This afternoon, I finally looked at my e-mail from the past day and a half. The e-mail from Barbara Schultz shocked me.
For the past eight weeks, each of us in my Bring Your Book to Life Program had gotten to know and love some of the animals on Barb’s farm through the stories she wrote–and the quirky, detailed picture she painted of each–Calyx, the infertile Llama who surprised Barb one day when she unexpectedly–at least to the humans on the farm–gave birth to a beautiful brown baby llama, Tina the wild turkey that landed on the farm one day when she lost her flock and Stella the thoroughbred mare who taught Barb about trusting her instincts.
And then there was Sarge–the rooster Barb miraculously nursed from unconsciousness– and a loss of his survival instinct–back to life over the course of several weeks and who taught Barb (and each of us) lessons about community, trust and confidence.
The e-mail read, “There was a massacre in my barn last night during the storm. I am sure the sound of the wind drowned out the screams. Sarge, along with several others, died senselessly. Fishers kill not to eat, but just for the sport of it. I am heartbroken. Not sure how to protect my flock.”
I read the e-mail and wrote about eight different responses, all of which I erased. My words seemed flippant, or fell flat, or just couldn’t express what I felt at the moment. Instead I called Barb, knowing that she had already been struggling financially and this incident could be financially devastating in addition to the emotional turmoil and grief she was experiencing.
I asked if she would be comfortable in having me write about her situation and share with my readers–offering us all an opportunity to help Barb with her vision for Frog Hill Farm in Foster, RI. Our donations won’t be tax deductible, but they can help Barb weather this storm–and create her vision of a small farm where everyone can come to learn the lessons these beautiful farm animals have to teach us.
You can make your donation through paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a check to Barbara Schultz, 21 South Killingly Road, Foster, RI 02825.
A few minutes ago, I was adding some exercises for this Sunday’s upcoming workshop at All That Matters: Writing for Transformation (Dec. 11). We’ll pick an area of our lives and work with writing to create a shift–and transformation–in that area. We’ll also be exploring the many ways that writing can transform our lives.
Writing this post reminds me of the power of writing to take something bad and turn it into something good. Perhaps the story of the fisher massacre will transform into a story about community–and the good people who helped Barb turn her dream into a vibrant center for learning from our animal friends.
Lisa, this is great to raise attention to Frog Hill Farm and Barb’s work there. I have reposted also.
Lisa Tener says
I’ll be starting a new post to detail all the amazing outpouring of generosity that resulted from this post (what an amazing community we have). For now, I’d like to thank Julie Ruditzky-Loffredi at http://www.PublicityCrew.com for the amazing PR she’s gotten for Barb’s cause (ABC News, the Projo and WPRO), Michelle Girasole for her awesome networking including introducing Barb to Rocky of SVF Foundation farm in Newport, whom I also thank for offering hens and roosters, as well as providing tips for protecting the flock, Lisa DiPrete for sharing on FB, Stephanie Osborne for helping set up a facebook giving page and I’m sure there are more folks to thank, too. I’ll be posting an update soon.
Barbara Schultz says
My critters and I thank everyone for the outpouring of prayers, emotional support, donations and kindnesses that have touched Frog Hill Farm in countless ways. Thanks to Julie Ruditzky-Loffredi from the Publicity Crew for helping me to educate Rhode Island regarding fisher cats, Tracey Minkin, features editor for GoLocalProv and Thom Bassett, Tara Granahan and Andrew, reporters for WPRO radio, Michelle Girasole, amazing friend from the Sassy Ladies who connected me with Rocky Steeves from the SVF Foundation in Newport. Rocky provides predator control tips, support and heritage Domenique hens. Thanks to John Guise from ABC 6 News who filmed Frog Hill Farm in action, Jackie Eaton from Angel Lights who drove all the way to Foster with a new baby monitor so I could hear every “quack, cackle and pop” from the barn to the house, Kathy Black who overflows with wisdom and encouragement, Donna Kent and Fred who volunteer their time to keep Frog Hill going, and Jean MacBarron, CNM whose friendship I can’t imagine being without. My writing buddies from Lisa Tener’s Narragansett class of Bring Your Book To Life have become family to me. They know my animals intimately from hearing the stories-Lisa D.,Susan, Karen, Anya, Kathy, Claire, Jamie, and of course Lisa Tener- couldn’t get through without you! Thanks also to family,friends, neighbors and anyone I may have forgotten to mention. Blessings on you all!
What an inspiring story! I feel blessed to be a part of such a caring, creative community.