Member Newsletter and Annual Report

Celestial Farms

13958 Duval Road, Jacksonville, FL 32218 904-647-5265 CelestialFarms.org A division of Celestial Therapeutic and Ornamental Gardens, Inc.

Our mission is to educate people of all ages and abilities about healthy living practices from growing gardens and caring for animals.

 We are simplifying our mission, allowing for a more focused effort. I want to be sure we are helping all ages, all abilities. We are available for healing animals through the rescue as well as through educating humans. We help heal humans through yoga, gardening and working with the animals. Soon, we will be adding art therapy. We facilitate learning through the preschool, camp. Home school days. events, tours, and our upcoming coloring book. We are growing seeds of hope, nourishment and healthy lives and spirits. Thank you for being part of this adventure!

 

Event Explosions

Our events have quadrupled this year! In the past, we were happy to see 200 people at our events. Our Fall fair welcomed 800 people! The community has now heard about us and are coming out in droves! Most of our events have been a tremendous success. The animals stories are being told and their love is being shared. Our new photo shoot events are such a success that we are having as many photo shoots booked as parties!

 

Our outdoor learning and free play enable children to:

  • explore the power and fun of their own imaginations.
  • demonstrate delayed gratification
  • promote empathy
  • encourage problem solving
  • strengthen language skills
  • build self-esteem
  • reduce stress
  • foster development of emotional and mental flexibility
  • promote social skills

In This Issue

  • New additions
  • Garden Rows
  • Sponsors
  • Wish List
  • Adoption update
  • Rescue Report
  • Financial Review

New Additions!

We have almost finished our new rabbit colony. It is 50 feet long by twenty feet wide. It will be easier to access and brighter and safer for the rabbits. We are hoping it will also be dryer. Scout Troop 308 donated 50’ by 24’ of shade cloth to cover the rabbits.

We are also completing a new pig run out behind the pig crates for the pot bellies. They will have an access door from the crates to the yard for exercise and forage. They will still be put up at night for safety. Donations helped purchase posts and gates.

A pavilion is being created out of the old storage area formally called the four bay garage. It is almost 1,000 square feet with a metal roof, matching the barn and house’s metal roof. The sides will be open, allowing fresh air to breeze through as well as a clear view of the pastures and ponds from the play yard. A fence all the way around will protect the children from traveling into unsafe   areas alone. It has electricity and water already, making for easy installation of facilities. This is going to be a great asset to our events and summer camp. It will be available by our Spring Fling craft fair in March.

We are negotiating for a new educational building. We plan on it being ready by the fall registration for VPK. It will house a total of 30 students (3 infants, 4 toddlers, 11 VPK students and 12 preschoolers). We will employ 4 full time teachers as well as a couple support staff for gardening class and barn yard activities.

I am so excited about this years potential growth!

Invest on a child’s summer!

With our potential new building, comes a financial obligation to raise $50,000. To raise the needed funds, we are asking any family who can to prepay for summer camp to pay now and receive a discount of one week free!

  • Weekly fees add to $990($110 per week)
  • Prepay the summer $880 (1 week free)
  • Donate a summer for a child of our choosing $770 (2 weeks free)
  • Any donation of $25 or more receives a gift basket of handmade soaps and more!

Thank you for your generous donations as we will be able to improve the lives of many families.

Wish

  • Wish List
  • Posts
  • Paper
  • Outdoor paint
  • Seedlings
  • Plants
  • Trees
  • Lumber of any size
  • Sand and Gravel
  • Play Structures (for children and animals!)
  • Concrete
Volunteers are welcome on the first Saturday of each month. Other volunteer opportunities are also available with prior arrangements. Let us know what tasks you are comfortable preforming and we can find a project for you to complete! Lunch is usually available for those staying most of the day.
Projects include construction of habitats and fencing, painting, cleaning, weeding, pruning, and grooming animals. All ages are welcome, but all children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Garden Rows

A 4 foot by 4 foot garden square is available for our volunteers and member's to adopt for a season! We help by providing the tools and guidance for you to grow what ever you desire! Some seeds are available. You are responsible for watering and weeding as you desire. We ask that you do not use any pesticides on your square as it will contaminate other squares. Dematiaceous earth may be used and we are encouraging beneficial insects to give us a hand. Hand picking the incest's and washing the leaves helps as well!

The high temperatures and heavy rains last year contributed to the fact that we had a lot of inedibles and not very many edibles. Our goal by the end of the year is to install a “High Tunnel”. The USDA is helping farmers install these alternatives to Greenhouses and reimbursing for the cost of them in exchange for a promise to continue to use the tunnel for 5 years. We will check this program out and let you know how the process goes! Maybe you too can qualify for one!

The blueberry fields are still in need of a serious pruning and replanting. We anticipate a u-pick field soon! This will create a fun, healthy family activity as well as a great source of revenue for us.

 

Annual Events

Hug A Farm Animal Day

This has always been our best attended event. 2015 brought our most attendees ever! We had almost 1,000 visitors! The animals were given lots of treats and love! Children of all ages played all over the whole property. This year, I plan on having community service organizations participate more. We did clear $800 in donations in 2015.

Craft Fairs

By offering this venue as a low cost (only $5 per vendor) place to showcase their products, we encourage community members to be self reliant. We include our pony rides, petting barn yard and bounce house as an extra draw for shoppers and a fundraiser for us! All of the attractions are offered by donation only as we want no child turned away for lack of funds. The fall event cleared $600.

Farm of Fantasy (Photo Shoot and Trick or Treat)

Our new event was so much fun! The transformation took a lot of work from many volunteers and was incredible! Many people were introduced to the farm and it’s animals while having a blast! It created a safe place to trick or treat as well.

We did not break even on this event. We didn’t have as many guests as I expected. Many wanted to attend, but had other obligations and rituals. This year, we will hold it on Saturday, October 29th.

 

Spotlight

I checked on one of our first adoptions. Doolittle is a sweet little miniature horse. But, once we got him healthy and strong, he was a little too much for our young children. Savannah Mullis took him in and worked wonders with him. Her mother answered my questions with these comments.

“She has done so much on him that I would have to sit down and think. She has taught him to lay down, carries flags at rodeos, tied goats on him in the Jr rodeos , ran barrels and poles and worked cows on him. He is defiantly an all around pony. He comes in the house and chills with us. He is an awesome one-of-kind pony. As far as winnings I will have to think. He was a little stubborn to break but once he caught on and trusted us it has been an awesome adventure. Could have sold him for a lot of money but Savannah loved him to much and told them " if a million dollars wasn't offered he was not for sale". Lol !!!!!! “

I pray all of our adoptions could go so well!

 

Financial Report 2015 (unaudited)

Expenses

feed and hay     $   8,064
Vet and Tech     $ 11,908
Farrier               $   1,155
Construction     $ 2,035
Animals             $     360

Revenue

Center Fees       $ 16,000
Cash Donations $   3,753
Events               $   2,500
Parties    $   1,000
Programs           $     405
Adopt Fees       $     413
 

Rescue Report

Horses-

Tricia Crider, our barn manager, has found a new farrier that has been working well with the horses hooves and with Don Quixote. Within the next month, we should have Don Quixote’s hooves in much better shape! It will take sedating him and at least an hours worth of work. He has been is some pain and we need to make him as comfortable as possible.

We were not able to rescue new horses in 2015 as our barn was full. We have been able to find new, permanent homes for some of the horses. We hope to not have to turn any other animal away for lack of space.

Goats-

Last year, we raised money to have Gruff castrated to lessen the stress on his body. He recovered well. A small herd of goats were abandoned in a forest between St. Augustine and Palatka. We collected, evaluated, fattened, and rehomed a few, lost a couple and still have one. We lost a couple of our quarantined goats to the effects of their diseases.

Small animals-

Many rabbits and chickens were rescued this year, including 5 angora rabbits. They are so sweet and love to be groomed. In 2015, they lived in a rabbitry where they could tunnel out to graze in the pasture and return to safety with fresh feed and water. We still lost rabbits to predators. Our new yard will allow lots of freedom with much less risk. All chinchillas found new homes.

Celestial Farms is grateful to our new and continuing sponsors of 2015 both in kind donations and cash

Angelic sponsors at $1,000 or more:

Pasciuto Family

Claire and Frederick Gutheill

Frances Betts (in Memoriam)

Living Stream Church

Sunbeam sponsors at $250 or more:

Jewett Family

Scout Troop #308

Tractor Supply

Reinhart Foods

Star sponsors at $100 or more:

Wings, Worms, and Wonder

Young Family

Bonnie Plants

Lowes (River City)

Westside Feed

CitiGroup