This year was such a whirlwind, it’s hard to actually know where to begin as I sit here on the last day of the year. I know we accomplished A LOT but when it’s all said and done, it’s hard to not think, did we do enough? Going through photos of this past year remind me that we did certainly get a lot accomplished and I feel we actually did more physical work than any year we’ve been here when it comes to upgrading our property for our residents.
2022 was the year of coming back from the Pandemic. We began a new Volunteer program that attracted long term committed and wonderful people who are so very passionate about the mission of Veganville. We have 2-4 consistent volunteers out every Sunday to help with the maintenance of the sanctuary which is so very helpful to me as I can focus on the projects that help us expand. We have help feeding Tuesday through Thursday which also helps me focus on the administrative duties (along with being a single parent and a full time job).
We were able to accomplish a ton of projects that help better the lives of our residents and caretakers! We had such a terrible mud problem going into the beginning of the year, we were able to get about 5 tons of gravel delivered to our pig and goat/sheep enclosures which helped a lot (temporarily). A few months later once we were a bit dryer, we were able to get a large concrete pad poured in our pig enclosure which has been an absolute luxury for all here living on the sanctuary!
We welcomed a geriatric llama named Briggs in January. He was underweight and had not been sheered in a very long time. He flourished on Veganville for 10 months with consistent care and love. He gained a bunch of weight and settled in so well, we lovingly nicknamed him “the butler” as he always welcomed new visitors by approaching their faces and smelling their breath. Briggs passed away suddenly in November due to a presumed heart tumor. As saddened as we were of his passing, we are so happy that he got to spend the last 10 months of his life given the best imaginable care and we know he was happy.
We also welcomed a couple of roosters, Wayne and Garth this year. Wayne and Garth were “unsellable” chickens from a feed store as there are city restrictions on keeping roosters and most people who purchase chickens from feed stores are really only looking for egg laying hens. Lots of roosters end up getting dumped or placed on Craigs List. Any rooster who has found a sanctuary is very lucky as most don’t get the chance. We built a new enclosed garden area this year and decided it would also be a great place to set them up so they had some space to explore outside of their run. Wayne and Garth are hilarious to watch and we are very happy to have them here.
With the help of volunteers, we were also able to fence off three additional grazing pastures for our sheep and goats so they should always have fresh grass to graze during the months of March-July. Rotational grazing is not only great for the residents, but it’s also great for land management and sustainability so we have less mud, less run off and healthier soil. We also upgraded our large pig enclosure to make sure certain residents (uh hm…Pistachio) couldn’t escape. We tore down the previous pallet fencing and replaced all fencing with wood posts and panels. We will be continuing to modify their enclosure next year so they also have rotational grazing opportunities as well.
We also welcomed Wwoofers (Wwoofusa.org) this year for the first time since 2019. Wwoofers are longer term volunteers who stay on Veganville for a couple of weeks who work a few hours a day on the sanctuary in exchange for room and board. With the help of these Wwoofers, we were able to get our orchard prepped for planting our food forest in 2023, installed more gates, modified and expanded our composting set up and clear lot’s of invasive plant species found on the property so we can get some of the land prepped for larger animals like cows, donkeys and horses in the future.
My parents came out this year and with the help of my builder father, we built a greenhouse! So when we plant our food forest next year, we will be able to start most of the plantings ourselves without having to purchase much. A food forest is a diverse planting of edible plants that attempts to mimic the ecosystems and patterns found in nature. The idea is to not have to use herbicides, pesticides or fertilizer as the forest will be planted with shrubs, herbs and fruit that will naturally work together to omit the need for chemicals! Cool right?
With the human Pandemic a little more manageable, we are working on a Tour Program to start in the spring of 2023. We know how important it is for people to have the opportunity to visit the sanctuary and get educated on compassionate animal care and environmental sustainability. The Avian Flu was a concern this year and still remains to be for our feathered residents so our program will have some strict guidelines in order to keep everyone safe. More information to come!
Our main projects for 2023 include:
So now that I’ve written the update for this past year, I realize how much we accomplished. We could not have accomplished this without our volunteers and supporters. Look what we did!! We thank every single one of you for your support this year and we look forward to another year of progress!
Happy New Year!
~Cecilia and all of the residents of Veganville