If I've learned nothing else during these years of weaving, spinning, and knitting...I've learned that people who work with fiber are *the* nicest people I've ever met. There's a bond between us that's always there...whether it's in the forefront or the background. Like waiting in an airport, working on your knitting...and suddenly the person across the way mentions that she's a knitter, or her mother or grandmother knits. Before you know it, you're off in a conversation that makes you feel as if this person has been your friend for some time. I just love when this happens.
Likewise, in harder times, we're there for each other...I've seen it time and time again...and this is what I'm writing to you about today. My dear friend Sandy Ryan, who owns Homestead Wool and Gift Farm, has been hit by the horrible floods that have been plaguing the midwest this last week. For those of you who aren't familiar with Homestead, it is a no-kill farm owned by Jim and Sandy Ryan in Monroe, Wisconsin. Along with their son Ross, they provide a safe environment for injured or otherwise non-marketable farm animals to come and live out their lives with lots of love and respect. The Ryans neither kill, breed, or eat their animals. Read more about them in Lexi Boeger's new book, coming out later this fall.
I have been worried all week about Sandy and not until this morning did I get the news that the floods
actually tore away the foundation of their historic farm house. She told me she will never ever forget the sound of the two foot thick stone foundation of their basement just ripping apart. They are among the fortunate, if you can decide who is and who isn't...their home can be saved and will be put up on blocks until a new basement and foundation can be built.
Until then, Sandy is her usual happy, optimistic self. They are being cared for by the Red Cross and some wonderful neighbors, who are providing water for the animals (all of whom are safe, by the way). They are able to camp out with the aid of one power cord from
another nearby building. She told me that FEMA is in the area, there will be help eventually, and their wonderful families are stepping up to the plate to help. She hopes that after the house is stable on the blocks this coming week, they'll be able to move back in (so long as they don't do jumping jacks!) and she's anxious to get back to her business.
And that's where we come in.
I'd like to ask all of you to consider helping Sandy in some way. For those of you who already know her, you know that this is a woman who is always the *first* one at the plate to help others but would never ever ever let us know she could use some help herself. While she's painting a rosy picture in her e-mail, I can well guess she had losses she's not telling me about and could use some help in getting her business back on track. Here are some ideas I have for us to help:
- If you're a fiber person or hand spun yarn shopper, visit her site and start buying things to support her business (please remember to leave a little bit for me!). She also sells lots of knitted items for almost nothing...knitted out of hand spun...shop now for holiday presents!
- If you know Sandy already, and don't need more fiber right now, drop her a check (you probably already have her address).
- If you don't know Sandy but want to show a sign of support for a fellow fiber artist, drop a check in the mail in any amount you can spare: please make your check out to Sandy Ryan and mail it to Taos Sunflower, P.O. Box 506, Arroyo Seco, NM 87514. I'll see to it Sandy gets all your checks and cards and notes of support.
I've taken the liberty of sharing some photographs I found on the news wires to illustrate the gravity of this situation. These are photos taken in Wisconsin, just one of many areas severely impacted by the storm. I've spent the last two weeks crabbing about how hot it's been here in Taos...shame on me, when there are people with real problems. ---Martie
PS: As Holly EQQ says on her blog, Sandy's server is having problems, so you may not be able to access Homestead's website just yet...but keep trying. Despite all that's going on, she's hoping to do a fiber update soon...you just can't keep that girl down!