Giving Small

       Don't Have a Cow!¬†¬†Give a Cow to Someone Who Needs It

Weekly update newsletter is being moved. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 31, 2008

* Changing the World and Special Welcome beSpacific Visitors to Giving-Small

Crocus - Cow #8
We did it - we have raised enough to buy Crocus cow #8!

Welcome beSpacific Readers

Thanks for dropping by and checking out the project that started in March 2008. A great way to explore is to browse by month on the side bar in reverse chronological order and skim some of the funny photos and stories. Be sure to browse April for the most amazing photograph.

It's been 7 months since I started dabbling in "giving small" and trying to make a difference somehow. I had no idea if I could raise the money even enough for one cow - $300 seemed pretty daunting. But as you can see we're just buying Crocus, cow #8.

After your browse around, tell us what you think. We'd love to know - leave a comment or email.

If you're wondering how you can help? Here's 5 ways:
  1. Please send this to at least one friend or colleague - spread the word on your blog or newsletter or however
  2. Join us - people near and far, either donate online or take bottles in and get refunds if they have a program. Or get your office/workplace to have a "cow" collection bottle box or penny jar
  3. Start your own parallel project to buy a cow, chicken or goat at work or at home and share your story
  4. If you're adventurous, sell the stuff cluttering your house on craigslist, kijiji or at garage sale and help buy a cow (contact me for tips)
  5. Leave a comment on the blog, send a email or join the mailing list to let us know you like the idea and share a story or photo. We all get wildly excited about the idea spreading to others.

Special thanks to Sabrina for posting about this on beSpacific on her blog of accurate, focused law and technology news.

Changing the World - One Cow at a Time

Together, we have profoundly changed the world for 8 families. We have helped them to help themselves to a better life. Imagine getting the gift of cow that can produce milk that can be sold and it can also have baby cows :-). It's a huge step up. For us the giving is small but for the family the impact is enormous.

It's worked better than I could have ever hoped and dreamed and so many people have been supportive -- some I think did it to encourage "me" (thank you for your friendship and support and inspiration), some really were lit on fire by the idea of being able to change the life of a family half away around the world by giving a dairy cow to a family and livelihood. I realized in this project that most folks are just plain generous and will help out and give a little if it's easy -- we're all pressed for time so easy is the key, and many were looking for ways to give more. For others it's been a wonderful way to "get rid of stuff" in a environmentally friendly way and do a social good - a twofer - two goods at once.

When you turn on the news or open the paper, the stories are usually filled with disasters and sadness and struggle. This project has helped me to see the wonderful goodness in people and generosity. So many people tell me that they bought a cow or a goat or chickens last Christmas. Or they are making blankets or volunteering or sending books to Mexico or Africa or helping locally at the Friendship Inn.

One mom just emailed me to say that her children were inspired by the cow project and collecting bottles to buy a family a beehive this Christmas. They are so excited when they spot a bottle or can and collect it. Wow!!

I'd love to hear what "giving-small" has meant to you? Some people have laughed with me and told me that it's made them look at things differently. I jokingly wrote about the "mad cow virus" and the "darlene-moment" that people described when they spot a can or bottle.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

* "Cow" Cat Owner Chips in for Cow for Africa

Sassy - a cow cat

Shawn and Jillian's participation in the "cow" project is dedicated to Sassy - the perfect "cow" cat. She certainly looks queenly in this picture on her special cushion.

Jillian also used the online donation form (hurrah, 2nd online donor) (after I added it to the side menu) so it's now available to everyone at anytime - it's always easy to donate - just one click. Jillian said that she's working on pledge/tracker widget that would work with Paypal so we may get something wonderful one of these days to show our "real time" progress towards cow #8 - Crocus.

Speaking of Crocus, we're more than 2/3 of the way to cow #8. Moo hoo! These cows are really starting to come home.

Anyone have a "cow" cat or dog or chicken or other pet - send me the photo or add a comment with a link. We could start a "cow" pet gallery. With Halloween around the corner - think of the possibilities. Speaking of Halloween, my daughter pointed out the adult sized cow costume complete with udder, which looks udderly ridiculous, and suggested I go door to door for the cow. Well I might be willing to do that if there was a herd of us?

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

* It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Super Cow - Crocus to the Rescue

Crocus, cow #8 is up next.

Crocus - Cow #8Dairy cow drawing

Crocuses - Fact and Fiction

Prarie Crocus - also known as prairie anemone, pasque flower Bloom time: April - May

There are about eighty species of crocus (of which approximately 30 are cultivated). (Wikipedia)

They are mentioned in the Illiad.(Wikipedia)

The first crocus seen in the Netherlands, where Crocus species are not native, were from corms brought back from Constantinople by the Holy Roman Emperor's ambassador to the Sublime Porte, Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, in the 1560s. (Wikipedia)

Weyburn - The town has been immortalized by Weyburn native W.O. Mitchell, as "Crocus, Saskatchewan" in his novel, Who Has Seen the Wind? (TransCanadaHighway) - You have to read the rest of the entry on Weyburn - who knew it had these great stories/history?

Monday, October 13, 2008

* Thankful for Cows

Adia, Oreo and Buttercup Cows

There's so many reasons to be thankful for cows -- ice cream is just one of them. And you have to love good news that comes in threes (more on that in a bit)

But in my particular case, I am so thankful for everyone who has helped families in Africa have a livelihood. It's amazing at what we can do by giving small but working together. Just imagine how "our small" feels to the family that receives a cow.

Good Things Come in Threes

To celebrate Thanksgiving, I decided to catch up on the donating the cows. I held off on the cow that we raised the money for over the summer, hoping that Plan Canada might send me some extra info so I could post both at once. No such luck. When I went to look at my tallies on Thanksgiving, I was blown away. I didn't just have buy 2 cows but 3. So we bought Oreo, Adia (The Gift) and Buttercup. See the email receipts below. Click on smaller images to see the larger and note the timestamps -- it's a form thank you email so that's the critical difference.

My new fundraising venture with Kijiji is really complimenting the recyclables. It's about 50 - 50 in terms of dollars raised for September and October.

Some of the kijiji folks have joined the bottle brigade for the cow (always good to have more - getting 3,000 takes a wee bit of cow-operation). But often buyers of stuff on Kijiji donate a bit of money or donate stuff to sell for the cow.

Oreo receiptAdia receiptButtercup receipt

Friday, October 3, 2008

* Moo-chas Gracias Everyone

Singing Cows - Photo by pinelife

So many people have been helping out with the cow and Station 20 West - wow together doing small things we can do some pretty amazing things. Who would have thought 6 cows in 6 months? Sounds like a pipe dream -- only by having many helping hands could this work. So MOOO-CHAs GRACIAS everyone who has helped. Six families in Africa have a livelihood!

Workplace Teams Help Out Again and Again
Wow the bin for cans was overflowing and then some in the Dean's Office and the Archives had another big bagful. Hurrah! Kate was wonderful and helped me out by delivering the Natural Sciences collection. Now that fall has rolled around, there are more bottles and cans. Thanks everyone for helping out!!!

PayPal Payment Method Works
Gwen Thomson passed on the $$ from her last SARCAN trip by donating on the blog using the Paypal donation link that I set up. You don't need a Paypal account to use it - you can just use your credit card. Thanks for helping Station 20 West and for trying out the new online donation method -- worked just fine.

Amy and Ashley - Two U of S Students Help Out the Cow
Future lawyer and teacher contributed some items for the virtual garage sale and lots of bottles to the cow. Thanks!

Donna in Sutherland
Donna saw my post on Kijiji about a free sale (a garage sale where all items are free). All my kijiji posts contain a note about the cow. Donna is super organized - she had processed, crushed and bagged her recycling and I swung by to pick it up. Thanks so much Donna. Great to have your interest and support.

Flying Cow Lands on Fridge
At a board meeting this week, Beth Matheson popped a small cow that clings to your fridge with magnets in its feet. It now has a place of honor on the our fridge. Beth, who always says she doesn't drink things out of recyclable bottles, also made a Station 20 donation. Thanks Beth!! Stay tuned for a bit more about Beth as an illustrator and publisher. We're going to try to build a web site this week end about the book she has just published.

Money in the Mail - Hurrah!
Thanks Frank and Diane for contributing your recyclable refunds to Station 20 West.

Mel from Martinsville Needs a Garden Shed
Mel, a Kijiji garage sale purchaser, also passed on some items to me to post. Thanks Mel. By the way, if anyone has a metal garden shed they would like to give away Mel could really use one.

Generous Kijiji Shoppers
Many of the Kijiji shoppers pay it forward by giving a small donation or by offering to give some things to sell. Thanks to Patti, BonnyLee, Brandon and more.

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

* Always Wake Up in a Happy Moo-d and Ready for an Udderly Surprising Day

Theatre dress up stand
What the heck do you call this?

Everyday is an adventure filled with surprises, neat people and generosity when you're fundraising for the cow.

I continue to be grateful for everyone who is passing stuff on to me to post on Kijiji. Most of all I'm grateful to my husband who stoically seems me head off with an empty van and return with new inventory to squeeze into our stuffed garage.

There are so many people gifting things to me for the cow. I want highlight to two generous couples who helped out this week. First a special thank you to Diane and Ken who are just wonderful people. Diane and Ken who wanted to clear out their garage before the winter and I was happy to help. I had a thought provoking conversation about "giving local" with Diane. I described how the cow was more interesting to people. She wondered if it's because we don't really see the "need" in front of our eyes at home? I think part of it may be that but I also think it's the impact of giving a gift of livelihood - that you can actually do something so fundamental and major to help someone. I've just wrapped up the local campaign for Station 20 West, so I'd like to know what you think? What motivates you to give locally?

As I sort through, photograph and post things that are passed on to me, I often have to search around to find names for things and decide how to price it. What would someone call the thing with wheels that you haul your golf bag in ... carrier, nope -- a golf trolley. Who knew? Who knew there were some deluxe trolleys with remote controls and electric - I kid you not. Some of their virtual garage sale finds included a toolbox, tackle box, lawn chairs, modern looking Ikea coat rack, cross country skis and more. Diane and Ken were kind enough to ask about the cow and how it works and I of course was happy to swap some stories. Not only did they give me all these things to sell, but they also contributed a ton of bottles too. Thanks so much!

It seems I no sooner sort through a batch of things and start posting and I talk to someone else and get a new batch. Tonight it was Tara and Mike. They're about to move and have some items left from a garage sale and don't want things to end up in landfill so posted they had some stuff to pass along on Kijiji. So there I pulled up in my cow-mobile (it really should have horns) and proceeded to tell them the story of raising money for a dairy cow. They had a load of children's toys and one of the gems according to mike is a duck puppet that will sing "quack, quack" to the tune of Old MacDonald. This I have to hear. I noticed that Tara was very definite that the duck could go. :-)

Last week Maya generously gave me a number of items for the cow. She had posted on Kijiji and after I phoned and told her what I did, she said, I have even more stuff. Wow, I'd love to take it. She was in purge mode and gave me a whole bunch of wonderful things. Thanks so much. The week before that it was Christine, with her 2 cute chihuahuas and cat and a collection of "princess" related toys and clothes.

Stay tuned as I post some of the odd things I find and a few stories about where the treasures have ended up.

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* Try to Beat This Wine Label for Memorability

Wine Label for Cat's Pee on a Gooseberry Bush

Wine Label for Cat's Pee on a Gooseberry Bush produced by Coopers Creek

This week I also picked up some recycling from Vicki, Paul and Zac (Many Moos!!). These are dedicated cow supporters. This time Vicki said you gotta look at the wine labels - there's a good one. Well I'm not sure I would ever thought anyone would ever include the words "cat's pee" in the name of wine, but Vicki assured me that New Zealand wine is actually quite good. I'd like to just take her word for it, but apparently I'll be able to try it out one day soon.

Here's the description from Cooopers Creek Vineyard site about the wine.

Breeder's Comments
A youthful, kittenish wine, full of zing and zip. Extremely playful and lively, with an aroma that is inclined to leap out of the glass at you with the slightest provocation. The body is long and racy, equally happy relaxing on its own in the sun on a warm afternoon or engaging in boisterous interplay with fresh garden vegetables or seafood.

They are definitely waxing foolishly poetic here.

cow It's definitely remarkable and the name made me think of the book by marketer Seth Godin, The Purple Cow. In his book, The Purple Cow, Seth Godin asserts that the traditional marketing approach where companies market new products to the masses no longer works. Instead you have to stand out - create a wow and have personality. I've written a bit about the Seth's ideas in my Blog on the Side.

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* Suggest a Caption for This Photo and Win a Cow Prize

My doorstep last weekend


I often wonder what the neighbors think is going on at our house.

My doorstep is often filled with boxes of beer bottles and black, blue and white bags of recyclables. Most of my neighbors are aware the "Don't have a cow, give a cow instead".

As an avid FullCirclesSaskatoon recycler and now a virtual garage sale fundraiser for the cow, there is also a steady stream of bags and boxes on my step for people to pick up.

On this particular day there were a couple of bags of books for Sarah, a fullcircler, who has helped by dropping off some bottles for the cow. Thanks Sarah ... you're moo-valous to help out.

This weekend was a major milestone. I had 4 folks drop off recycling: Sarah, Jill from work, Lyle and Cathy (best guess based on the brand of beer), and Gord and Lorraine.

Bottles from last weekend

Bags of bottles and cans dropped off this weekend.

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* Don't Forget to Cow-nt Your Blessing Everyday

Judy with truck load of cow collectibles

Photo of a Judy and Evan with truck load of cow collectibles

I feel blessed, bemused and thankful. Faithful readers of this blog will recall the story about Judy who purchased the moon lamp and found about the cow fundraising idea via Kijiji and loved it.

Out of the blue, Judy phoned me and said she was wondering if I might like to have her collection of "cow" things to sell for a dairy cow. She said that she used to deliver milk and as a result over the years was given many cow things -- about 12 boxes full to be precise.

I was thrilled, bemused and delighted but I never imagined that Judy and her partner would pull up with a truckload of cow stuff including a wonderful cow shaped mailbox and a great poster that was entitled "All I need to know about life I learned from a cow". The headline for this blog entry is one of the pearls of wisdom on the poster.

Thank you Judy and Evan!!!! You are so moo-valous and I'm sure that this collection will help fund a cow and a calf or two.

If you have advice on how to sell a "whole collection" of wonderful cow treasures please share what you know.

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