Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sometimes, change happens

This is a difficult post for me to write.  For once, these days, it's not Lucky Nickel's turn to write.  This one is all mine.  It's about change, about decisions, about the course of life.  It's not all happy, but it's not all bad.  It's just a bumpy road sometimes.

As a number of you know, the relationship I had when I started out on Whispering Acres ended many months ago.  Some of you may not know that, but now you do!  For a long and awkward time, however, Kelly continued to live here on the farm, because he didn't have anywhere else to go and could not afford a place to live on his own.  He was supposed to be doing the animal care and taking care of the yard, etc, in return for free room and board.  Things declined, quickly, and the situation became intolerable.  Now, as of quite recently, that situation is also over.  You might be thinking this is one of the sad parts of this post, but really it isn't.  It is all for the best.  Without going into details, I shall just say it was fraught with problems and caused a tremendous amount of stress.  That too, now, is easing.

So, that has left me in a difficult situation - even though I only have 8.5 acres, I have a lot of animals and a lot on my plate.  I work full time, and I was in law school part time.  I said "was" because I made the really tough decision to withdraw for this semester.  Simply put, there is too much on my plate right now for me to continue.  So much change and so much anxiety is too much for school at the same time.  So, I withdrew from my classes about 2 weeks ago, and am still coming to terms with that decision.

I knew I had to reduce my flock numbers immediately, so I was both incredibly fortunate and tremendously relieved when the blue-faced Leicesters found a home at Grace Haven Acres in Wisconsin.  I know they will be well cared for there, and they will go on to produce happy little lambs to delight their new owners.  I hope to see them at future shows.

Now, the really sad part.  I have to sell Whispering Acres.  It's too much work for me along with everything else.  I'm heartsick but I know it's the right thing to do.  As a result, I also need to find homes for nearly all my animals.  I am hoping to keep Lucky Nickel, Marshmallow, and Stormy the llama.  It depends on where I end up.  I will keep those three until the last possible moment.  One thing I want to avoid, at all costs, is animal auctions.  I want good homes for my animals, where they will be loved and cared for.  That is part of the reason I am sharing these changes today.  I hope that by some chance, some twist of fate, there will be somebody that can help with a home, or has a friend who can provide a home, for at least one of my beloved flock/herd/menagerie.

Looking for homes are....
(I know I need more sheep pictures, I'll try to take some soon)
Bianca - a white unregistered full Icelandic ewe, probably about 4-5 years old.
Blizzard - a white unregistered full Icelandic wether, well tempered, probably also about 4-5 years old.
Flurry - a cinnamon (phaeomelanin) coloured unregistered Icelandic ewe with a poor bite (her teeth don't match up to her upper palate) but she had a lamb with no mouth problems.  She is 3-4 years old.
Poppy - a great mother - Rambouillet/Suffolk/Dorset mix ewe - I think also about 4-5 years old.  Mixed colours of black and white.
Cream Puff - white ewe, Poppy's daughter of last year, sired by Blizzard (before he was wethered) so she is 50% Icelandic and then has the Rambouillet/Suffok/Dorset mix genes.  Her ears have tan coloured tips.  She would probably throw coloured lambs.
MB - Marshmallow's Brother.  White, 1.5 years old, half Icelandic, remaining half unknown but possibly Polypay cross.  Has horns.  Fairly small sized wether.
Paddington - Poppy's ram lamb from this year, black, sired by Cragganmore, a black blue-faced Leicester ram.  He is really sweet so far.  He could be wethered easily but hasn't been yet.
Ferdinand - a black Shetland wether who is a real love-bug.  He loves chest rubs.  I may also take him with me because he's so sweet.  If he found the perfect home though, I could part with him.

Also three unnamed lambs from this year - one white ram lamb who is half BFL and two black ewe lambs who are half BFL.  Their sires are not known for sure, although I have my suspicions.

GOATS (all have horns unless otherwise stated)
Coffee - she's a mini-Nubian doe with good milk production.  She had twins this year and is a great mom.  She's black with a light underbelly and brown on her ears.  I think 3 years old.
Misky - Coffee's daughter sired by Val, the angora.  White.  Born in May 2010.
Larke - Coffee's daughter sired by Val, the angora.  White.  Born in May 2010.
Both Misky and Larke are in the picture below to the right of their mother, the two smaller white goats not inside the hut.
Lotus - Nigerian dwarf doe - tan with darker areas and an interesting white design on her side.  Good mother and good milk production.  About 3 years old.  Very sweet personality and easy to handle.  Picture here of Lotus with Horton.
Horton - Lotus' son from this year, wethered.  He is the son of Val the angora buck so he qualifies as a "Nigora" (which is like a pygora goat but from a Nigerian rather than a pygmy) and he is showing a nice fleece that is probably B or C type.  Easy to handle.
Opal - another Nigerian dwarf doe, VERY sweet natured.  I might take her also if I cannot find a home for her.
Valentino - Unregistered full Angora buck, intact.  Hunky!!  Loves head rubs.  White.
Osmo - Pygmy buck, black and white.  Had scurs but they are gone right now.  Might grow back but will likely keep falling off.  Sweet personality.  Very friendly.

Dolly - Dark brown and white female, registered, mother of Stormy.  Not extremely approachable but tolerates shearing.

Hazel - Dark brown solid female, moderately approachable.

Cabernet with Merlin - Cabernet had Merlin a few weeks ago as my regular readers know.  They cannot be separated for about 6 months so they have to go together.  Cab is cinnamon brownish/grey and has a few white patches.  Merlin is a male with a brown head and tail tip, otherwise white.  Growing well - much bigger now than in the picture below.
Kahlua - Intact cinnamon coloured male with a gorgeous fleece.  Could be wethered if desired.

My primary objective is to find GOOD homes.  I am aching at the thought of parting with my animals, but I know it is best for both them and for me.  I need to find a new place that I can handle on my own.  I need to find them the best homes I can.  If anyone can help, please let me know.

I also have a gaggle of ducks and a lot of chickens to part with.  Let me know if you are interested in those too.  If you are interested in a lovely 8.5 acre home in Iowa, let me know that too!

Nothing ever stays the same forever, and life throws us curves that we must navigate.  This is just the beginning of a change in direction for me.  While I am sad in many ways, I keep my thoughts tuned to what my next steps are, and what lies around the corner.  There is always light at the end of the tunnel.  Please send light my way if you feel so inclined - I certainly could use some.


Michelle said...

Claire, my stomach always twists at news like this; probably the child of divorce in me. You seem to have a great attitude and aren't a child, so you'll do great in moving forward with your life. I pray you can find a place to keep your very best friends with you, and hope you continue to blog.

angela said...

I am so sorry to hear your sad news.
You can only do what you can do! You are a human, not a super human. I hope all your furry family find perfect homes, and I hope you are able to find the perfect place for you.
blessings to you from accross the seas.

Millie said...

I am so sad for you, but I'm sure you will land on your feet. Anyone who has cared so much for her friends, has to have good things happen. We will send you loving thoughts. Blessings.

Tiggeriffic said...

My heart goes out to you as this makes me very sad. Reading this I just wish I could help you out, financially and physically. When God shuts a door he always opens another. You have a great attitude and you will move forward with your life. My prayers are with you in finding good homes for all your animals. prayers that gives you a good home to live in and keep the animals you want with you. prayers knowing that God is holding you in his arms and holding you close. Please keep blogging , I do enjoy reading it.

Cloverleaf Art and Fibre said...

Claire, we don't know each other, but I enjoy your writing, and I hope you will accept my best wishes as you navigate these winds of change. You are so wise to act before the animals feel the negative effects of the situation, and before you run yourself down any more. Courage, smooth sailing, safe arrivals, for all of you.

S said...

Hi Claire, Susan here from Manitoba....I saw on FB your post, so I thought I would say something. I haven't 'known' you for long at all, but I suspected with the pictures, and posts, that there were some things going on...I'm sorry to hear of your sad decision. You must know that although we have our path laid out before us that sometimes we need to turn right or left, follow a curve or two, that takes us away or off of our path. That doesn't mean you won't be following that road again one day. I say this because I have also taken some turns in my time, had to travel down a road that was not in front of me, thinking I wouldn't make it back....but you do, eventually, make it back. You are being strong right now, making that hard decision, and that is also part of the road you are to follow. I am glad for you that your parents were with you these last couple of weeks, I'm sure that brought you some peace and comfort. You will do what you need to, and you will succeed, and you will be happy in that. Anyway, just so you know - I would take some of your furry friends to care for if I were closer. Don't suppose sheep would travel well from Iowa to Manitoba? That fibre would go nicely with my llamas! Take care, Claire, and best of luck in find new owners for the fuzzies and for the farm.

Outstanding Stranger said...

Claire, I hope your transition is a smooth one. I always enjoyed seeing your baby critters. I hope they all find homes fast because I know each one will tugg at your heart strings. Be strong and brave in your new adventure and take care of number one..Anyone with a heart as big as yours will find happiness whatever you do, wherever go. Love Diane

Melanie said...

Hope everything works out for you... I've sure enjoyed your blog, I hope you keep it up no matter where you go

SweetMissDaisy (Anna Wight) said...

Awww, this makes me so sad! Sad for you ... sad for the animals who have come to know you as their shepherd. I wish you all the best, and as Michelle said, hope you continue to blog.

Nancy K. said...


I didn't see that coming!

It makes me sad.

I know you'll land on your feet, Claire. And I'm sure that you'll find good homes for your beloved animals. I can certainly understand the reasoning behind your decision. I often wonder if I shouldn't do the same. I just can't let go quite yet...

God Bless you and all your four legged friends!

You've brought us all many smiles and laughter and we're sending that light back to you ~ along with our prayers ~ now!

IsobelleGoLightly said...

My lady talked to me of this a lot, Claire. She says that what you are doing is what is best for you and as primary caregiver you have to take care of yourself. I hope that through all of your contacts you will be able to find nice, new homes for all of your lovely friends. I asked my lady if I could have my curly, whirly Valentino shipped to me in a big box but she said we don't have room for a buck here. I don't understand...he could sleep with me in my boudoir...woo woo. Many goat kisses to you.

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

Every path has puddles.

Major changes in your life. During these times such as these, even though I was sad, I also wondered what new, exciting things awaited me around the corner.

I was thinking about the animals, and I just bet that the folks that buy Whispering Pines may also be the type of people that would like a few farm animals to come along with the place, if so, that would be great for the animals.

And yes, wherever life takes you, sure hope you keep blogging and let us follow along.

Jayne Marie said...

Claire, I am really sorry to hear about your post. Have you checked with Neil or Matt R. to see if either of them would be interested in providing your animals a new home? I think both would be good to them. As for law school, you are still moving along in the program. You can graduate with me in December 2011!!! I would love to have my friend walk through ceremony with me. :) :) Please let me know if you want to grab a cup of coffee and talk. Take care!!! Jayne

taylorgirl6 said...


My thoughts are with you now, as they have been many times since I found your blog not long ago. Your journey has become my journey, your joy has made me smile and laugh, and your sadness has brought tears.

I am very proud of you. You have shown that you are strong, that you care for yourself (which not many can say they do), that the love you have for your animals is unselfish, and that you have faith in what the future brings. While this transition makes me sad, I find that I am inspired by you.

The chickens would like to add that their coop is your coop, and they're happy to fix you a nest any time you're traveling near the west coast.

Flartus said...

Oh Claire, I was so shocked to read about all these changes in your life! I do so wish I could take in some of your flock, or help you find homes for them. I had the same thought as Joanna; maybe prospective property buyers would be interested in a starter flock.

Don't feel guilty about stepping out of school; the guilt won't help you right now. Set yourself a date when you want to go back, and keep that promise to yourself. Then set that issue aside and deal with today.

Good luck to you, and I hope you can update us as you settle all these questions hanging in the air. Bon courage; je t'embrasse!

Blue Goose Farms said...

you are right. SOmetimes, change happens. I am sorry about this as well and I will try to let as many people know about your animals (that are good homes). PM me if you need anything 8)

fullfreezer said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear this. I don't live that far away (Iowa City) and would love to help you (my daughter really wants a goat or two) but I'm not sure we can talk my husband into it. He has been very firm on the NO Animals. Although I've been working on him for chickens. I'll have to see how it goes.
Take care of yourself and don't feel guilty for doing so. You've got a long road ahead of you. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

Mare said...

Dearest Claire...I didn't know you were going thru so much...And i know a little bit about what you are going thru from personal experience. I too have had to make some pretty difficult decisions because of the twists and turns in life, and i know you will be ok, and i know that only you can decide what is right for you now. Please know that you have friends out here who are praying for you and sending you Light, and Healing and Love. Please stay with us and talk to us. I say that selfishly as i would miss your posts very much...Claire you are such a loving, giving, magical person. I just know that many wonderful things are waiting for you around that bend. Do what you have to do so that you can get to where you are going next. Love, mare

angie said...

Hi Claire,

I'm sad for you having to give up your animals. If any of them are still left when I move (Mar 2012) I would be happy to give them a home.

Spinners End said...

Hi Claire,

I think you know from all these posts how many friends you have (even though some of us haven't met you in the flesh)- you can count on us being there for you if you need a shoulder to lean on, someone to listen to you rant or simply a friend to give you a hug. If you were closer I'd take Hazel for sure!

That said- I sent a bunch of VM polluted wool to Zeilengers to be processed into combed top. I was assured all of the VM would be gone when it was done and it takes 6-8 weeks to get it back. The washed wool I took in they made into roving for me- I had an appointment and they did it right then. I don't know about the acid bath- give them a call and ask they are pretty nice folks there! It was a relief for me to have all that wool made into something I could use or sell right away...


Paige Madison said...


I'm so sad that you have had to make this decision. I know you have to do what you have to do, but I'm still sad because I'm very attached vicariously to all your animals. I wish you the best in your search for good homes for your animals. I wish you the best as always and hope things turn around for you soon.


Anonymous said...

Claire, many blessings to you & your wonderful family. Love & Light from Jennifer & Marti

Jennifer said...

I am sorry to hear life has thrown some difficult changes and decisions your way. I can't imagine how hard letting the animals go is. I wish I lived closer, they are beautiful animals and I am sure you will be able to find great homes for them.

Texan said...

Claire, your animals are so pretty and I am sure you will be able to find homes for them. I wish I was close enough I could help you out with the chickens. We have been thinking of adding some here, and I realize that does you no good at all. :O)

You are right life changes all the time. We never know what is around the corner, but your attitude is a good one. You just keep moving and make the best possible decisions you can at the time with the information you have. Thats all any of us can do :O).

polly's path said...

oh, I feel the same way Michelle described, and I hope that you find the best homes for your babies, and close by so they don't have to stress over a move.
My heart aches as I read this, but I am sending all the light I can gather, your way.
Let me know if I can do anything from this far away.

Earthenwitch said...

I'm really sorry to hear your news, Claire. I wish I lived closer; lots of those gorgeous beasties would be very welcome here.

I was just thinking of you last night, as I finally got around to trying Kool Aid dyeing, with the supplies you so sweetly sent us a while back. I have some gorgeous orange roving now, so thank you once again!

Sending bright shiny thoughts your way, and hopes for re-homing that is easy and positive.

Earthenwitch said...

I'm really sorry to hear your news, Claire. I wish I lived closer; lots of those gorgeous beasties would be very welcome here.

I was just thinking of you last night, as I finally got around to trying Kool Aid dyeing, with the supplies you so sweetly sent us a while back. I have some gorgeous orange roving now, so thank you once again!

Sending bright shiny thoughts your way, and hopes for re-homing that is easy and positive.

Mare said...

Claire, i just stopped by to let you know i am thinking of you and hope things are looking brighter... Love, mare

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Awwww, I'm so very sorry with the troubles you are having to deal with, but you are not alone. Many of us have been through similar experiences. I'm still married, but my hubby's been laid off and have had trouble finding and keeping jobs over the past 2 years. The first thing I did was downsize our animals to a manageable level. I rehomed 2 goats and 2 sheep and now just have 3 goats, 2 llamas and my horse. Oh and the chickens. Anything more and we'd be over our limit to physically and financially take care of.

Hang in there. Life will improve when you simplify your life and find some peace.

Thinking of you,

Laurel said...

I am so sorry for your troubles. I recently went through a similar experience when my fiance and I went our separate ways. I am hanging on by a thread to school and the farm and am relying heavily on volunteers and working students.

You are courageous and forward-thinking to have chosen to rehome your animals before feeding and care were compromised. Many wait until too late and the results are tragic. Best of luck to you and best wishes for a brighter journey.

-A fellow Canadian

Catherine said...

Dear Claire - we used to visit via Dave's Garden and although I haven't been checking blogs much this year I always enjoyed reading about your farm family. I'm sad to hear that your situation has changed but I remember that you are a woman of great courage and strength. I know these changes will lead to a new adventure for you.

If you get to the point where you have a wether that needs a home, please contact me. I would have some room for chickens also.

My best to you on your new adventure and I hope all your animals have found good homes.