Monday, March 3, 2014

Why We Are Leaving Calamity Acres

My Very Dear Friends, for I feel you are 
all my friends, though few of us have met. 

Keith and I will be leaving our beloved Calamity Acres this spring. 

I have hesitated to write about it, though I have known now for almost a month. 

You see, it has become too much, and my body is telling me it's time. 

Keith has had medical problems for the last year, and we found out 
in October that he has kidney disease.  Really, for a year, he has not been able to do anything outside, so I have done it.  Sometimes, my grandson was able to come and help, but mostly, it was I.  
This winter has been very hard on me... I fell on Friday and tore my knee up, and 
yesterday, fell in the old henhouse, and narrowly missed hitting my head on 
a concrete block on the floor.  I was trying (stupidly) to put a heavy 
metal water fountain up on the closet for the poor birds who 
have not come down in days.  Instead, I landed in the starling poop and nasty 
bedding in there.  
I realized, laying there, that it was stupid of me to keep risking life and limb. 

These were the third and fourth times I have fallen this winter. 

If I were like certain other "farmers" I know around here, I would ignore the 
needs of the animals and go out once a day to water them, but I have never been made like that.  I take warm water out multiple times.  

This is very hard on my body, and I have been having traction on my back these last few weeks.  

Today, it was below zero when we got up.  I have to take one load out, then come back and warm my hands before going again.  In years past, we were able to run a heated trough for the bigger animals and the water fowl, but our plugs are all but one dead in the old henhouse now.  The eaves were repaired last year, and one has come open again, and the starlings know how to get in there, so it is a losing battle.  In fact, when I finish this post, I'll be going out again to take warm water and bring in the nasty fountains.

If I have one huge regret... it is that we did not start with goats nine years ago, but waited so long.  Friends, I cannot recommend them enough... they are like big dogs, and you would love them if you were around them.  I will miss them terribly. 

We are trying to rehome everyone, but have had absolutely NO luck so far.  We are in the worst part of winter, when everyone is tired of caring for their animals.  I have had an offer from a friend to take the three girl goats, but not the wether, and I can't do that.  Another man wanted to buy two of them to stake out on his place to eat weeds this summer.  I don't want mine on a leash, prey to any roving dogs or coyotes.  

I am going to try again next week, and use Craigslist, which I have hesitated to do.  I actually tried to donate them to the 4H Goat project, with no success. 

The place where we are moving is on one acre... and the house is larger. 
We will be working on this house to get it ready to sell... it needs much work... so our plan is to move, and then I will come here daily and work on the house, and take care of the animals, until they are re-homed. 

This is not an easy decision.  When we moved here, we thought it was forever. We have much money and 
countless hours invested in our gardens here, and the infrustructure, much of which Keith built himself.  He did all the cross fencing, as well.  We are praying that some family who wants a smallholding will see this place, buy it, and love it as we do. 

Our beloved former pets lay here, as well... and we will be leaving them. 

This week we go to Houston, for a family reunion for the Yoders.  Keith will drive 
down on Wednesday, and I will fly on Friday, coming back on Sunday afternoon, all planned before we ever dreamed we would be moving.  Grandson Chris will be here from Garnett on Wednesday, and will watch the place for us, and also get some sorting done in the outbuildings.  We were told by an auctioneer that we don't have enough for an auction... but we know our outbuildings are stocked with useful stuff for farm and garden... and hope to have a big barn sale and get rid of most of it.  

The greenhouse components we bought last year will be Craigslisted, too. 

At the new house, there are NO gardens.  In the front, there are some spindly bushes... but not one tree or garden other than blades of grass in the whole yard.  I hope to start working on building new beds this summer... for flowers... and we will grow only tomatoes and maybe lettuce at the new place.  

I also plan to take a few chickens... maybe four to six.... Keith will laugh when he reads this because the number keeps going up. 

We will still feed the wild birds... but not on an open feeder!  No starlings are to follow us!!!!

(laughing at that, they are out there again this morning). 

I won't post any pictures today, because I have been dreading writing this whole post for weeks.  I was encouraged to do so by two blogging friends who know about our move... in hopes that someone will be looking for (free) hens for their flocks.  

Now, I'm going to put my coat and boots on and go out in the sunny TEN degree day and take some warm water out.  The ducks are not happy... the birds are not happy... the goats marginally so. 
I know many of you are struggling as we are here, and I keep reading on Facebook of baby goats dying in the cold... it is the most disheartening winter I can remember. 

I am trying to remember daily that when God closes a door, He opens a window for us... and that is what keeps me going. 

I will continue to blog about things here until the move... and 
then possibly, blog about starting over at the new place if anyone is interested in hearing about it.  I have always blogged as a record for what is going on in our lives here... and I am so grateful that I did, because we can look back now over the years and see Brandon, see our pets, our big animals, and our beautiful flowers as they were. 

Thank you all for all your words of encourgement to me, you have no idea how much I treasure them. 


  1. oh mary ann, i am sorry to hear this as i know how hard it will be for you to part with your pets. but, it is always very smart to know when to call it quits. it has been such a rough winter and maybe that nudged you into this move and thus a good thing. i do so hope you continue to blog. it will be fun to follow your progress on the new place. i hope you leave the snakes behind too! joyce

  2. Hi Mary Ann...Would you email please...

  3. Oh course you will continue to blog because you will have NEW stories to tell, in just a different way....I had to laugh about the snake comment, cos I will be glad that you will be leaving them all behind. I say a prayer that someone will see your farm animals and give them a good home. We are beside you all the way!
    stella rose and momma

  4. I once gave up what I considered my way of life, and it's not an easy thing to do. I hope your new location provides you with an equally happy way of life. I'll be praying for you.

  5. I'm so sorry to hear this, Mary Ann! I know how much you love your animals, and your Calamity Acres! I hope you can find good homes for your animals...certainly some one will be interested, I'm sure! Please do keep blogging...we want to know how you and Keith are doing, and would love to hear how you make the new place your own! Hugs!

  6. Oh Mary Ann,
    Please keep writing if I may we enjoy your writings. Sorry to hear of your plight but I would offer that if you can't find a proper home for your critters email me at and we shall see what we can do.....hang in please be careful!

  7. I know this was a hard decision for you, but the right one - Keith's health and your health is what is most important, and I know you'll find loving homes for the animals - somehow things always work out!

  8. I wish you all the best, not an easy decision but I look forward to your blog about the new place. Sometimes things do get a little to much and you need time to look after yourself as well. New beginnings xx

  9. So sorry to hear this, but we all know that to everything there is a time and season ... You will enjoy the next season too, because you are always so happy about whatever you are doing. Best wishes.

  10. I hope you find homes for your goats. Maybe check with some 4-H clubs , they may be able to get the word out. Good luck in your new home!!

  11. I want you to keep blogging because each post is as a letter from a friend. It matters not the topic, because friends care about it ALL. (HUGS)

  12. Mary Ann,

    (((((Mary Ann))))) & (((((Keith))))) sending hugs to you both. I know this was a hard decision for both of you. You have to do what's good for the both of you and your health. A new door has opened, and your current place will find new residents in time. Keeping you both in my prayers and close to my heart.

  13. I can certainly understand the need to scale down. It is so much work to keep animals happy and healthy, and you go far beyond what most people do. I certainly hope you keep blogging about your next adventure. I look forward to seeing that house and the gardens you will nurture.

  14. I am so sorry to hear you have faced such a difficult and heart wrenching decision. But, having a farm of my own, I do know the amount of work you have had to do on a regular basis and it is not for the weary. I think under the circumstances you have made the right decision, and in time you will find a balance that works well for you. Taking some chickens is a great idea, as you will still be able to do some homesteading and enjoy the outdoors. If I lived closer I would take all of your goats and chickens, we have plenty of room.

    I look forward to updates on your new home and a new beginning for you and your husband.

  15. Mary Anne, I am sorry to hear of this! I only hope that you will keep on blogging about the life in the new place. Hasving recently had to do the same thing, perhaps we can learn from each other. It is hard when health issues send us back a step or two. The placard on our wall reads "When God closes one door, He opens another". I have not heard the one about opening a window, but I feel it is easier to open the door rather than crawl through a window. Walk through the door. You have been an inspiration to a lot of us! I, personally would like to lay a thumping on the person that referred to these as "The Golden Years"!

    Hang in there, we really do care!

  16. Mary Ann, you know I am pulling for you and Keith. Please keep on blogging. We all care and want to share your new life with you. You will find homes for your babies. Take care of yourself. Surely spring will be here soon!

  17. I'm so sorry to hear this! It seems that problems abound for many blogging friends this winter. We will sure keep you in our prayers; may you have the health and strength to start again at the new place and keep blogging.
    Ray in Tennessee

  18. I am sorry to hear of your trials and tribulations, Mary Ann. Your blog is one that I look forward to each day and I, too, hope you will continue to blog at your new place. Best of luck in finding new homes for your babies. I hope your health problems recede into the past when you have moved and are able to rest a bit.

  19. I am so sorry. We will miss you, but your health is more important. Thank you for making us smile
    Lily & Edward

  20. Hope you have an enjoyable time at the family reunion. Maybe it will be warm when you come home! Things will work out and you will find new homes for your animals. I too urge that you not give up blogging. You have a gift for writing and we'd all like to share your new adventure.

  21. I know this must have been so hard to write as it is hard to give up a home that you've put so much time and love into. I'll pray that you find new homes for the animals and that your move will go smoothly. I do hope you'll continue blogging and tell us all about your new home and life. I pray that the health issues will get better, too. Take care and stay in touch with us!

  22. My parents and I once had a conversation about their living in a very small town a half hour from anywhere and an hour from any medical facility. I told them they needed to re-evaluate their situation periodically. However, I knew in my heart that my father would only leave feet first (and he did). My mother did not drive and 3 months later we moved her to my sister's home. The property and most of their possessions were eventually sold.

    I know how hard it will be to leave your home and little farm. We would love to hear how the two of you are doing, the big changes ahead and that new house and little garden ;)

  23. W know this has been a hard decision for you and Keith,,, but please know someone will move it to this Calamity Acres and love it as much as you both do.
    It will be perfect for someone,, New memories for the new family.
    And you will make new memories in your new home!
    And yes,, we want you to keep blogging, because we are all family and care about each other- and we want to know how each other is.
    We have loved you and will continue on

  24. Mary Ann I have worried so much about you going out all the time in that freezing cold with water for the animals, and falling, and your toes freezing. You are making the right decision, difficult as it is. I hope you find good homes for all the animals -- especially the goats who truly are like dogs. Sending you a big hug. This must be so difficult.

  25. Oh, I'm so sorry to hear this. I have 5 horses to care for and I'd like to retire in two years, but that may not be possible. I'll keep working as long as I can (I'm 62...) just so that I can feed them!
    Cheryl Ann

  26. I am very sorry to hear this Mary Ann. No doubt it has been a very hard decision, but the right ones are always hard. Good luck for the future and hope Kieth fares well.

  27. Dear Mary Ann & Keith, we're sad to hear your news, our hearts are heavy as we know how hard this decision must be. The most important thing is to stay healthy and enjoy each other. The winter has been terrible, you have persevered long and hard, no one could doubt this is a sensible decision. We agree with everyone else that you must keep blogging if you can, new adventures and journeys await, as one door closes another opens. With warm hugs for you all xxx

  28. That had to have been a very hard decision for you both to make. But as you say when one door closes another always opens. It is going to be very hard for you to make the move, but it does sound necessary and needed. I do hope you continue to blog after your move. Prayers will be said for a smooth transition for you and the animals too.

  29. I know this is hard, but you must make decisions that lead to enjoying your life, you have both worked long and hard. I have hopes that a reader may be interested in the animals.

  30. Mary Ann, I know what a hard decision this must have been. I wish you all the best of luck in the world. Please keep writing! I'd love to know what you're up to.

    Only the best for both of you.

  31. Great post and the same goes here as it did in our email.

    Ken and I wish you the best! I know you will enjoy your
    new place.

    Of course, we want to here about your new adventures so
    keep on posting!

    M : )

  32. Thinking of you, Mary Ann, and applauding your wisdom. I'll be praying that everything goes well with the move and new homes for the dear animals. And please take care of yourself!

  33. Oh Mary Ann, I will miss your goaty posts. I can understand why you must move on , animals are wonderful but there is a certain kind of responsibility that goes with having them and it can be exhausting , particularly if you do not feel up to it.You will find lovely homes for your animals and you will feel so much happier at your new home . I am secretly hoping you will keep blogging though .You can come and visit my blog to see how the goats are going ..I will share them with you across the world. xxx

  34. It is not an end but a beginning.

    I will be reading. This is just another sequel to your life. Enjoy.

  35. I know it has been a hard decision for ya'll. Once everything has quieted down, you'll have no regrets. Take care, I'm thinking of both of you.


  36. Oh Mary Ann, I'm so sorry to read this. I sincerely hope everything works out. I hope you find good homes for the critters. I'm not a fan of Craigslist either but maybe, just maybe, it will be the thing you need. Hugs to both of you.

  37. Oh MaryAnn - what a hard decision. I've followed you since before u retired.... And since retiring you've worked harder then ever. Since we are the same age-retired the same time- I've admired but wondered how you've done so much. It seems like when we can finally retire and do the things we always wanted to spend more time on- we aren't as strong and healthy as we were- but it's all new - different adventures. Prayers for Keith's healthy and your own safety around the farm. Best wishes and Blessings to you both and your animals......
    Fondly, Rain

  38. So sorry I missed this post!! Thank you for your email and I will answer it tomorrow when I am on a real computer. I am excited for you and know you area king the RIGHT decision. Silly girl, we love YOU, not your farm blog. We will follow you wherever you go and whatever you do.


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