Monday, January 1, 2018

2018: Real Reasons For Optimism

I do not mind at all saying that at the moment I have grave trepidations for the up coming year. The next six months will be the most intense that I have had in 20 years of prosecuting criminal cases. Our small office will be handling several murder trials along with our normal case load. (One case that I am prosecuting grew out of a lengthy film production by the Discovery Channel that will begin to air this week, Jan 4 ).

But I have a lot of reasons to be very optimistic about the continued growth and success of our breed conservation, riding and natural horsemanship, music, history, drama, permaculture and other educational programs. 2017 has laid the path for a great 2018.

2017 saw an explosion in the number of participants in our program. Our Friday program for Home Schooled students has been a huge success. We have set up another off site Corolla breeding program. We have raised and placed all three foals that we produced in our Corolla breeding program. We have had our first litter of ossabaw hogs born. We made extraordinary progress on clearing the New Land, nearly doubling the land available for the horses and other livestock. We obtained a pair of Bourbon Red heritage breed turkeys. We hosted a day long series of clinics and demonstrations for The Livestock Breeds Conservancy and our first training session for school teachers on using the body language of prey animals to more effectively communicate with kids who have been severely traumatized. Once again Jackie developed a beautiful Colonial garden for the settler's farm. Kay Kerr's film "Croatoan's Memoirs" won "Best Short Film" and "Best Student Film" at the Equus Film Festival in New York. Krista Rutherford produced a great documentary "America's Forgotten Horse". Sherry Leonard's photography won awards at the Isle of Wight Fair as did Pam's beautiful and highly functional mohair girths. The music program put on a tremendous show at the regional Farm Bureau Annual meeting. The blog exceeded 355,000 total views. I completed Simple Soil Solutions on line class on natural pasture development and learned how to radically increase the amount of forage produced on our land. Our first pure San Clemente goat was born. We received incredibly generous donations including a tractor donated by Danny Stogsdill, a wood chipper by the Cavin family, $1000.00 from the Spanish Mustang Foundation, along with many other gifts too numerous to list. Jackie has become super efficient at repairing saddles and tack and has donated not only her time but a lot of tack to our program. Wendell and Andrew have cut and mowed. Pam has handled the computer sales and computer promotions. Ann Marie has taught. Jen, Lydia and Elise have fed and fixed. Sherry photographed.  Chris, Abigail, and Tam have taken responsibility. Audrey has helped give me hope that in fifteen years this program will still have the leaders that it needs to keep on running. Ming, Rebecca's boys, Gracie and several other young ones have made me smile (and that is a big deal)--I have to stop this! In order to list everyone whose efforts have contributed to our program I would have to list nearly every participant in our program.

And that is how we are able to get everything done with no paid staff, all volunteers.

The second best reason to be optimistic about 2018 is that I am absolutely certain that I have failed to mention a slew of successes, contributions, and achievements that we have had in the past year.

The most important reason to be optimistic about 2018 is knowing how much dedicated help and hard work that so many of you put into this program. I did not plan to mention anyone by name because I was certain that I would fail to list everyone who has made such a difference in the program. I am going to break that plan and mention one name. Without Terry O'boyle I do not know how I could keep this program running. I am not going to list everything that she does for us. That would require a separate post or two. But I am going to mention one contribution that she makes. Terry pulls people together. She works to make the program work for everyone. Her happiness is infectious.

In twenty days our Board of Directors will meet for a lengthy planning and thinking session. Our Board is made up of great people who understand what we do, why we do it, and where we need to go. I really look forward to letting you know what plans are made in that meeting.

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