As we cross over to 2019 and look ahead with hope and excitement we also take time to reflect on Furever Farm 2018.

Rescues and sanctuaries barely go through a year without lows accompanying highs. We are no different especially given the fact we are dealing with animals of all backgrounds. We get our share of animals in good health surrendered for various reasons but we also get animals that come in already up against it. Sick, injured, diseased, stressed, some are fighting battles we can only imagine. Over 2018 we have had to farewell a few animals so close to our hearts as they all are. They leave us with tears and memories and anguish that, for whatever reason, we could not save them. Some pass away simply due to old age or irreparable illness such as cancer. We remember: Kong the giant Australorp rooster, dear Maggie the Dorper - our very first rescue and baby girl, Laverne the hen, Bellyrub the beautiful piglet, Cuddles the cuddliest of hens, Shirley the friendliest of chooks, Mavis our black hen, Suzie Q the ex battery hen, Timmy - simply the most gorgeous lamb around, Edna the lovable hen, Malcolm our grand statesman of Marinos, Apple the sweetest of baby lambs, Penny our barn cat taken too soon, Diamond the unassuming Australorp and Speckles the brightest of hens. As you can see deaths are sometimes many in rescue and always so cruel. Some are taken from us far too young whilst others far too unfairly. One thing remains a constant though, we remember them every year.

Whilst there was a fair share of downs we also welcomed so many new and individual residents to the farm. Some remain with us whilst some have luckily gone on to live in loving forever homes. Still residing with us are 2018 inclusions Rhonda, Jewel, Dame Helen, Pam and Ebony the hens, Nat the long haired goat, Sam and Flo the lambs, George the sheep, Mr Paint the pony, Babygirl the black Angus, Oscar the South Devon steer, Blackie and Nebbie the horses, Grace, Lambert, Maeve and Archie the lambs, Muffin the kitten and Ember the baby goat. While we wish there was no need for a rescue to take in all these animals we welcome them with open hearts and honour our commitment to love and care for them now and beyond happy to see them depart to strictly chosen homes should they present.

It has also been a good year for our lucky adoption animals. 2018 has seen a good amount leave the farm destined for beautiful animal friendly homes. We have farewelled, but still remember, Peggy, Mavis, Donald, Daffy, Huey and Dewey the Muscovy Ducks, Roxy the most beautiful of horses, Tiny the tiniest of piglets, Wolfgang and Spike the duo horses, Kylie, Delores, Cackle, Clucker, Elvira, Shygirl, Smoocher, Thatch and Izzy the hens and Jasper and Buttons the inseparable lambs. Such great outcomes and how could we not remember them fondly.

There has been a lot to celebrate at the farm "off site" as well. We have seen Furever Farm branch out into holding stalls at events, something that will expand further in 2019. Our regular fundraisers such as our annual open day have flourished and become more popular and beneficial. We have had so many businesses take on our donation tins keen to show support for the farm and help us raise much needed funds for what is an expensive venture. We have officially set up a fundraising team and taken on more committee members in our perusal of professionalism and honesty.

We have also done this.....gone online outside of social media and established a fantastic website. We still and always thank creator James Byrne for his design, establishment and maintenance of our site. It is such and important aspect of modern times being able to "get yourself out there". To be able to tell people who we are, what we do, why we do it, the need and reasons and introduce people to residents, important information, sponsors, fundraisers and so on is invaluable. This was a major step forward.

We have even been included in media this year. Darren was featured on an interview with Claire Murphy of 5MU and we were thrilled to be featured on two episodes of award winning animal kids show Totally Wild. This is exposure you cannot buy and it was also a great deal of fun to do with our animals only too happy to get on camera!

Both of us, Darren & Hayley, were also nominated for the 2018 Murrayland's Animal Welfare Watch Kindness Award. Then, to our shock, Darren was awarded the award. 2018 Animal Welfare Watch Kindness Award Winner Darren Appleby. We were, are, so proud of Darren and so proud to both be nominated. It is little things like this that you generally shy away from that do give you a small amount of pride knowing that you must be doing something right. It is fuel for those rough days.

Lastly we have also expanded our merchandise by opening our own RedBubble store online. Prompted after we were gifted original hand paintings by Victorian artist Kathryn Stretch, and with Kathryn's blessing, we thought they were so great and different we would offer people a different angle of placing them on merchandise. Followers can now head to our RedBubble account and pretty much place these images onto anything their heart desires. The best thing is that, at present, we have paintings of Rosie the pig, Yogi the cow and Brian the rooster but Kathryn intends to paint us more to include in our gallery. 

2018 has thrown up some natural battles for us here as well. With SA in the midst of a major drought we have seen our land stripped baron of green and grass and caused major headaches, both financially and logistically, in hay supply. Our running costs have skyrocketed and continue to do so with no end in sight of what is simply a natural phenomenon. We have battled through with peoples help - followers, supporters, friends, family, hay suppliers - and whilst our bank balance is sick we will never give in. What do they say? Droughts have to break sometime!

So, as you can see 2018 has thrown up the good, the bad and ugly. Hey, that's rescue. Of all the downs we experience, of all the hardship we struggle with and the worry we feel it is always the animals losses that hit hardest. That being said, on the other end of the scale it is so heartening to see animals fixed, repaired, rehabilitated and run our paddocks in freedom and safety happy with smiling faces as they live as natural a life as they can.

We look forward to 2019. Sure we worry about the future. We believe that as soon as you don't worry about the future in rescue you are about to come unstuck. Be ready for anything and always, always keep your eye on what matters - the animals, their safety, happiness and lives.

We wish everyone a truly happy, safe and prosperous new year. We honestly want to see you all live happy. To finish, and collectively, we thank our volunteers, our fundraising team, our sponsors, our friends, our family, everyone who has helped us in any way shape or form be that websites, hay supply, gifts and last but not least our beautiful animals for putting smiles on our and others faces and keeping us sane. 

Darren, Hayley & all the Furever Farm team.