A Mighty Big Giveaway: The Winners!!!

by Susan on March 3, 2011

Okay, first of all, a big thank you to everyone who voted in the 2011 Juniper Moon Flock Giveaway! I am so grateful to each and every one of you because you made my job a whole hell of a lot easier. Deciding who will win and take home a flock of the sheep and goats that I care so deeply about is incredibly hard for me and y’all help out by narrowing my choices. You have my sincere gratitude.

I would also like to thank all 12 of this year’s semi-finalist shepherds for putting together such lovely essays and videos. There is a reason I require entrants to either make a video or put their thoughts down on paper: I think it really makes them focus on if and why they want to raise sheep. I’ve heard from several people who started their entries only to realize that they really weren’t ready for the responsibility that comes with properly caring for these animals.

Every single one of your entries touched me and I know in my heart that each of you will make dedicated, caring, watchful shepherds. There was something in everyone of your entries- a moment, a facial expression, a well-crafted sentence- that touched me. Thank you .

Now on to the part I hate. Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I hate that everyone can’t win. I can barely stand to watch the second half of football games because I hate that half the people on that field are going home disappointed.  Alas, I do not have 12 flock of sheep to give away, so two winners must be chosen.

Since I firmly believe that each of you would be a responsible steward for my animals, I’m going to go with the will of the voters.

Winner number one, with a total of 614 votes (26.56%) is… Mariah Oliver. If there is anyone in the entire state of Iowa that didn’t vote for Mariah, it isn’t her fault! I’ve received emails and phone calls from Mariah’s local tv station, newspaper and radio station. She really worked for those votes and I know she’ll apply that same energy and drive to caring for her flock. Congratulations, Mariah!

Winner number two, with a total of 561 votes (24.26%) is…Leslie Cooper. What can you say about a woman who recruited Matt Damon for her entry video! Leslie,  you inspire the hell out of me. We’ll have to work the timing a little differently with the delivery of your flock to ensure that they have plenty of time to adjust to the Texas heat, but we’ll figure that out together.

And that’s it. Except it isn’t. Because there was once video that touched my heart like no other, one entry that stuck with me from the first time I saw it, one person that I was rooting for and pinning all my hopes on. If you haven’t watched it yet, please take a moment to meet RJ Straw right now.

RJ, you are something else! You are obviously a hard worker and you have a heart all out of proportion for your short time on this earth. I can’t think of better qualifications to be a shepherd. So I’m giving you the first ever (cause I just made it up) Juniper Moon Farm Young Shepherd Award. And a small herd of Angora goats to go along with it.  You should know that these young goats mean the world to me and I wouldn’t entrust them to your care if I didn’t believe in you. Make me proud, okay?

We will definitely be doing this again, calling for entries in the fall, and I hope that those of you who didn’t win this round will submit again. I sincerely wish I could make all of you shepherds this time around, but don’t give up on your dream. It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.


1 Mariah March 3, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you Susie! I am beside myself with excitement. I feel very honored that you’ve chosen me to be an adoptive mom to part of your flock.

2 Susan March 3, 2011 at 2:59 pm

You earned it Mariah!

3 lisa (lasdcm) March 3, 2011 at 2:58 pm

YAY! Congratulations guys, but I have a special Congrats for RJ! Take good care of “our” sheep and goats!

4 Kristen March 3, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Congratulations to all the winners! You’re about to embark on a truly life changing experience, and I know of what I speak, being the winner of the first goat giveaway :) I’m so excited for all of you!
Susan, you continue to amaze me with your generosity, I’m so glad you opted to give RJ a herd of goats, he’s awesome. Thanks for all you do!

5 Jenny March 3, 2011 at 3:04 pm


6 Anna March 3, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Congratulations all! And Susie, you outdo YOURSELF everytime with your ongoing kindness! Yippee to all of us!

7 Bekah P. March 3, 2011 at 3:13 pm

I was Team Mariah all the way, so you can imagine I am excited to see she won. She absolutely will do a great job. Hands down, she’s a perfect pick. But man, it WAS hard to not vote for RJ, so I am glad he got his own flock, too.
It’s a win-win day for me =)

8 Taleah March 3, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Congrats to the winners, and thanks to JMF for such BIG hearts!

9 Laurie March 3, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Congrats to all the winners and I’m especially exited for RJ Straw!!!

10 Melissa Savoy (She Crochets) March 3, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Congratulations to the winners! Most of all to RJ, whose honesty and heart almost made me cry. Susie, you’re dead-spot-on. He’s going to be an awesome shepherd.

Your own heart and generosity are overwhelming. Thank you.

11 Erin L March 3, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Yay! Iowa is relatively close to me! (Assuming Mariah wants visitors!)

12 sean March 3, 2011 at 4:07 pm

I wonder what it means that your last paragraph made me cry. I love your blog.

13 Jen aka JellenP March 3, 2011 at 4:18 pm

I LOVE Shepherd Susie Surprises!

14 Deb Clemens March 3, 2011 at 4:34 pm

You are awesome.

15 Blendab1 March 3, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Congrats to everyone, especially RJ, WTG! To think that Susan gave you the first ever Young Shepard Award, speaks volumes.
To all the winners take care of our babies and snorgle them everyday!!

16 Leslie Cooper March 3, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Now that I can string two sentences together… I would like to congratulate the other winners Mariah and RJ!!! Also, to the other entrants, you were fierce competition!

And, I would like to thank Susie with all my heart! This contest changed my world in so many ways! Thank you so much! I will do you proud!

Leslie Cooper

17 Joan B March 3, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Congratulations to Mariah and Leslie and to RJ for the first ever JMF young shepherd award. You all are awesome and inspiring.

18 Christy March 3, 2011 at 6:24 pm

RJ was sick today and when we told him he won He said “I am not sure I am awake” Mom is in tears to see something he wants so badly come to pass. Thank you all so much for such a Awsome Blessing!!!

19 Susan March 3, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Aww, Christy. Now I’m in tears!

20 JacobsReward March 3, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Congratulations to all the winners!! I’m so glad I didn’t have to make that choice – everyone worked so hard! And Yippee-Ki-I-A for my pal Leslie! I know she will be a fantastic shepherd and she’ll get more help and support here than she knows what to do with! Hot diggity!

21 Paula Ladd March 3, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Wow! What excitement for the winners. Congrats and best wishes to all.

22 mixette March 3, 2011 at 6:43 pm

Yay! THE PUPPIES and a flock came to Texas this year!

23 konny March 3, 2011 at 7:00 pm

I was so hoping, even though I done know them that you would give the flock to the Straw family. There was something about him that said they needed them. Thank you.

24 Diane Webber March 3, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Congratulations to Mariah, Leslie & RJ!!!

25 fran March 3, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Congratulation all!! As a voter, it was a tough, tough choice. After reading/watching each entry I said “I will vote for them!!” In the end, I can’t even remember who I voted for, I think I just closed my eyes and clicked!!

Susan, you give me hope that you will be doing this when I get to “that point.” Wonder if I can afford MD to just come to your house and ask you for some goats for me…. haha. Congrats again.

26 Maureen J (mljan) March 3, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Best wishes for all of the winners. You will have a lot of people rooting for you and for your flocks. RJ, you have a great future ahead of you. Take good care of our babies.

One of the Aunties of JMFF

27 Amy Karasz March 3, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Hooray for all of the winners!!!!! I am so excited for you all!!!!!!!

28 knittingfool aka lori March 3, 2011 at 8:44 pm

YAY for all of us! So happy for the winners, I know you are starting a wonderful journey.

29 MaryE March 3, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Congrats to Mariah and Leslie and Hooray for RJ! Susie, you are a remarkable human being and I’m so glad I found you and your blog. The world needs more like you!

30 Christy March 4, 2011 at 12:26 am

Now that the dust has settled, RJ figured out it was all real, and I have had time to collect myself (tears have been wiped but my chest is still inflated with pride), I want to take a moment to thank Juniper Moon Farms, Susie and all of you for your wonderful comments that mean so much to us. From the time RJ was born he has been a Gift from God. To make a long story short (after all this is Susie’s Blog and not mine) He was born when I was told I couldn’t have him, Had a lot of medical problems and survived it all. His heart has nothing but love to give and his eyes see things in a way most will never know. He has a love for God, this family, his community and this earth that is honest and pure. At the ripe old age of 13 he has raised and showed chickens which has lead to him getting a grant and starting not only a 4-H poultry club but a Community Chicken Coop. He is always thinking of others. RJ never wants anything. He doesn’t ask for much and even at Christmas he just wants to find the perfect gifts for others. He is the kind of kid parents dream of having and I couldn’t be prouder of him. I have had people tell me he just “has that effect” on people. Sometimes I am not sure what that means but in my heart I know it is a good thing. He really is a great Kid and I am extremely grateful that for once RJ will get something for himself that he really wants, even if I wasn’t the one that could give it to him. He is singing the praises of such a great God and he is already planning to do the same thing Susie has done and when his flock is big enough he plans to pay it forward. Again Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for making RJ the happiest kid around.

31 Megan March 4, 2011 at 12:52 am

How wonderful! Congratulations to the winners- you will love these animals!

32 Alice in the Heartland March 4, 2011 at 4:01 am

Huzzah! JMF sheep are coming to IOWA! Go State! Looking forward to maybe having one of these come visit Iowa Sheep and Wool someday.
Congratulations to both big winners and to RJ for the special young shepherd award. A very special young man.

33 Cathy March 4, 2011 at 9:33 am

Congratulations to each and every one of you! I am especially proud that one flock is coming to Iowa! Mariah, I hope you are up for a visit!

34 Lorien March 4, 2011 at 9:51 am

Susie, Mariah, Leslie, RJ & Christy, You have all touched us. I hope you all continue to keep us up to date on your new adventures. Congratulations

35 dr rona thau March 4, 2011 at 12:07 pm

blessings and so much love to all the winners and all who entered.
you are very fortunate and this is an exciting adventure.
more love beaming to you
with great respect to those who tend to the animals and the land
with love,

36 jenn (life adorned) March 4, 2011 at 1:08 pm

i’m so excited for all THREE of you folks! i’m sure you have a lot of hard work ahead of you, but it’ll be so rewarding.

best wishes to you new shepherds, and we’d love to read some follow-up stories!

37 Jan March 4, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Thank you for your kindness for adding a new category for RJ.

38 Mike March 5, 2011 at 4:17 am

You big softie

39 RJ March 8, 2011 at 10:42 am

I started a web page and Blog just so everyone can follow my journey with your flock and my 4-H projects. Hope you like it. Some pages aren’t done yet but I am working on it when ever I get a chance

40 RJ March 8, 2011 at 10:43 am

I thought the web site would post in my message but it didn’t so here it is http://www.barnontheweb.weebly.com Sorry about that.

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