How fun is this? What a great idea for a birthday or other special day present!
Thanks to The Oregonian for this article!
This little farm dog has a nose for a good story Tales – Daisy the terrier, with the help of owner Geraldine Pearson, keeps young readers entertained
CANBY — A dog’s life on Blackberry Hill Farm is something worth barking about.
Geraldine Pearson’s 4-year-old Tibetan terrier, Daisy, should know. For years, this shaggy little dog has been telling dozens of children all over the country about her daily adventures romping around the sprawling, 150-acre farm south of Oregon City thanks in large part to Pearson and her vivid imagination.
Pearson is The Person who spins Daisy’s tales through letters she began writing 15 years ago with the first Miss Daisy — a dog Pearson adopted from Clackamas County Animal Control.
Today, Daisy Letters go out to some 100 subscribers, stretching from Maine to Southern California. She also mails the letters to schools and to pediatric wards of hospitals, such as Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland.
With the help of Pacific Interpreters, a Portland-based interpretation/translation service, she makes the Daisy letters available to schoolchildren in any language at no extra charge.
For $59, subscribers receive 16 letter mailings per year, along with birthday and Christmas or Hanukkah cards, photos of Daisy and her friends, and a map of Blackberry Hill Farm. The rate is $40 for any additional subscriptions.
In her letters, Daisy 2 — whom Pearson says she “imported” from Hungary — tells her readers how she and dog pal Quilt hunt nutria and other critters or how she helps The Person feed the chickens and ponies, herd the cattle, oversee the birthing of lambs or do dozens of other daily chores around the farm.
During the early to late 1990s, Pearson was mailing monthly letters to more than 80 subscribers, young and old alike, all over the country. She even had some subscribers as far away as England and Hong Kong.
She discontinued the Daisy letters for several years, but resumed writing last December after placing a small advertisement in The New Yorker — “They charged me $1,400!” Pearson said — announcing Daisy was back. Letters and inquiries started pouring in after that, she said.
Pearson said the Daisy letters have always appealed to grandparents, possibly for nostalgic reasons.
One wall of Pearson’s tiny office is covered with letters and pictures from children who have become devoted fans of Daisies 1 and 2 through the years.
“One little girl who suffers from dyslexia wrote that the letters helped her reading skills,” Pearson said.
Besides Daisy, Pearson’s barnyard menagerie includes two other dogs, four cats, a half dozen chickens, 50 sheep, 30 head of cattle, five ponies and numerous trout filling two lakes on the farm.
Former educator, journalist
At the age of 70, Pearson says she does “99.9 percent” of the farm’s upkeep herself.
But Pearson is hardly your typical born-and-bred farm girl. She has a bachelor of arts degree in English literature and children’s fiction from the University of Oregon, a master’s degree in American literature from the University of Portland and a doctorate in adult education from Oregon State University.
Pearson once was headmistress of a girls prep school in Virginia and was head of developmental education and an assistant to the president of Portland Community College. During the 1950s, she was a staff writer for the Oregon City Enterprise-Courier.
Pearson just put out a Daisy Coloring Book. And some day, she hopes to turn many of her favorite dog’s farm tales into CDs for children.
In the meantime, she says, she intends to keep answering letters to Daisy and offering occasional tours of Blackberry Hill Farm to schoolchildren or visiting families.
“In the past, I’ve usually tried to give each kid a ponyshoe — you know, like a horseshoe, only smaller for ponies — as a souvenir, if I have enough to go around,” she said. “Some city kids have never been on a farm before.”
To reach Daisy or Pearson, call 503-655-6466. For a subscription, write Blackberry Hill Farm, P.O. Box 1003, Canby, OR 97013.