The following post is an archive of our GoFundMe campaign which began in 2020.
Before starting to write this update, I looked back over our campaign and the past season – the most different season we’ve ever experienced – and I came to realize that it’s been almost 6 months since we started this fundraiser. And what an unusual time it has been. After just being open for 6 days in March the farm closed its gates this year on March 12th. This unexpected and disheartening event was followed by several weeks of frantic planning and reorganizing, absorbing all the news as well as updates from the health department, discussing lots of options and trying to find the best way to guide the animals and the entire farm safely through these precarious times. We – like everyone else – were faced with so many unknowns.
The farm usually lives from, and through, people visiting the animals and supporting us during their visit by making a donation at the entrance. We are proud of the way we make people feel welcome at the farm, we like to share our experiences that we make alongside the animals and we are happy to see how our animals bring so much joy into everyone’s life. This spring our concept suddenly wasn’t applicable anymore to the new requirements and risks presented by Covid-19, and we were left with a very uncertain future for our animals and the farm. That’s when we decided to take a difficult step into more unfamiliar territory and openly ask the community for help – help that enables us to keep on providing for the animals. And what came next still feels like a miracle: you all stepped up! I really can’t express what this means for us and I can certainly never thank you enough. But I’m having goosebumps when I’m thinking about all the support that came our way, in the form of many personal financial donations, in-kind donations from feed suppliers and all the countless good wishes, heartfelt messages and motivating comments. It made me realize that the community surrounding our farm is very strong and much bigger than I expected. You all care very much about the animals and I understand that you really miss them and the opportunity to visit them. For myself and the entire team working at the farm the animals are part of our family and our daily lives. Even though times have been challenging lately it is actually an honour and our privilege to be able to take care of them and we are certainly blessed to have earned their trust. But you are such a big part of this as well – with your generous contributions and endless support you’ve made it possible for us to keep going. I have the greatest respect for you and your generosity. THANK YOU!
But now let me finally share some news about what has happened since our last update. Lots of work got done “behind barn doors”. Right after Labour Day we started to move most of the animals back to the winter farm. Moving all these animals is like moving an entire household with lots of different parties. It requires quite a bit of planning and lots of organizing. Moving a group of goats is relatively easy, given that we have a good size trailer and a well-proven setup for loading them. But it is unbelievable with how much equipment our miniature horse Peanut Butter and the donkeys Opal and Taffy travel. The list goes from grooming kits, hay containers and many different dishes and water buckets to all their specific feeds and supplements. After all their paraphernalia was assembled in the truck luckily these three elderly ladies as well as our two alpacas Osmond and Acorn are so well behaved that they walked like little angels straight onto the trailer. Not so much for all our funny little chickens. They really have a mind of their own. Catching them all individually and putting them securely in their cage for transport is a chore that requires a lot of humour. You have to be really cautious opening the door, because it is never clear in which direction they will shoot out and run. A few of them managed to escape into their yard instead of getting safely into their cage and they had to be apprehended later once their friends were loaded. I’m happy to say we got them all and made sure to count them several times before they went on to the truck (because these crazy little chickens really don’t stand still, not even for a head count). The last passenger was our big pig Maple who walked like a champion right into his own cage and got a banana as reward! Then it was up to us to put our muscles to the test. Maple feels like weighing a ton and it took 5 staff members to lift his cage on to the back of the truck. Great job! With everyone safely strapped in and loaded, we could hit the road to Metchosin!
Even though the animals are not in town any more, we are still very busy. The fall is a very work intense time for us, because once the animals have all moved to Metchosin, we split the work differently between the two farm locations. The staff who is living out on the Metchosin Farm has now a very tight schedule of daily cleaning and feeding. The responsibility of providing all the intensive care the animals are used to and deserve rests now mainly on their shoulders. The staff members who still remain in Beacon Hill Park have several weeks ahead filled with cleaning up after the season in order to have the farm ready to be renovated and prepped for the next year. This includes lots of cleaning, shovelling, scrubbing out every barn, washing and disinfecting what feels like a million buckets and dishes ,…and the list goes on and on. And long days of tedious and strenuous labour are rewarded with everything sparkly clean and the satisfaction of crossing one task off after another from our long list. But, like you, the Beacon Hill crew misses the animals around, but the thought of them coming back after the winter to a shiny sparkling farm is making it all worthwhile.
And that’s what we are all working towards at the moment. Part of the staff is fully occupied with tending the animals’ needs through the winter while the other half is busy with cleaning and preparing, but we are all dreaming about and planning for the future – for a happy, healthy and safe season 2021.
However, we still haven’t made it yet, I fear that the hardest months are still to come. With fall and winter ahead and the animals not in town anymore where their presence reminds people of their needs, we still have many more months of feed and care to cover, while we are busily making plans for the new season. But I am very hopeful. I am hopeful because I know we are not alone. I feel that we have a strong community behind us and with your help it will still be growing. Please share our story, share your experiences and your memories about visiting the farm with others. The wider we spread the word, the more support we can gather. And with all this support we hope to be there for you in the future.
We will continue to give you glimpses into the daily lives of our animals through our updates and social media and we keep you up to date on any progress towards the plan to re-open the farm for the next season. We know you are looking forward as much as we do to having the animals in Beacon Hill again, so lets all do our best to make this happen.
Stay safe and stay well,