Sunday, April 29, 2007


Hay, there!

Yup. That’s what I meant to say. Even though I can feel and hear my 8th grade Grammar Teacher, Mrs. Waits, correcting me most specifically, saying, “ ‘Hay, there?’ Isn’t it your intention to say ‘Hey, there!’, Miss Gilbert? And perhaps another choice of words may be more appropriate?”

Well, Mrs. Waits, I said what I meant to say. Got your attention, too, didn’t I? You see we need to talk Facts & Figures this morning. We need to talk about events and hay. With an “a”.

After each and every event, the same question comes from everywhere: “How did we do?” And it’s a fair question! How did we do after the Spring Applebee’s® Breakfast? How did we do after the Spring Younker’s Community Day event?

In order to give you more information sooner, there is a new page on our website. It is the Year-to-Date Event Recap page. A simple page to look at but packed with all the information you need to answer that question, “How did we do?”

For each event, we will tell you how many volunteers worked, how many guests attended, the total amount of funds taken in, the total amount of expenses incurred to put on the event, and then the resulting net amount of funds that will go toward expenses in support of THE FARM. We will still have the full event recap documents available to you at the Annual State of THE FARM Meeting, if you desire. But this way, in the meantime, you can keep your eye on our progress. Cool, eh?

You may want to book mark this page, but if you should forget you can find the page under the Facts & Figures button from the home page.

The big topic to bring before you this morning is the Hay Fund. We all know the cost of everything is going up and up and up. Hay is no different. And the cost of fuel to move the hay is astronomical. (I will not digress in to a political discussion, however! Even though I may want to!!!)

Here’s an example for you: In 1999, I purchased and had delivered a 2,000 pound round bale of hay for $30. That’s a ton of hay in my yard for $30. Today, THE FARM is very fortunate to have 1,200 pound bales of hay in the field for $35. Delivery of the hay is extra. In 2007, Refuge Farms will be most fortunate to purchase 240 round bales for $35 each. Delivery will be an additional $750.

I’m not complaining! Most hay dealers would charge us $40 for that same bale! And the hay would be sitting in their field waiting for us to come and load it, transport it, and unload it. We are most fortunate to have our Hay Man!!!

So just yesterday morning at 7:30am, I committed to purchasing 240 round bales at $35 each plus the $750 delivery charge. I’ll do the math for you - that’s $9,150. The good part? We have our hay locked up in a season when hay is already scarce and hard to come by!

Compound that with a dry, dry summer last year, minimal snow this past winter, and virtually no rain this spring and you can read my mind, can’t you? We need to hay feed this summer, too, since our pasture is gone. Or more correctly stated, our pasture never arrived!

Through family connections of our Operations Manager, we have located 250 bales of good, clean, never-been-rained-on round bales for $25 each. That supply should get us to the winter supply. We pick the hay up ourselves by using a trailer from a generous neighbor – Thanks, Amy and Alvin! – and then Kathy and I venture in to the hills of Urne, Wisconsin. Each trip brings back 10 bales of hay that should – hopefully – last about ten days or so. At the end of those ten days, we make another trip.

The math here is pretty simple - 250 bales at $25 each is $6,250. The real eye popper comes when you add the summer hay to the winter hay. It’s $15,400. Eye popper and heart stopper. Sleep stealer. Grey hair maker.

Barb G., whom we affectionately call “Lambing Barb” sees the issue clearly. She is a horse person who knows that without a source for hay and without that source locked up, our Herd is in jeopardy. And so LB has taken action, bless her heart!

Another new page on our website is entitled the 1st Annual Hay Fund Challenge. The page and the concept is the creation of LB. And I am most grateful and humbled.

Barb G. has challenged us to raise $2,500 for hay. Any donations from this page will go in to a special savings account opened specifically for hay. Those monies will be used for nothing else but hay.

And then here’s the kicker: LB will match that $2,500.

How do I thank such anticipation? How do I thank such support in easing my mind? How do I thank someone who knows the stress of not having hay???

All I can do is hug her. Thank her. And feed The Herd. With LB’s generous challenge, we will be 33% of the way to our year’s supply of hay! And our Open Barn and other events will do wonders in getting us even farther.

So, ponder the reality of the rescue and the feeding of The Herd. Monitor our progress by book marking the Year-to-Date Event Recap page and compare it to our hay needs. Then visit LB’s 1st Annual Hay Fund Challenge. Please. And thank you. From me and The Herd!

Bless you, LB!

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

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