As you know, two needy lambs came to live with us about ten days ago. Each one is a twin, but they are not a set of twins — their moms favored the other twin and ignored these girls, so they came to live with us.

Right from the start, they had very different personalities. Lana (on the left) is quiet, shy, and a bit more skittish. She likes to be cuddled, and will rub noses, but doesn’t like strangers at all. Hila (on the right) is loud, loves her people, loves to cuddle, and runs and jumps like crazy. A new person is a potential new friend or source of warm milk.

But the funny thing is that within hours of coming home with us, they were the best of friends. They play together, eat together, sleep together. If one goes running across the house, the other is right behind. When we take them down to their pen at night, Hila cries with sadness until she is back with Lana. They are best friends.

Again, as I wrote about in the recent grief, animals teach us a lot about emotion. These two are friends, buddies, companions. They look after each other, snuggle for warmth when it’s cold, and entertain each other.

And we are so very fortunate to be able to take part in their friendship!

Please vote!

Kris Francoeur
Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude is up for an Author Academy Award for best memoir of 2019 — I hope you will go and vote for it. 
NOTE: you will need to use the arrows to go to page 9 of the nominees (for the Memoirs nominated) — and scroll down until you see the cover photo. Please note, if you tap on another book, that will count as your vote, so please scroll carefully!!!!

I am an author, and a lot of other things too…



I am an author. And an educator. And a wife, mother, daughter, grandmother, aunt, cousin, daughter-in-law, friend, farmer, knitter, spinner, and baker of great chocolate chip cookies.

For some of you, you have come to reading my posts fairly recently. So here’s the back story. I always have stories running around in my head. Sometimes the idea for a novel comes to me from something I see or read, sometimes from a dream, sometimes just pops into my head. Once a main character or characters start to develop, the story just keeps growing in my head, and I eventually sit down and write it all out. There are many times that characters take the story in directions that I didn’t expect or want, but it seems like they take on a life of their own.

For many years, I wrote romance stories. I tried to make them into novels, submitted them, got rejected a lot, and kept trying. That was the key — to keep trying! My family always believed that I would get published — how lucky I am to have that constant support. Finally, after Sam died, I got serious about my writing, and hired a great editor to help me polish my work. And then I submitted it again, and got a publishing contract! And another, and another.


Then I started working on my book about grief. Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude was not as fun to write as the novels, but it was both a truly self-reflective process, and somewhat healing.  And I got a publishing contract on that one too!

OGG Cover Image Final

So now I am continuing to write fiction, while also working on a journal system for pre-teens and a non-fiction piece about living your life in balance. We’ll see what happens with those books!

All of the other things I am (wife, mother, educator, farmer, etc.) all come into all I do as a writer, all of them make my life rich and meaningful.

Who/what are you? How does it impact your life and your dreams?

Who am I?

This week has been a fascinating combination of shifting identities. Over the weekend? Daughter, daughter-in-law, and sheep mommy were at the forefront. Monday? Spending time with our oldest and youngest, while balancing sheep parenthood. Yesterday? Sheep and a talk to the Addison County Substance Use & Abuse Prevention Committee (website). Today? Started the day with hungry lambs — really, really hungry lambs. Then spoke to the Middlebury Rotary Club. What an amazing group they are, and they had the best questions! Then home, to gather furniture donations to give to one of our local support agencies, junk to go to the transfer station, and sheep time. Lots of sheep time. Now some writing time before chores and lamb feeding.

Yes, I have changed my clothes from barn to professional at least 100 times in the last few days. I have washed my hands at least 1000 times, and it is all worth it!




Grief, shared grief

Late last week, we had to say good-bye to our beloved Kahuna. No matter how hard we tried, how hard the vet tried, or how hard Ellsbury tried to help him, his injury was too severe for him to fight through it. Four rounds of “alpaca physical therapy” daily, meds to make him more comfortable, favorite foods, a warm barn, it just wasn’t enough to save him. When he stopped eating and drinking, we knew we had lost the battle to save him, which broke our hearts.

As the time came for him to transition to his next phase of existence, Ellsbury came and stood next to him, with us, as the vet did what needed to be done. He made the most beautiful soothing sounds, as if telling Kahuna it was okay to go.

After Kahuna passed, Ellsbury cried, actually cried. He made a keening sound over and over, and then sat with Kahuna’s body until we removed it. For the rest of the day, Ellsbury walked the fence line of the pen, calling out, as if begging his friend to come back. That night, he wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t go in the barn, just stood sadly by the fence.

He was grieving. He is grieving still. His buddy, his companion, his sparring partner is gone.

What it reminded me anew is that humans aren’t the only creatures that grieve. Ellsbury is grieving, we are grieving. And in that shared grief, we find comfort in being together.

For the last days, we have spent a lot of time with Ellsy, talking to him, keeping him company, bringing him treats. He’s eating again, sleeping in the barn, getting back to normal activities. Now that he has had time to grieve, we are looking for a companion or companions for him because he is a social animal, and needs friends.

Love it not just for humans, and I am so thankful that we get to see the amazing relationships of our creatures.

You Are Loved

you are loved

Yesterday, I was hurrying down the street, freezing, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw this mural. It was so beautiful, that I walked over to take a picture. Then, as I got closer, I realized that there were phone numbers on it, phone numbers for addiction recovery programs. This was a mural telling those struggling with addiction that they are loved, and giving information about getting help!

So I stood on the street, and started to cry. What a beautiful piece of art, and an even more beautiful message. Love, that those struggling with addiction are loved. Now if you have loved or love someone struggling with addiction, you know that. But this wall shouted it to the world. And I am so very thankful for that!

Brownies with a Side of Rage

Yesterday, we made brownies. Maybe we did it because we didn’t have cookie ingredients in the house. Maybe it was because they sounded good. Maybe it was because deep down, I was struggling with the emotional baggage of the book about surviving losing Sam being released in e-version.

I don’t know what prompted us to make the brownies. What I know is that they weren’t the best ever made. New type of mix, maybe? I don’t know the reason, but the edges were hard as rock.

I seem to struggle with baking brownies. Often the edges are like hockey pucks. Maybe that was why Sam always took the middle of the pan — no hard edges.

In the midst of thinking about the brownies, I learned that a former student had died of an overdose, and it hurt more than I can express. I am so very tired of hearing that funny, loving, giving young people are being taken from us. I am so tired of seeing the broken hearts of families and friends.

Yes, I cried. Writing this now, tears are running down my face. This student made me  laugh, even when I wanted to stay serious. She was loud, funny, and no matter what, always had a smile for me — even when I was having to be the disciplinarian. I ran into her last summer, and was so happy to see her, to get a hug, to see her always impressive fake nails and hear about her young daughter.

Then, after the tears, the anger came. When will we stop this epidemic? We need to stop pushing drug abuse and addiction to the side, we need to face the reality of the issue, and work as an entire global community to solve it.



Today is the day that the e-version of Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude is released. It seems surreal to have it finally launch into the world beyond that of the group of people who follow this site, or are connected to me via social media.

As I have said before, I never planned to write a memoir. I certainly never planned to write one about grief. When Sam died, it thrust us into a world that we never wanted, never planned to experience. And so if writing about that process helps someone else, then I feel that I have brought some good out of such a horrible situation.

With the e-book launch, I again pause to think about what Sam taught me. He taught me to laugh at myself when I get too intense. He taught me that there is always more than one point of view. He taught me that every single human being is worthy of love and respect. He taught me that a good burger, friends, and warm brownies can lighten a heavy heart. He taught me to open my heart to those different from myself.

As this book launches, I hope that others will read it and realize that no matter how dark the day, there is always something to be grateful for, and that no matter what, love is truly what matters.