Saying Goodbye to The Keep

The Charm of Country Living

When I moved from a quarter-acre suburban lot in sunny Florida to a farm outside Memphis a few years ago, I traded worn-out flip-flops for boots. With all the farm chores, which at first included tending pigs, rabbits, and chickens, it didn’t take long to wear out the first pair so I headed to my new favorite store–Tractor Supply–for a second.

They may look spiffy in this photo, but it wasn’t long before they were as dusty-dirty as the first ones. So my third pair are heavy-duty black.

I seldom wear them anymore. Two of the pigs were sold and the other two ended up in the freezer. The rabbits and their offspring have gone to a new home. And the chickens–well, let’s just say the foxes and raccoons ate heartily. (The experience was so unnerving I doubt I’ll ever raise a chicken again.)

Years ago, while living in that Florida suburb, I got a strange whim I never expected to come true.

I wanted an alpaca.

In a strange turn of events, God gave me not just one but an entire herd. Yes, my friend, even pipe dreams come true sometime.

During this season of my life, I’ve done things I’ve never done before. Like watch a newborn alpaca take her first steps, surprise a fox that was a little too close for comfort, and shoved one of those huge pigs into a dog crate all by myself.

We won’t talk about the deer leg one of the dogs brought into the house.

But this amazing, enriching, exhausting, incredible roller coaster of a season is coming to an end.

Next week Griff, Rugby, and I will be leaving this place I’ve come to love and returning to the Sunshine State.

Another place I love.

Baby Chicks, Hungry Alpacas, and More


I unloaded the hay, but the alpaca couldn’t resist nibbling on the stray pieces.


Brienne escaped her cage so now she’s roaming around the greenhouse tables.


On this wintry day, two roosters prefer tree branches over the cold ground.


Newly hatched baby chicks in the incubator.


Winter dangles hay from his mouth like it’s a toothpick.

Alpaca Fall Fashion and More!

A Few Photos from The Keep

Winter sports an autumn leaf

 Winter sports this season’s latest fashion–a fallen leaf on his nose.

Sheldon the Guinea

Sheldon the guinea pretends to inspect the fan,
but he’s really interested in the
bucket of rabbit food just out of camera range..

Goldie's baby chick

One of Goldie’s nine baby chicks.
This little family lives in a water tank in the Quonset hut.
(A water tank lined with hay–not water!)

New work gloves

My new work gloves.
They’re warm and cozy, but too thick for dexterity.
Guess I’ll stick with the old ones for now.