We want to continue improving the park, including adding things as the community identifies a need/interest. Currently, about 75% of the funding is coming from our retirement funds and the remaining 25% comes from the farmstay program and other donations. Our families are incredibly supportive (emotionally, physically and financially), but we could use your help too!.
However, we don't want "just keep up" -- we want to grow and improve. Therefore, we also have a number of special projects in the works.
The monthly feed bill for all the critters (including special "geriatric" horse feed for Barney) ran about $480 per month over the winter. It is lower in the summer, once we get everyone on pasture, but the older horses still need feed supplements and all the birds (chickens and ducks) still need grain.
Everything on the property must have annual assessments and inoculations. That part requires a licensed veterinarian. We are able to do much of the general care (de-worming for example) -- but, the medications must be still be purchased. Our annual vet and medication expenses are about $500. Emergencies do happen, and then it is impossible to predict what the fees will end up being by the time it is all over.
It costs about $20 dollars per bare-footed horse (every nine weeks, for five horses) for a hoof-trim. That goes up to $50 each visit during the summer months when the horses must wear shoes. Add a bunch extra for Nick because he must wear shoes year-round, and needs his "pedicure" every four and one half weeks to keep his feet healthy.
In addition to the animal maintenance, there are the ongoing challenges of keeping all of the facilities and equipment in working order (repair the barn roof, service the tractor, patch damaged harnesses, etc.)
Once we get past the issues of simply maintaining everyone's health and keeping the farm from blowing away in a wind-storm, then we like to think about what to do to make the place better.
The Rescue Duck Project
Last spring we “rescued” six Pekin ducklings from a friend (who had received them as pets and didn’t have an adequate area to keep them). As they grew, we discovered that we had 5 males and 1 female. For those of you not acquainted with the mating practices of ducks, this proved to be a very unsatisfactory situation for the female!
So, we contacted our friends at the Humane Society’s Lollypop Farm in Rochester to adopt 6 female ducks. They readily agreed. The staff at Lollypop Farm had quite a chore with the Great Duck Round-Up. They tried to corral them for a good portion of three days before they met with success.
The extra girls make a big improvement in the social situation for the ducks -- but now our duck facility is too small! We have had the task of fencing the farm pond on the books for a while (as a child-safety measure) and now, with the "duck issue", we have it at the top of the to-do list.
We have built a new duck-house and we have planned the fencing. By the time we are finished, the domestic ducks (and other wild waterfowl) will have a bit over one-half acre of secure play area. About 2/3 of that will be pond, the rest is pasture and trees/reeds/brush (shelter). The total cost will be about $2000.00 (yes, it would have been easier to put the "spare" boy ducks on the dinner table - but that's not the right attitude for rescue animals). Donations would be a big help. If you can pound T-posts, we need that kind of help also (soon, probably between now and the end of March). We are very anxious to get the birds into their new digs!
The Trail Project
Every year, we improve our hiking trails. In a year where finances are very tight -- it might just be removing rocks and branches. If there is a little to spare, we fuel up the tractor and chain saws and clear a new trail.
The Playground Project
We received a play-set as a donation. It will be serviceable, but it needs some TLC before it can be used. This project needs little things like epoxy, paint, replacement lumber, timbers, some concrete for footers and some mulch for "safe landing". This is also a project where a volunteer or two would go a long way toward having this attraction save -- and ready for kids.
If you have time or money to spare, and if it makes sense to you to assist in building a park for the community, then we certainly could use a bit of help.
Thank you for your support!