Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Starting a New Decade

So much happened in the last decade...
I lost my sister, Kathleen, my brothers Mike and Pete, 
my stepson, Brandon, and my husband Keith. 
So many losses, but I am still blessed to be here and 
be in good health and be able to get around and stay active. 

I like to think these were still happy years, despite the loss. 
Keith and I moved away from Calamity Acres in 2014, as he grew 
more ill,  
but I came back in the fall of 2017 (we rented the house out). 
It was rehabbed and is a cozy, comfortable home for me, 
the dogs and the critters. 

So, let's look at what is now "last year". 

We'll start in January. 

Lilly Ann was aging, and her body had started changing, see how her 
legs were bowed out? 

Also, see all the chicken poop on the porch?  That was going to go away. 

I still had three of my original four big Pekins. 

Yes, they swam all winter. 

In February...

We had some warmish days, and some of the snakes woke up! 

And that month, there were only two sheep in the pasture, Fluffy, on the right, 
and Flicka, on the left.  Faithful Lilly Ann was guarding them. 

On February 13th, I got a bucket of eggs!  Right now, I am blessed to get two or three a day, 
but the hens are all getting old. 

On the 16th, with cold and snow outside, I had a surprise in the sheep barn!

More snow in March...

I love tracks in the snow. 

On the 11th, Cookie was wethered. 

Dr. LaRosh has since retired. 

In April, I had a real surprise! 

Fluffy was a lamb when she came here with the boarded sheep two 
years ago.  There was a ram lamb in with them, but I honestly never 
saw him breed her, and did not have a clue that she was pregnant. 
She presented me with Niblet on April 2nd. 

By mid-April, spring was on the way. 

In May...

I planted one of the big planters on my deck with lettuce, and it took off! 

And saw one of my favorite groups, Little River Band, for 
the fifth or sixth time.... (Colin Whinnery)... I know they are 
not the original Australian band... but if you ever have a chance to 
see these guys .... GO. 

May 14, one of the hardest days of my life... My beloved Lilly Ann crossed the Rainbow Bridge. She had spent her whole life with me, it was so hard to let her go. 

In June...

In June, the poultry was rapidly wearing out their welcome on the deck and porch. 
Folks, chickens (and ducks) are dirty, there are no two ways about it.  I have kept them 
for many years, but they are dirty.  I had to wash the porch off every single day, 
and use a shovel to shovel off the poop. 
It was onerous.  

The fun of watching them was not equal to the job of cleaning up after them. 
I had cross-fenced the yard in March, and it was rapidly becoming time to 
fence them up. 

We had some spectacular evenings. 

In July....

these were coming along. 

And I was privileged to have the time to take 
my two grands on the left (and their cousins to the right) to the pool this summer...

In August....

(Sorry, couldn't resist) 

And this happened, our wonderful Fritzi came in to Jester's and my lives, and we were so glad. 

She is just our little doll, thank you again, Bonner Animal Rescue.

In September...

I made a decision to re-home Duckie and the Duckertons. 
I love ducks.... but I was having trouble taking care of them 
as I felt I needed to.... they were rehomed to a women 
with duck experience and a pond, and the young layers and 
their rooster went to a new home, too. 

It was very hard to let Duckie go, let me tell you. 
He was the duck with personality!

We had a beautiful late summer. 

And I watched some fall baseball...

On the 28th, I saw another favorite band...

Toto, at the Uptown theater. with a horrid rainstorm 
as we came out of the venue.... What a ride home! 
(that's Steve Lukather and Joe Williams)

In October....

Granddaughter Paiton celebrated her birthday with a riding lesson. 

In early November, I caught a glimpse of my favorite maple tree 
down beyond my neighbor's pond. 

And we began preparing in earnest for "Santa's Express" at the National Agricultural Center, where I have volunteered for five years now. 

Jester was never far from me.  He is the pluckiest little dog, 
and I am so glad to have him. 


Penning the chickens on the far side of the yard was a great decision. 
No more nastiness tracked into the house... hardly any flies. 

Of course Singleton, who was living at the Ag Hall, 
is home for the winter, and every morning, chases his daddy 
Ferdinand out of the enclosure...

and Ferdie now lives by the deck, porch and side of the house 
during the day, with one little red hen.  

I am dealing with small amounts of poop again. 

When Singleton and his girls go back to the Ag in the spring, 
Ferdie will move into the old hen house with his little hen. 

We had a wonderful Santa event at the National Agricultural Center, despite the fact we had a near-blizzard on the second day.  Santa was there, and 50 or so hardy people came through the storm to see him, do crafts, and have some hot chocolate and cookies. 

I built Gnomelandia in my spare bedroom, because great-granddaughter Maci 
was coming for the first time. 

I had so much fun doing this, and am going to improve it next year. 

The dogs and I had our Christmas picture taken.

When family came for Christmas. 

And finally....

The Reason for the Season. 

And so it comes to an end, the year and the decade. 

Like I said, I am so blessed to live where I do, 
to enjoy the fauna and flora (a lot of fauna), 
to have two faithful and loving little dogs, 
and an array of critters coming during the night 
to keep things lively. 

I want to thank everyone for reading this and reading 
for the last ten years about my humble life. 

I so enjoy sharing aspects of it with you. 

Here's to a great new decade for all of us!


  1. Mary Ann, that's a wonderful picture of you with Jester and Fritzi! And Jester is smiling! You look really good but I know that you are missing Lilly this Christmas. This was our second Christmas without our dear Otis and Milo and it still hurts terribly, even though we have our dear BreeBree and James Mason now. You have been through so much in this past decade. RH lost his brother and sister in the last year and then recently his other brother's wife passed away suddenly. These things can make me feel some fear at 2 a.m. but each morning I greet the new day thankful for it and my loved ones. I'm glad that you are trying to make your farm chores a little easier on yourself now.

    Gnomelandia! Wherever did you think of that? I bet the kids love seeing it!

    Always, my best wishes to you, Mary Ann,

  2. It was clearly a good year for you.
    I wish I could remember the exact quote, but I just finished a book and a line went something like this "grief is a kindness as it shows you how much you have loved."

    May 2020 and the new decade give you lots of love.

  3. Love the recap of your decade. Lots of sadness but God is faithful and sees us through. I can’t tell how much I love reading your stories and seeing what’s going on at Calamity Acres! May God continue to bless and watch over you in the coming years. ❤️

  4. Love seeing your posts everyday. I so look forward to see what's happening. The pain we go through makes the smallest things seem more important and sometimes just beautiful. I so envy your Calamity Acres. I hope this next year is full of peace and love. Angels of God, our Guardians dear, to whom God's love commits us here, ever this year be at our sides, to light and guard, and rule and guide. My prayer for us every day.

  5. Happy New Year from Joyce in Iola

  6. It was an eventful decade! I enjoy reading about your little homestead. Happy New Year, Mary Ann!

  7. You look great in the picture Mary Ann. I'm so sorry for all your losses. A part of life we don't want. May this year be everything you want.

  8. MaryAnn, thanks for sharing your memories! Happy New Year to you!

  9. Lovely photos and memories - Happy New Year :-)

  10. What a year! Cheers to the new one :-D.

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