ones. Unfortunately, there are countless numbers of those that have yet to be found. 16 days without electricity with heat as high as 95 during the day in my apartment I was often thankful when it made it to 85 at night so that I could try and get to what I called 'sleep'...a broken, sweat laden, 2-3 hour dance of misery that seem to make up each night. It was during those times that I, like many other people, began to re-evaluate what was important in life. Things that were once important dropped off the scale relevance. You tend to make this progression away from materialistic things to those of feelings for those close to you. You intensify your emotions for those around my case it was my cats - the very reason I didn't evacuate in the first place. I never felt alone at any time during this ordeal. Whether it was my faith, my cats, or a feeling that there was a 'herd' hard at work praying for my safe return...I felt blessed. I am very fortunate for my losses were minimal compared to the losses of others. I stayed high and dry and was fortunate enough to have neighbors who resupplied me during the 16 days without power. I have a friend in Mississippi who lost the period of one hour 50 years of living, possessions, and memories were erased from the face of the earth. It would be foolish of me to ever complain about anything. Always remember...things could be worse, all you have to do is look around. Your prayers and thoughts will stay with me for a long time...thank you!

Vincent (webmaster)

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