Another Chance Acres was the name of our farm. We do actually own a piece of dirt in Troy, Maine–in fact, that’s the header picture! … and planned to move onto it in the Spring of 2014. That land is now for sale. We did have a cat named Samuel, aka Samzilla!, but had to rehome him after he peed on my bed … twice … and we did have an Australian Shepherd named Rosebud, who we had to rehome with my sister on her farm so she’d have a chance to run around and play and be her energetic self without knocking me to the ground in her exuberance … and our garden was 4’x16′ of raised beds attached to the edge of the deck on our mobile home in a mobile home community, aka a trailer park–but there’s nothing planted there this year. We did have plans and dreams, and still do, though they have changed a lot since then.
Another Chance Acres is still yet another chance for us, both in our mid-50’s, to feel productive and purposeful in our lives. Feeding people has always been important to me. Feeding people good, healthy food is even better! The farm was also another chance for animal breeds that are in danger of disappearing, or recovering from that danger. We had hoped to be able to offer another chance to teens who’ve had a rough time of it and need to turn their lives around in order to feel valuable. That’s beyond us at this point.
We planned to start with a milk cow, ideally a Jersey/Dexter cross so there’d be enough cream for butter and enough milk for us & cheese & feeding other critters & fertilizing the land, in an animal with hybrid vigor. A few laying hens were to join us right away, too!
After that, we wanted to raise Dexter cattle as a dual-purpose breed–for beef and for milk, and possibly train up a few steers as oxen. They’re a small breed of cattle and relatively docile & easier to handle than the larger breeds, producing gourmet-quality beef in smaller serving sizes for today’s smaller families. They’re also on in the “Recovering” category in the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, and we wanted to support that effort in all of our chosen breeds.
While we planned to start with whatever layers we can get locally, we anticipated adding the breed of our choice for long-term life with us–Buff Orpingtons. Eric and I have each raised them before and loved them! They’re wonderful to work with, lay all year long, and produce a tasty, meaty carcass. For pigs, we were leaning towards the Mulefoot hogs, which are on the endangered list and are listed as good, calm mothers, with good meat & lard & hams. Let’s not forget the rabbits! We considered the Giant Chinchilla, for meat and for pelts, but hadn’t ruled anything out.
In the meantime, as a way of getting started on actually DOING something about our hopes and dreams, we started this website. We figured that, as more life was added to our lives, the site would grow. For the beginning, it was to be mostly hopes and dreams and “Mussings” (Eric’s take on “musings,” because life is messy and as I say, “Messy food is good food!”) and recipes. And yes, the recipes are apt to be messy!
Today, things have changed.
Another Chance Acres is taking a turn. I haven’t written here in quite some time. I had 3 heart attacks in less than 2 months from the tail end of February to the beginning of April 2014 and wound up with severe congestive heart failure. It seems that nobody thought I’d survive a year. I was in hospice care. I passed out and fell down and, because I’d gotten really dizzy and crossed my feet in preparation for sitting down on the spot but went down before I could sit, my right ankle plowed through my left foot, breaking 4 bones. I went to the other hospital in town, and had a cardiologist bouncing off the walls demanding to know why I didn’t already have a pacemaker/ICD. By the time a week had passed, my foot was pinned together and I had a CRT-D implanted. I think it’s helped.
More than two years later, I’m still alive. Eric had a massive stroke about a year after my heart went stupid. He’s pretty much paralyzed on his right side and has very, very little speech capability, but he does seem to understand most of what’s going on and what I say, and he is able to mostly take care of his own personal needs. I am thankful.
The land that we bought, intending to farm Another Chance Acres, is up for sale. We’ll not be able to move to Maine and run the farm which we had envisioned, dreamed of, and planned for. Another Chance Acres is taking a turn in the road. We’re not eliminating all possibility of ever farming, but if we do, it’ll be on a smaller piece of dirt and on a smaller scale, and definitely with help. Instead of a farm at this point, what I’m sharing is another chance for us to thrive. It’s another chance for me to grow and to become and to give whatever I can, to whoever is willing to accept it.
For most of my life, I’ve done what I could to help encourage folks and to help them see from new and different perspectives, that they may grow and thrive. I used those skills when I was a pastor, and now I will use those skills as a Life Coach. In addition, Yesterday morning, May 18, 2016, I’ve felt God’s promptings for me to write THIS PARTICULAR book: Love Wrapped Up in a Body. Between the two, this IS my “Another Chance.” Another chance to live and to give, for however long that lasts.
We send out our love to all who spend time on our pages and hope that we bring joy to your life.