Fight Against Cancer and For the Environment

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Let the fun begin

Posted by Anne Tarantino on February 21, 2010 at 8:12 PM

What is the funny farm and why are we doing this?


Good questions and there is a good long story to this. Sit back, get something to drink and enjoy the story.


The funny farm is the unofficial name of a farm in Harris, Minnesota owned by Kay Winchell. She and the funny farm are the 2 things that make this event so special. She would be less then pleased to be put in the spotlight of why this came about, but none of this would come to be if it weren’t for the farm or for Kay. She is not a spotlight kind of girl and would rather pick a whole field of corn by hand than have any recognition.


The “Winchell” farm was founded around 1870 by Swedish immigrants, Magnus and Christine Lundeen. I think they still come to visit every now and again. It gets very unexplainably busy out here. All the buildings on this property are original which is probably why “Mags” and “Christy” still hang around here. They know their way around.



After I got to know Kay a bit I asked her “how are things on the farm?” Her response:


“The horse is lame, the goats are dying, the chickens aren’t laying eggs, the dogs

and cats are useless. Other than that, everything is great” Well, let me tell you,

things haven’t changed since.



Most out here on the farm are misfits. Tucker the horse is here because he was being trained for pleasure riding too young and his knee never recovered from an injury. One goat, “Emmy Lou Harris” named by the University of Minnesota where she was born via C Section in the middle of the night that is the lone survivor of Jhonnie’s disease. Chickens for eggs are here, unbeknownst to Kay, the hatchery fills the box with baby roosters to keep the baby hens warm as they are arrive via US Postal service. It puts a new perspective on what could show up in the your mailbox and why only half of the chickens lay eggs and the other half are playing leapfrog. There is also Sam, the neurotic boarder collie that someone dumped that herds only cats. Millie the Golden lab with an eating disorder that the neighbors want to shoot as they wake up to their garbage strewn all over their beautiful green lawns. Then there is Charlie a white Pomeranian that’s cross-eyed and was handed out the car window being an unwanted pick of the litter. He doesn’t know he is a small dog. Sam taught him how to herd, however barn cats were too big for him so his job is to herd the chickens- appointed by Sam. Tons of wild animals, that no one can explain what they are. On any given day, 5 Barbados sheep could happen to show up and hang around only to disappear as quickly as they came. That was the Sam, the border collie’s chance to shine as the herder he was meant to be. Well, the cats ended up in the barn anyway.



You get the “what” now lets talk about the “why”.


Kay lost half of her family to cancer in the 80s. Her brother, Todd at the age of 26 to acute leukemia and her mother Carol 3 years later to stomach cancer at the age of 49 and within the next 10 years 3 out of her 4 grandparents were lost to different types of cancer.

She has 2 aunts that are cancer survivors.

In all cases doctors felt that the cancers were the result of environmental causes.

She was then led to the “funny farm” to heal and to learn the lessons in farming which renewed her sense of humor.


There is the why.


Our goal is to find a recipient or if it gets REALLY big recipients of this cause. The wish is for the funds to be given to a cancer patient to use not just for medical purposes, but to use for the other expenses that still occur, i.e., every day living expenses that still go on while undergoing treatment. If there is a candidate that you know of, please email us at [email protected]


So, that is leading to our fundraiser at the funny farm. June 12, 2010 is the date. The details so far:


CARS!! Beautiful Classic Cars hosted by the FABULOUS Lambda Car Club!


Live music! 3 sets of the greatest musicians on earth! Bev Oakland and the Basement Band! Stevie West and the Northern Stars and Frank Tarantino, Jr.


Silent Auction hosted by “The Kindergarten Girls” the greatest people on the face of this earth. Jen Marcell, Jill Marinello and Cathy Weidmer! We grew up together in Port Washington, Wisconsin and they are traveling all the way from the Milwaukee area to shed their shining personalities for us. No pressure girls, but make it fun.


Food - What can you say about food that’s fun? We all love food. Millie isn’t the only one with an eating disorder!


Luminary Light Show- Lets light up the farm (well, not near the buildings) Donate a luminary in honor of someone that you love or have lost.


And who is writing this you might ask? I’m Anne Tarantino. I get to live here in the “Land of Misfit Toys” and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Just a side note for those of you that are wondering……I’m not sure if I’m related somewhere down the line to Quentin, but I am related to THE BEST Jazz musician Frank Tarantino that you will hear WHEN you come out to the fundraiser!


Stay tuned, more to come!










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