Operation Tilly

Here we are, another major California fire. Here I am, affected by it yet again. The Dixie Fire rages mere feet from our ranch in Indian Valley. Our cattle, my Dad and our neighbors are all still there. I am currently on the home ranch, with no way to reach them. I have a lot of big feelings right now and none of them are good. So many of us are fire survivors, we are all too familiar with these complex feelings of helplessness, fear, anger, etc.
I needed to find a way to help my communities. Sitting at home doom scrolling was helping no one and making me anxiety puke like a fountain. I have hatched a plan to help.

Tilly is a friend to all.

The Plumas Sierra county fair has been postponed because of this Fire. The Livestock Show scheduled for August 11-15 will now be held in Sierraville at the Rodeo Grounds on August 13-15. With the livestock sale being the 15th. Honestly y’all, I am so glad they are doing this, but I am unsure how many kids will even be able to attend since they are still evacuated, and even worse, the town of Greenville is gone.

Working with Tilly!

I have a vested interest in a couple of these kids, our neighbor Wyatt has been a constant fixture in my life since he was a baby. He’s incredible, from being a gate opener for me, to raising bottle calves, this kid can do it all! Wyatt’s Parents are the best neighbors and people you could ever imagine – they always help us when we are in need (which is like a LOT), they have fire victims and evacuees staying at their house right now, I cannot say enough glowing things about them.

About a week before the fire burned Greenville down, I was able to make an emergency trip into the evacuation zone (I had law enforcement permission, don’t worry). I brought animal feed for some 4-H kids (including Wyatt), water, all kinds of produce, baked goods and fresh peaches donated by L&T Farms. That was the last time I saw that community.

Two cute kids holding peaches

Fresh peaches!

Wyatt was so excited to see me, he quickly ushered me to his pig pen to show me Tilly. This is Wyatt’s first 4-H project and he could not be more proud of himself, with good reason! Tilly is a gorgeous gilt, with a huge personality! He and his sister asked for me to take a photo (it’s like they know me well or something). His little sister cried when we started talking about selling Tilly. Y’all, I was not ok, I remember my first 4-H pig and how upset I was when I sold her (even though it was a heartwarming story)
I want to buy his gilt Tilly for a breeding project. Wyatt and his sister have had enough trauma this summer without the trauma of selling his first project as terminal.

Look how proud they are!

I don’t want his parents worried about how they are going to get this pig to a sale while trying to rebuild their community.
Tilly will come live with me and my fancy ass boar, Homer. With this sow, I can breed fair quality piglets. Wyatt can come visit whenever he wants and he, his little sister and a member of Indian valley 4-H/FFA will always have a free piglet for the fair from this sow. Best of all Wyatt will still get a check to invest in his education.

A boy and his pig.

I wish I was baller enough to do this on my own. But I’m not, I need your help. I wanted to start a go-fund-me, but they take so much out. So like when you all donated to me during the Camp Fire to take animal feed to the fairgrounds, I’m asking you to trust me again. This is my plan, if you want to donate to Operation Tilly, you can venmo (@MegRaeB) me. I’ll come back to this blog post and list who donated what, so you have accountability. In the end, when I see Wyatt in real life, I will give him a check, just like after the 4-H auction. The average prices for the fair are in the $6-$10 range, and an average hog is around 275. So if I can raise Wyatt $2,750 (let’s go high end for this kid) I’d feel like we did something.
Alright friends, let’s do something nice for a really good kid. *If this ends up going viral, I know more kids, and will make sure they get a high end market price and donate their animals back).




Nicole Dornsife $20

Some Show Pig Folks in KY $25

Joan Crandell $50

Claire McGuire $50

Joyce Park $50

Dinah Weller $100

Carrie Fritish $50

Sarah Wilde $10
Stephanie Kramer $50

Angela Bledsoe $50

Carol Albrecht $100

Stephanie and Keith Adams $30

Melanie Perron $25

Bradley Pinnell $150

Monica Baumann $50

Caroleen Beatty $50

Benjamin Nicholson $50

Petros Chrysafis $30

Kathrine Walton $50

Todd Quigley $20

Tara Christian $20

Patty Johnson $100

Jim Belles $20

Kim Grady $100

Melissa Davis $25

Paula Puffer $10

Stacey Stater $100

Antonio Bernardo $100

Rachel Houghton $25

Kory Dordea $100

Nancy Anderson $75

LX Van Drie $10

Edward Takashima $250

Gale Hausman $60

Hannah Gabriel $20

Amanada Burch $25

Brenda Roberts Weinberg $200

Carolyn Battaini $100

Melissa Cafferata-Ainsworth $10

Cindy Quigley $50

Wendy Wang $19.50

Robbin McMaster $25

Sara Calvosa $40

Shannon Peterson $25

Andres Aguirre $30

Melissa Laurent $25

Laurie A. Watkins $25

Sara Reid Herman $100

Lauren Reichel $100

Kristina Short $50

Denise Kelly $150

Gail Cafferata $250 

John Rogers $200

Illyanna Maisonet $34.50

Kyle Peters $50

Lori Flesher $100

Valerie Pinocchio $30

Andrew McBurney $25

Kirstie Mccranie-Peterson $75

MC Carter $100

Rylee Pedotti $200

Eric Hedberg $25

Donna & Stevie Foster $100

Sherril Ann Stephens $25

Stacey & Ryan Mikulovsky $50

Mel Hignell $50

Regina Stafford $50

Stefanie Halsey $50

Anonymous $25

Marie Cerda $100

Jamon Kerrigan $100

Bennett Bailey $20

Mary Eliza Baker $75

Shari Tucker $100

Duane Marcus $5

Michelle Kitchens $25

Christopher Nagano $20

Alexandra Biering $50

Nan Miner $25

Jenny Splitter $50

Courtney Mitchell $100

Whitney Clark $50

Rob Eves $20

Ellen  $20

Taysha Reitzel $50

Jeff Mathews $50

Danielle Browning $100

Shelby Lueng $70

Lisa Peterson-Garcia $50

Collette Hofer $100

Tory Zellick $85

Becky Brandalick $75

Lori Hahn $25

Pam Funk $50

Tiffany Jarvis $50

Angelo Genasci $25

Lisa Peters $10

Henry Schleiger $50

Steven Reilly $500

Heidi Lypps $20

Liberty Farms $25

Greg Van Ullen $50

Northgate Aviation, Inc. $1000

Christine Hewitt $100

Stephanie Padilla-Borchert $50

John Moore & James Smith $50

LL & JA Russell $50

Stephanie Seminoff Family Trust $200

Karen Grady Family Trust $150

Y’all. We raised $8,375!!! We supported two wonderful kids and a family. I’m so proud!



Donations Paid to Survivors 




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2 Responses to Operation Tilly

  1. Richard Lewis

    Hi Meg,
    I really like your heartwarming story and what you are trying to do for the 4-H kids. Here in my area of Florida, 4-H is very strong and important to the kids who get involved. My neighbor’s son has been involved for years showing his steer. They have raised a lot of money for his education. I feel for those who get involved with the 4-H program, build character and self-confidence. I admire what you are doing and wish you well.
    Stay safe, good luck with the cows at the other ranch, hope your dad and neighbors will be ok.

  2. The generosity of the human spirit never ceases to amaze me. 🙂 Good work!

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