Carrie Basile walks out of a pen after feeding three goats Wednesday at Misfit Farm in Somerville. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

SOMERVILLE — For six years, Carrie Basile has been shouldering the responsibility of caring for animals in need at Misfit Farm.

But since the pandemic hit, Basile has had to make many sacrifices in order to deal with financial losses and keep the farm running.

On July 25, she started a fundraiser on GoFundMe; at noontime Sunday, $1,700, well over half of the $3,000 goal, had been raised.

Basile started the farm in 2015 when she and her husband Kenny lived in Acton, over two hours south of the farm’s current Somerville location.

It all began with a wandering goat.

“I would see him walking on the road,” said Basile. “I put a note on the family’s door and said the goat was about to eat a poisonous plant, and that I took him home to a shelter. They ended up being happy about it.”

From there, Misfit Farm grew through word of mouth.

“I was just taking animals in and giving them a forever home,” she said.

Basile said her husband helps fund the farm, and that she also sells wreaths to raise money.

“My husband was working 60 hours a week, which is how we pay the bills,” she said. “We don’t have cable TV or internet, and I sold my vehicle so we don’t have car payments.

“People ask me how we do it, and it’s because we don’t have all the bills that most people have,” Basile added. “I don’t get my hair done. I don’t go out to eat. We have a mortgage payment, and we have our animals.”

But once the pandemic hit, Basile said her husband was no longer able to work overtime at his construction job.

“His overtime equaled an extra $600 a week,” she said, “so suddenly the paychecks went down substantially. He thought he was going to get his overtime back. He kept asking his boss, and they just stopped answering him, and we’re still without that overtime.”

Cows eat their afternoon hay Wednesday at Misfit Farm in Somerville. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The farm currently houses 87 animals, including 38 goats, two donkeys, four cows, 12 ducks, three chickens, four sheep, and several cats, each with their own needs.

“I have a pig that is close to 1,000 pounds,” said Basile. “Nobody in this world is going to keep this pig as a pet, but the previous owners fell in love with her and just couldn’t send her to slaughter. I have goats that have been bullied. I have a donkey that’s been abused. Every animal here has a story.”

She said that while it was never easy taking care of so many animals, they’ve been seriously struggling since her husband stopped receiving overtime pay. Then things got worse.

This past January, Basile fell and broke two bones in her ankle while Kenny was at work.

“I didn’t know I broke my bones, but I knew it hurt real bad and I had five more hours of feeding,” she said. “So I worked on my broken bones, which apparently made them worse.”

For a brief time afterward, Basile had to wear an orthopedic boot. Her husband used his vacation time to help out on the farm while she healed.

“I still went out with the boot on,” she said. “I’m the one that feeds the animals, but he helps with tractor stuff, and he helps with building things on the farm like fences.”

Carrie Basile changes water for goats in a barn lit with strings of holiday lights Wednesday at Misfit Farm animal sanctuary in Somerville. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

And despite the hardships, Basile says she doesn’t use volunteer help when it comes to taking care of the animals.

“I’ll take volunteers if we’re doing an event or if I have something going on,” she said, “but when it comes to taking care of animals, feeding them, being around them all day, that’s kind of my time with them.”

Basile said just feeding her menagerie takes up to eight hours. She estimates that she spends about 12 hours a day outside working with the animals.

One of the goats waits to be fed Wednesday at Misfit Farm in Somerville. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Despite dealing with the loss of $600 a week, she hasn’t made any cuts that would affect her critters. This winter the Basiles ran out of dry wood for their wood stove, and went without oil heat for their home.

“It sucked,” said Carrie Basile. “My husband was working all day and I’d be out taking care of animals. It was freezing out, and I’d put on a little space heater and have a heating pad on my lap with a blanket over me.”

They even made cuts to their own food budget.

“We went from having regular food to having crappier food, like a box of mac and cheese,” Basile said, “and I’m OK with that.”

She said the price of materials also increased.

“We had a drought last year and the cost of hay went from $3.50 a bale to $8, and then $13 a bale,” Basile said. “I’d never seen prices go so drastically high.”

Wood, which is needed for fencing and shelters, suddenly also cost a lot more.

“When we started getting plywood it was $7.22 for a piece,” she said. “We just went and looked and it’s like $45 for the same piece.”

On the plus side, since starting the fundraiser, Basile has received a great deal of positive feedback from the community.

“I forget that there are people that have our backs,” she said. “This fundraiser is exactly what we needed to get things caught up.”


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