Wednesday, July 13, 2016

July 13, 2016

Wanted to encourage everyone who comes to the blog to visit ELLA's facebook page as that is where I have been posting most of ELLA's information as of late.

News: **We are excited to have a vendor/fundraising booth at Littleton's Western Welcome Week which is Saturday, August 20th.  Hope that if you are in the Littleton area that day that you will come visit us at our booth. We hope to have Breyer horse models, and other wonderful things to sell to raise funds for ELLA's horses and programs. **We have been working hard at getting the property looking better (manure removed and other debris) which has taken us longer this year due to a wet spring and wet early summer.  **We now have a new ELLA/Blessing Way Minis sign that we hope to get up on the front fence today.  A  wonderful Christian man, Jim Davis, also has made us a scripture sign, too, for which we are very thankful for! **Working hard on getting The Little Free Library (www.littlefreelibrary.org) finished and up down by where our driveway and Thunder Hill meet.  This is a community outreach for ELLA---"Take a Book-Return a Book". We,also, hope to finish the interior of The Story Stable (built with a grant from Staples Foundation For Learning) soon.  It has been used for horse feed storage over the winter but hopefully we will be purchasing very soon a small garden shed from Sears so that we can store horse feed in it instead of The Story Stable.  I want to get shelves full of books on one side of The Story Stable and use the other side (partitioned off) for saddles and tack.

Monday, April 11, 2016

What ELLA and Blessing Way Miniatures has done in the past.....

We've been asked to post on the blog what ELLA and Blessing Way Miniature Horses have done in the past. Upon reviewing what we've done since 2002 we were amazed at the list!!!! So, here's the list......

*Volunteered multiple times with 3 different miniatures for Black Stallion Literacy Foundation's events while they were active in Colorado.
*Visited 3 different Arapahoe County Libraries with a miniature horse for what we called a "Meet A Mini" event.
*"Meet A Mini" event+books given to each child at a Summer Camp for Bennett Parks and Recreation Center.
*Visited two Assisted Care Facilities with Running Creeks Lil Pearl as a Compassion Ambassador. In the process for 2016 of becoming a registered therapy team (Theresa and Lil Pearl together).
*Were Miniature Horse Breed Ambassadors for the annual Westernaires Breed Show for many years.
*Have shown some of our miniatures at the Colorado State Fair and at local mini horse shows with many ribbons won. LOVE THE COSTUME AND LIBERTY CLASSES!
*Participants in Parker's Christmas Parade for many years.
*Participant one time in Elizabeth's Stampede Rodeo Parade.
*Participants in our local neighborhood 4th of July parade for many years.
*Had miniatures twice at The Rocky Mountain Horse Expo as a part of the Breed Barn/Exhibitions.
*Fun booths at Northridge Elementary School's Imagination Expo night. (1-"Readeo" where the children sat on a saddle and if they threw the 3 bean bags through the Lasso they won a book and 2-"Target A Tall Tale" game with MadLibs sheets).
*Information/fun game booth two times at C.A.L.F. Historic Lowell Ranch's Harvest Days.
*Fun "Lasso a Great Book" booth at Southridge Elementary's Celebration Day.
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*2011: Summer Reading Program---"All Aboard for Reading".  Thank you to The Colorado Railroad Museum for discount tickets to visit the museum for all participants who completed reading a certain number of books during the summer.
*2012: Summer Reading Program---"Have Book Will Travel-Back to the Wild West". Thank you to The Forney Transportation Museum for discount coupons given to each participant!
*2012: Kaya-An American Girl (book series/doll) learning/craft events at the Elizabeth and Parker Libraries.
Thank you goes out to the Elizabeth Library and to the Friends of the Library group for co-sponsoring.
*2012: Samantha-An American Girl (book series/doll) Christmas learning/craft event at the Elizabeth Library. Thanks goes out to the Elizabeth Library and to the Friends of the Library group for once again being a co-sponsor.
*2013: Elizabeth Library Book Club held once a month January through May.  Learning/craft time based on a different American Girl book series/doll and the time period in history that the Girl represented. Drawing for an American Girl doll held at the May meeting. The girl who won the "Molly-World War II" doll was THRILLED! Once again-THANK YOU ELIZABETH LIBRARY AND THE FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY for linking with us!
*2013: American Girl Summer Book Club at the Parker Library (June, July, August). Learning/craft time based on a different American Girl book series/doll and the time period in history that the Girl represented. Drawing for an American Girl doll held at the August meeting.  The girl who won received a gift certificate to go to the American Girl Store and choose her own doll.
*2013: ELLA READEO-drawing held for 4 Douglas County Fair and Rodeo tickets.  Thank you to Douglas County Fair management for the tickets!  The girl who won the tickets had never been to a rodeo so she was excited to take her whole family!
*2015: "Wild About Horses" Book Club at the Elizabeth and Parker Libraries. Parker Chick-fil-a were co-sponsors. Thank you Chick-fil-a for the party, certificates, and little stuffed cows that went to each girl.  Drawing was held at the end of the book club party in August for a Breyer Horse Model. The Breyer was Wild Blue-The Story of a Mustang Appaloosa-horse model with book.  The girl who won emailed us that she LOVED reading the book! A thank you goes out once again to the Elizabeth Library and the Friends of the Library group for also linking with us!!!!      
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*Book giving projects:
  a) Christmas stockings+books given to a Christian Children's Ranch in Arizona (2 times).
  b) Books given with book bags to Mount Saint Vincent Children's Home.
  c) Books with stuffed animal given to Helping Hands Food Pantry in Colorado Springs to be given out in Easter baskets.
  d) Books given throughout the year to each child or group who comes to visit the miniature horses and donkeys at the ranch.
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*2014: Grant received from STAPLES FOUNDATION FOR LEARNING to build a 10x12 Book storage and/or library building.  THANK YOU STAPLES!  AND THANK YOU KENT ROBERTS for nominating ELLA for the grant!
*2015: Grant received from STAPLES FOUNDATION FOR LEARNING for the purchase of a large round pen (metal panels that make a large circle) for on property events and for portable miniature horse panels to make a corral for off-property events.  AGAIN, THANK YOU STAPLES AND KENT ROBERTS!
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*Vendor/information booth at Littleton's Western Welcome Week.
*Vendor/information booth multiple times at Elizabeth's Middle School's Crafts Fair.
*Vendor/information booth multiple times at The Douglas County Fair.
*Vendor/information booth 2 times at Front Range Equine Rescue's Education Days.
*Information table with the Rocky Mountain Miniature Horse Club at one Rocky Mountain Horse Expo.
*Vendor/information booth at Elizabeth's Stampede Rodeo.
*Information table at Singing Hills Elementary School's Kick-off for their "Stampede to Read" that links with the Stampede Rodeo.
*Used Book sale table (fundraiser) at Loveland's Homeschooler's Used Book Sale and Homeschooling event.
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*ELLA articles ("Guess Who, What, or Where") written monthly for High Plains Rider newspaper while this newspaper was still being published.
*ELLA articles ("Little Horse Detective Agency") written monthly for Prairie Times newspaper.
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Sunday, January 13, 2013

December 2012

We did not participate in the Parker Christmas Parade on December 8th as planned.  I had been feeling under the weather a bit and the original weather forecast called for only highs in the 20's.  The weather ended up being good though and didn't get cold and yucky until Sunday!  Oh, well.......we'll plan for next year.  Hoping to get my VW bug truck(yes a VW bug based truck!) ready for parades in 2013, that way I can be in various parades and advertise ELLA without taking a little horse.  The little truck's name is "Elliot".  Elliot is way COOL!

December 12th: We co-hosted another American Girl crafts event at the Elizabeth Library. Samantha (Victorian times) was the featured American Girl Doll.  ELLA and the library supplied the things needed to make an old fashioned glass paperweight (kind of like a snow globe without the water).  It had a small gingerbread house inside.  We had 9 girls and 1 boy show up out of the 12 that had signed up.  Was a lot of fun seeing how creative each child was, decorating their paperweights each very differently.  Jan and Elizabeth from the library were a great help!  Looks like they will coordinate with ELLA/me to have an afterschool book club starting in January 2013 and running through May 2013.  Thank you to Jan and Elizabeth and The Friends of the Elizabeth Library!

We have added some animals to the ranch/sanctuary in 2012:
1) Spring brought 4 Silky Bantams chicks to the ranch.  My granddaughter, Natalya, helped to pick them out.  One ended up being a rooster whom we named, Reuben, after John Wayne's character Reuben "Rooster" Cogburn.  He crows all the time, not just in the morning and he thinks he's "hot stuff".  He might be little but he's feisty!  The hens are named, Dusty, Amelia, and Angel.
2) We became a home for two miniatures (a 19 year old broodmare and her 2009 "miracle" filly) after their owners lost their land lease for their animal sanctuary. We are still hoping that the original owners/family once they are back on their feet with new jobs and new place can have them back.
3)In October a 2 year old mini mule came to live with us.  We went to a local auction and no one even put a bid on him so we did.  He is more refined (looks more like a horse than a donkey) and found out that he "drives" (aka pulls a cart) better than he leads.  So we are working on training him to lead better.  Named him Blessing Ways Heza Dandy (Dandy for short).  He makes the cutest sound (not a horse's neigh and not a donkey's bray)-very unique.  We have to keep him separate while we try to find someone from the herd that will bond with him.
4) On our wedding anniversary we ended up with a lost kitten. Probably a drop off since we live in the country. The dropping off of animals because someone no longer wants them really makes me angry! When we took her to the vet he said she was about 6 months old.  We had our vet give her all her shots and had her spayed. She is another one of our inside cats now.  Named her Lucy Lou.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fall 2012

I was able to take an online photography class on doing Pet Photography.  I've been active in Equine Photographer's Network in the past but wanted to expand into doing other animal photography.  For this course I had to submit three photos for critique.  I did a head shot of one of our mini geldings, Simon Says,a window lit portrait of our cat, Benni, and our neighbor graciously allowed me to photograph their blind lab chow mix dog named Maggie.  I hope to build a portfolio of work and begin to do pet photography as a way of bringing in funds to help feed and care for all the ranch animals.  Will be a great way to stay active in photography, which is what I have a college degree in.

We were unable to volunteer with the Black Stallion Literacy Foundation's (now called Horse Tales) event in early September.  Bill had a work scheduling conflict and since he is my designated driver/hauler of the horse trailer we had to cancel our committment.  We were so sorry to do so since we enjoy volunteering with them! I know I need to train a few of my smaller minis to go into my Astro van so I can do some events/activities without using the truck and two horse trailer.

In October ELLA gave 60 books with coordinating stuffed animals to Mt. Saint Vincent Children's Home in Denver.  Boxes and boxes of books/stuffed animals were donated to ELLA in 2011 by the author, Jamie King.  We have enjoyed giving these books/stuffed animals to children in need whenever the opportunity arises.  Thanks again to Jamie King and her family for this wonderful donation of books/stuffed animals!

Our Lil Bright Hopes (Blessing Ways smallest mini mare) won cutest pet in Big R's  (the Elizabeth store) Pet Costume Contest on October 31st.  Hope was dressed  up in a Sunflower headband, sunflower fabric blanket, and two baskets full of fake sunflowers hung off both sides of the blanket.  What a cutie!!!!!!!!!!! She even walked into the store and "posed" for photos.  We received a $100 gift certificate which of course was used for horse feed.

In November we had a booth at the Elizabeth Middle School's Crafts Fair.  Shared a side by side booth with daughter, Lori.  Made some great connections: 1) a teacher at Running Creek Elementary who might want us to come with a mini or two for a "teaching" event for 4th grade Colorado History and 2) a local girl scout troop.  I really need to get on the ball and get some ELLA programs written up as samples and advertise for 2013.  Learning about miniature horses as a breed is one of the programs and other programs themed per horse and their biographical people (example: our mini mare called Little Sure Shot Annie for Annie Oakley).  The biggest blessing was the introduction of our first ELLA book (written by daughter, Lori and illlustrated by an artist/friend, Jo Varn).  Book title: A Christmas Rascal.  It is a Christmas story with our spotted mini donkey jack, Rascal and Hope, our smallest mini mare as the main characters. We sold a few at the Crafts Fair and a few during the holiday season. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Summer 2012

At the end of May we began to advertise our second annual Summer Reading Program: "Have Book Will Travel-Back to the Wild West" but alas we had no response.  Since all the various libraries host summer reading programs we cannot compete in this area so will not try doing this in 2013.  I did contact the Elbert County Library District about hosting a Have Book Will Travel-Back To The Wild West-Kaya/American Girl crafts day.  They quickly said yes and in July we did a crafts day at the Elizabeth Library.  Each child made a Nez Perce Parfleche (Native American storage envelope). We took our mini leopard appaloosa, Chance, and the children got to meet him in an outside corral area we set up.  We also hosted a nonlibrary sanctioned Kaya event at the Parker Library later in July.  The conference room was full due to a great response from a local homeschooling group.  We did not take Chance to this event.  We are hoping to do more American Girl/Historical Women events in 2013.  We received a financial donation from the Friends of the Elizabeth Library after the Kaya event.  Thanks go out to them for this monetary gift!
*July 4th, 2012 Photo on left is of grand-daughter, Natalya, and Lil Hope at the neighborhood Fourth of July Parade.*

The Elbert County Newspaper did a front page article on ELLA.  They found out about us and our projects because of the Elizabeth Library advertising the Kaya Crafts Day in their paper.  Because of this article we got a small monetary donation from a lady who had read the article and wanted to support what we do.

We had a booth again at the Douglas County Fair in early August.  This Fair has such a great turnout and has been a great place to make connections.  We sold many horse books to horse crazy girls!

Also, in August, the equine dentist, Carl Mitz, from Texas visited the ranch and did dental work on all the horses that needed it.  Thankful that the local miniature horse club brings him up from Texas every year.  This year Carl had his son with him, who is a book lover and avid reader.  We talked about what books he had read and enjoyed and that made the dental work time go faster.  We had a whole herd of deer come up the driveway while they were finishing up the dental work.  Both Carl and his son enjoyed seeing the herd which included 3 fawns!

A very special blessing happened this summer!  We received out first corporate donation.  It came by way of a vintage car racing friend who named ELLA as the recipient of choice from his five real estate refinance closings with Wells Fargo.  We hope to get some new professional brochures done in hopes that someone else might help ELLA in this way.  With the funds we were finally able to pay off the balance owed the accountant who did all the IRS 501c3 paperwork filing and also pay off various vet bills.  We had hoped that the funds could go towards the building of a small on-site library building but old debts needed to be paid first.  Getting an on-site library building up and functioning by summer 2013 is a goal we hope to meet!

Some local feed stores, Elizabeth and Kiowa Feed (both owned by the same wonderful lady, Mary) and Elizabeth's Big R store have graciously given ELLA a 5% discount on all purchases.  Thanks go out to them for this major financial help!

Another blessing was a local neighbor who was moving to Missouri allowed us to purchase her 1950's John  Deere manure spreader for a discount and a tax donation receipt.  She also donated many horse tack items so now we have a good start towards having a tack sale fundraiser in the spring (2013).

April 2012

Not much happened in April.  Did spring cleaning around the place in preparation for the summer ranch activities.  One major blessing has been the new farrier who comes once a month to trim at least 8 mini's hooves.  His prices are something we can afford and he does such a wonderful job even with our problem minis.  Many thanks goes out to John Nieman-farrier extraordinaire!

March 2012

ELLA participated in the Used Book sale at a small Homeschooling Conference in Loveland, Colorado.  I was able to stay overnight with my Dad, Ed Bowden, who still lives in Ft. Collins, just north of Loveland.  He helped me the night before put ELLA stickers in all the books, helped me tote in and out books and set up the table the day of the event.  It was a great daughter/dad time!  Bill and I covered the cost of the booth and other costs to participate.  Books that sold from us (Provision Books-donated to ELLA) were stickered with round green stickers and those donated by others were done with red stickers. That made it much easier for me in the end to know what sold and from whom.  Thankful to all those who donated books!  I made lots of notes about what sold well and what didn't so I will know better what to bring for next year's (2013) event.  Someday I would like to participate with a booth at the Colorado Homeschoolers Conference held every June in Denver but the cost of the booth is too high for Bill and I to cover.  Hoping someone will consider covering the booth cost for 2013.