The last Jilfan Malabar stallion. gone.
Lucky, my best friend of 18 years. gone.
Lacey. saved from the kill pen. Finally learned to trust me. Gone.
Baby goats that I birthed. Held in the rocking chair bottle feeding until mom could be a mom again. Gone.
Jasper who goosed our guests and burped in faces. Gone.
Reese who rode people's shoulders. Kasey's pet. Gone.
Our pranksters, our shy goats, our mischief makers. Big and small, entire families. All burned. Found together in family piles, hiding.
Nasr and Lucky back to back laying in their stalls side by side.
Animals that touched hearts and charmed guests and impacted lives, made strangers into farm family.
This is Carrie writing. I run Barakah Heritage Farm
with my husband Khalil, and the help of 2 amazing intern partners Mickey and Kasey and an incredible team of horses and goats.
Or I did.
Our lives changed forever on Monday September 27.
We went to town for supplies. For the first time in what was probably a year, my husband came along to help out, rather than stay home to watch over the farm.
Our animals were safely tucked in the barn for lunch and naptime in the cool shade.
All of our animals.
And then I got the text that I think I will never ever forget.
Where are you? Your barn is burning. Followed by an image.
An inferno. Not a small fire, not a recognizable building, just this volcano of flame, flames pouring out the doors, flames where my precious Nasr and amazing Lucky were in their stalls napping.
That half hour home, trying not to speed, trying not to wreck, trying not to think - that was eternity. Just sick horrible eternity.
We could smell it before we saw it. The smoke rising. The stench. The noise. Cars, trucks, people.
Kasey and Mickey, somehow already there, frantically searching for Mickey's cat.
Kasey's camper trailer smoking in the driveway, one side melted.
People looking at us with serious faces. My dog, where was my dog, I needed to hold and touch and see my dog. My neighbor texted me she was ok, I just needed to hold Runa.
By then it was just some standing timbers, smoke, horrible smells, all a blur. Is Kasey OK? Mickey? Cat found? Go see a medic, get checked? Just shock, chills, trying to function somehow, grasp this charred mess that was our barn. Maybe someone got out, maybe? Heads shaking. So many hugs. This cannot be real...
I get that miracle text. We found survivors!!!! There are horses, a donkey, a pony up top in the pasture. I get hopeful again. Maybe, just maybe, somehow a gate broke, somehow a latch opened, maybe my Nasr, my Lucky, Lacey, a goat, any goat, just one baby...maybe it's not so bad.
So many thanks to God, it's Salty and Sugar and Niya and oh! incredible joy! Bahi is there! Malenna, stubborn feisty ancient pony. Jasmine donkey, the first to come to me.
And for all the joy, all the relief, that's it. That's everyone.
Lacey. Lucky. Nasr. CC. Maude. Boudie. Peanut. Derry. Hope. Nellie. Nansi. Reese. Arrwen. Anna. Queen Bee. Mystie. Eric. Clyde. Rhedd. Jasper. Gone.
And they are still in there.
So here we are. I type this sitting in my office, curtains drawn so I don't have to look out my window at the charred wreckage, my animals still out there, waiting for the investigation to conclude so we can bury what is left with dignity.
We aren't attempting to rebuild the barn. Any barn building plans are down the road, another discussion.
But we need help.
There are needs. There are wants. And there are dreams.
We must replace all the infrastructure we lost. Everything from farrier tools to buckets to brushes to milking supplies to - well, think about what you might have in your garden shed or your barn. Everything was stored there. Anything you can think of to care for a herd of goats and horses and an adorable donkey, to garden. Thousands of dollars and years of careful selection of tack, saddles - many chosen by the animals themselves. A camper to house interns and volunteers (yes, that burned too). Portable shelters from winter, like shelterlogic run ins. Buckets. Hay. Feed. Waterproof blankets or sheets, including something for a pony and a small donkey, to keep them warm and dry this winter.
And this is without talking about income replacement. In one day, our income, built around tours and teaching and selling goats and farmstays was gone. Poof. Gutted.
I think I want to try to rebuild Oak Hill goats. Honestly, I'm grieving. I miss my friends so much. But I also miss the joy and energy of the herd. I heard a baby goat today in the background of a phone call, and it made me smile. The bouncing babies, the funny sounds. And I miss sharing them with people, miss teaching people about these amazing thinking feeling furry beings. I'd like to track down and buy back some of the Oak Hill lines, see what could be built. This means not only purchasing the goats back, but also finding portable shelters like large dog houses or little tike playhouses or even portable storage sheds to shelter them in winter and rain.
Nasr is gone. He literally cannot be replaced, as the unique bloodline mix his mom carries isn't out there in any stallion I am aware of. But horses are my heart. My passion. If I could dream, I would keep working on the Malabar lines, working on preservation and sharing them with the public. I still have Bahi and Niya.
So many people have reached out, asked how they can help. I'm humbled. We are humbled. The generosity and kindness of neighbors, of the town, of farm family, of blood family, of total strangers - it is profound.
To actually try to manage an inventory list of specific items would be overwhelming. We cannot do that and take care of the animals we still have, work on rebuilding our lives and theirs. So we ask that you consider using this GoFundMe instead.
Most importantly, the most important thing - pray for us. Pray for our family (and that incudes Mickey and Kasey).
So many thanks to God that this wasn't worse, and that we have faith and hope and chance to return with a new version of Barakah Heritage Farm.
Barakah Heritage Farm