Photo by Jerry Waters.
My name is Suzanne McMinn. I live on a farm. I grew up in the suburbs of D.C. and southern California then lived everywhere from Texas to the Carolinas. Several years ago, I took my three children to a slanted little house outside a tiny town in Roane County, West Virginia. My family history here goes back over 200 years. After living in the old farmhouse for two and a half years, I moved a few miles over the hill to Stringtown and 40 hard-scrabble acres so remote you had to drive through three creeks in one direction or ford a river in the other to even get there.
After nearly four years of West Virginia “vertical farming” on one of the toughest pieces of land you can find, I moved to a farm of my own, still in Roane County, West Virginia, on 100 acres with a lot of flat land, pasture, a vintage 1930′s era farmhouse, and a big red barn.
Find out more about Sassafras Farm here.
I have goats, sheep, cows, chickens, miniature donkeys, horses, and Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs. I make cheese and candles and soap. I love to bake bread, grow my garden, and learn new old-time skills. It’s all fun. I love my life.
You can find out more about my first farm, Stringtown Rising Farm, and the historic community that once thrived there by reading Stringtown, West Virginia: A Brief History of a Pre-World War II Rural Community. We named that farm Stringtown Rising in honor of that history. (See the “Farm Map” of Stringtown Rising here.)
I have a slight fixation with sheep.
I have a lot of cats.
I also like to take pictures of outhouses. I write books, too. You can find out more about my romance novels here. My books have been translated into dozens of languages and published all over the world. Coming in October 2013, I have a memoir coming out about my life at Stringtown Rising. It will be published by HarperCollins. Find out more here.
Welcome to my journey into the simple, often vanishing, life of rural America in the country outside one tiny town in the Appalachian foothills as I find the true meaning of home–and life–beyond the noise of suburban sprawl and suburban conveniences. I post daily in my farmhouse journal chronicling my photography, (sometimes silly, sometimes serious) stories, recipes, crafts, and sentimental thoughts on the history, people, life, and beauty of rural Appalachia. Use the menu bar at the top to find the archives of experiences and lessons learned in farming, cooking, simple living, and more. This website has been featured in Living Appalachian, Antique Weekly, the Roane County Times Record, Graffiti, the Charleston Daily Mail along with numerous other newspapers across the state of West Virginia, and the L.A. Times.
In January 2009, I started writing a column based on my blog for the Charleston Daily Mail. I’ve also written for Two Lane Livin’ and New England Cheesemaking. Chickens in the Road was a finalist for “Best-Kept Secret” in the 2009 Bloggies and for “Best Photography” in 2011.
In 2011, the CITR Retreat was launched. Held at Camp Sheppard in Roane County each fall, attendees gather for a weekend of learning old-fashioned skills and homesteading DIY crafting, cooking, and preserving. Find out more about CITR Retreats, the annual Party on the Farm (free and open to all CITR readers who can make it), and other CITR events here.
A sampling of popular posts from the past include:
Lord Willing and If the Creek Don’t Rise
On an Early Autumn Weekend
Kitten’s Great Escape
A Cautionary Tale
Sausage and Patty
Escaped Goat Leads Stringtown Farmer on Slow-Speed Chase
You can go here for my interview on West Virginia Public Radio.
Other handy links:
CITR on Twitter
CITR on Facebook
CITR on YouTube
CITR on Google+
CITR on Pinterest
Farm Bell Recipes, a fully-featured interactive cooking community, was launched as part of Chickens in the Road in May, 2010.
I’m proud to be a single woman managing a farm. I have a daughter still in high school, a son at West Virginia University, and my oldest son is now a submariner in the U.S. Navy. I’m a farmer.
Photo by Jerry Waters
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