Friday, December 9, 2011

the meaning of the season: charity

The snow did come, but not nearly as much as predicted. I fell asleep around 10PM to the first giant soapbox flakes plopping down and by morning a calm inch had covered the entire farm. Enough to encase the place in a near-mystical sense of refuge, and yet not be enough to make me run outside at 4AM with the roof rake to save Jasper from the old slate roof a story above his head. Talk about a perfect combination. Snow, beautify, no chance of leaking roofs. Perfect.

Yesterday morning I went about the chores in this new clean world and within twenty minutes of my labor the farm was returned to the look of a working homestead. Wheel barrow lines and footprints pushing through to wet mud, hay and chimney ashes on the snow. Chicken poo and goose tracks, but still a half-dozen eggs in the nest. It wasn't Narnia for long, it felt like Cold Antler again. Also, perfect, even if it wasn't Christmas Card material.

Speaking of which, received two more cards yesterday and a package from British Columbia. The cards were from Pennsylvania and Texas, and the package from BC was filled with jams and preserves and a beautiful handmade broom perfect for small stove chores and clean up. The cards are on display, the jam is in the pantry, and the small broom is hanging on a hook by the stove. Beautiful gifts, all. I thank you, but I have an idea....

I decided to make these cards into something more than a girl on a farm getting a kind word. Send along a dollar in your card to Cold Antler and I will put it in a special wrapped box here at the farm. The money will all go towards getting a gift of livestock to an impoverished community through Heifer International. If you are not familiar with Heifer International, click here to see their site and mission statement. They are a world-wide charity that believes helping the needy is not about sending canned goods and old sweatshirts, but creating sustainable agricultural industries and food-growing practices. They come from the "teach a man to fish" school, handing a family in Africa 4 dairy goats and lessons in milking, husbandry, and breeding so they can have a continued source of meat and milk, of in which they are obligated to give the first female offspring away to another family. This is a beautiful charity giving animals as hope. Together, through this card campaign, we can possibly give the gift of such an animal from all of us on the blog. So be a part of this, send a long a card and a dollar to:

Jenna Woginrich
Cold Antler Farm
Jackson, NY 2816

...And if you are trying to figure out the perfect gift for people on your list who already have everything, I strongly suggest donating an animal in their name and giving them a card with the story, talk about the spirit of the season! And you know what, children especially love this. Getting a child a card and a small stuffed goat and explaining to them that while they are getting their own little goat, sheep, or toy chicken somewhere far away another child is getting one too, a REAL one, and because of their present, they have helped feed and care for their family. You can buy a stuffed rabbit and give a trio of rabbits, or a flock of chickens and a toy chicken. I find this combination gift makes children beam, makes their toy about more than a present, and teaches the meaning of the season. They child still gets a small toy, but it is more than that.

Heifer is a charity I believe in, and I would love to help spread their message and buy someone, somewhere, a chance at something better.


Blogger Lee Ann said...

Beautiful idea, and such a wonderful organization!

December 9, 2011 at 6:36 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

I should know better than to read your blog in Starbucks. Never know when it's going to make me cry.

December 9, 2011 at 7:04 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

Heifer is one of my favorite charities - This is a great idea!!!

December 9, 2011 at 7:11 AM  
Blogger Brenda said...

Great idea Jenna! I have done several health care missions trips to developing countries (Guyana, Haiti) and I know that the opportunities that Heifer International provides really change families lives in significant ways. "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime".

December 9, 2011 at 7:31 AM  
Blogger Molly said...

One of my favorite charities. I volunteered with Heifer in the late '90s, and the people I met and things I learned on their AK ranch have stuck with me to this day. We replaced our office "secret santa" exchange with animal donations to Heifer a few years ago, and it made our holiday activities both actually useful and honestly way more fun.

December 9, 2011 at 7:40 AM  
Blogger daisy said...

Love this idea! Thanks for doing this, Jenna! Blessings...

December 9, 2011 at 7:49 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

I donated some chicks through Heifer this year since I didnt manage to get my own :-) I hope I get one of those cards too so I can see the good they are doing!

December 9, 2011 at 8:05 AM  
Blogger Stacey said...

The church I grew up in has participated in this project for years and it's been awesome. Especially the days they'd bring a few animals along for us to meet afer service with our coffee and cookies. Nothing like a pig in a church! :)

December 9, 2011 at 8:13 AM  
Blogger Barri said...

Great idea! I think you're missing a number in your zip code.

December 9, 2011 at 8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad you mentioned this! I love springing gifts like this on my friends who already have everything. And I love how much more meaningful a donation like this is. A positive way to start off the morning. And we only got an inch of snow here, too.

December 9, 2011 at 8:31 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

I love this organization too. Every year my grandmother gave these donation gifts to everyone in the family. She passed away about a month ago, and I feel like it's time to take up that mantle.

December 9, 2011 at 8:51 AM  
Blogger Flartus said...

I love Heifer Intl, and I love your supporting them! What a great way to make it a children's gift; I'd never thought of that!

My immediate family is far away and self-sufficient so we often buy each other Heifer animals. I was never more touched than when my brother bought me an entire water buffalo.

December 9, 2011 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger Anny said...

I love Heifer....when my husband & I got married (our reception in a barn on a working dairy farm!) instead of giving stupid favors that everyone loses or doesn't take...we made the donation of a cow to Heifer and I made bookmards explaining what we did and about the organization. They are an amazing group that does great work!

December 9, 2011 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger JeanineH said...

For the zip, from the image of a package arrived where Jenna confirmed the address worked it is missing a 1 at the front of it so 12816 would be the zip.

Great post, great background... see what I can do.

December 9, 2011 at 10:34 AM  
Blogger Tiffrz-N-Kidz said...

HECK to the YES power!

December 9, 2011 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger Pit Stop Farm said...

This is a wonderful idea! We always donate items to needy families at Christmas, but I like the idea of giving something that will enable someone in need to become less dependent on others. I think I'll donate a flock of chickens and a goat.

December 9, 2011 at 1:42 PM  
Blogger Lyssa said...

These guys have been one of my favorite charities for years, but I love your idea of pairing a gift to them with a small toy for a child...or maybe for an older child in a farming family, some animals of their own!

December 9, 2011 at 2:28 PM  
Blogger Karen Rickers said...

Hey Jenna!

I just bought my nieces and nephews Christmas presents on ducks, chicks, geese and bees.

I usually go through World Vision, but Heifer looked great, and perhaps with lower overhead.

Merry Christmas.

December 9, 2011 at 2:35 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Love this idea so much!! I actually said this to my husband last month that I'm tired of buying for people that we're obligated to buy for and spending money because we're 'supposed to' that I would much rather donate a Heifer animal in everyone's name instead, that way the money was spent 'on them' but will benefit someone so much more than a gift card will benefit someone here!

December 9, 2011 at 3:45 PM  
Blogger Flartus said...

Just watched the video now that I'm at home--I love Alton Brown, too--and now I have even more reason to. :)

December 9, 2011 at 7:44 PM  
Blogger Karen C said...

Years ago I did the womens' goat birthing weekend at Heifer's farm in central Massachusetts. I can't recommend it enough, it was so fun - stayed in the bunkhouse, did chores, ate great food, and got to help birth a beautiful baby goat!

December 9, 2011 at 9:43 PM  
Blogger Karen Smith said...

GREAT idea, Jenna! My son started giving to charities in the names of family members a couple of years ago, since none of us really *need* anything. He's worked very hard to source charities that benefit those in the U.S. since that's his thing. I still knit and weave for people.....

December 11, 2011 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger City Girl said...

My card is on the way! Happy holidays!

December 11, 2011 at 6:13 PM  
Blogger Rage said...

Ya very nice ,we can increase our farming production more by the urea n46 prilled

December 12, 2011 at 6:50 AM  
Blogger inpolitesociety said...

My best friend works for Heifer so I hear about them and all the newest projects all the time! I pass on everything I read that mentions Heifer and their work to her at their headquarters, so I'm sending her the link to your blog. Don't be surprised if you hear from her!

December 17, 2011 at 5:06 PM  

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