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Coming in Paperback!

Jul
11

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My book is coming out in paperback this October. Check out the paperback cover! What do you think? (I love it!)

In case you don’t know what it’s about, here’s the back cover copy from the hardcover.

It was a cold late autumn day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse–as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die.”

Thus begins former romance writer Suzanne McMinn’s wild ride into self-sustainable living halfway up a hill on one of the most remote dirt roads in West Virginia, with a cast including her children, an enigmatic partner, the “rural neighborhood” of quirky characters, and a whole slew of ridiculous and uncooperative farm animals. An unlikely adventurer, the suburban born-and-bred author tackles one daunting challenge after another on her new 40-acre farm, from hatching chickens and milking a cow to herding sheep and making her own cheese. Whether she’s trying to convince a goat to accept its baby or just get her ornery neighbor to move over and let her pass on the road, every page of her adventure is fraught with laughter, passion, drama, and the risk of losing it all before she figures out why she’s doing it in the first place. And when she does lose it all, she discovers a triumph she never expected–along with the truth for which she’d been searching all along.

Based on her long-running, wildly popular blog, Chickens in the Road, Suzanne McMinn brings country life to vivid color with all the candor, comedy, and danger of a rollicking good adventure.

Put on your chore boots and jump in.

You can see the video book trailer:






And get a free peek at the first chapter here.

You can read more about the book, including reviews, here.

You can Pre-order the Paperback Now!

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The Tractor and I

Jul
5

For the past few days, I’ve been driving my tractor. Really. I’ve had my hired men, Robbie and Rodney, here helping me with fencing and some other jobs around the farm, and they kept using the tractor. Because that’s why I have it–for other people to use it.

Waitaminute.

Why don’t I use it?

If you’ve been around here for awhile, you know the story. My brother was killed on a tractor (before I was born) when he was 13 years old. It happened on my grandparents’ farm in Oklahoma. It’s the big family tragedy in which I was indoctrinated my whole life. Afterward, my grandparents sold their farm. A life-size portrait of my dead brother hung in our house the entire time I was growing up. I was afraid to turn 13, I’m not kidding! Then I made it to 14, so apparently it wasn’t 13 that was the magic dead zone, it was the tractor! Hello, irrational fear!

Every time someone has been over here using the tractor, I explain to them about my dead brother and the tractor. I did have one of my hired men teach me to drive the tractor a few years ago, but I never felt comfortable with it and I didn’t drive it enough on my own. This past week, I started thinking about it again, watching Robbie and Rodney drive it.
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They said, “We’ll teach you to drive it.” I told them about my dead brother. They seemed unfazed by this story. (No one understands!!)
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So I climbed on the tractor and they taught me to drive it. They rode around with me on it–but not in circles in the barnyard like the last time I had tractor-driving lessons. They took me to do real stuff, out in the field, stuff they needed done for the jobs they were doing.

The first time I drove it out in the field, Rodney hanging on the side of the tractor to coach me, I said, “I told you my brother died on a tractor.” He completely ignored me, which was a good thing, I’m sure. I kept driving it. Then he jumped off and they started having me drive it by myself.

For the past few days, I drove and drove the tractor–until I finally got comfortable with it, for the first time ever! I spent the whole afternoon with them yesterday while they were working and I insisted on doing all the tractor driving, and then a few times when I got scared to do something that needed done, they insisted that I do it, not letting me off the hook because I got nervous. I hauled a telephone pole out of the field for gate posts. I pushed a small tree down. I hauled a bunch of other stuff around.

I even enjoyed just hanging out on it. Like I didn’t want to get off it.
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But eventually I got bored sitting around waiting for them to need me to do something else with it, and I said, “I’m going to just go drive the tractor around, okay?”

Robbie looked at me and said, “It’s your tractor.”

Oh, yeah. So then I drove it just for fun!

Me, on the tractor yesterday afternoon.
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I love my tractor!

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  1. IMG_2483

    July 2, 2014 - The Goings On

    This is being a busy week on the farm. I have Robbie and Rodney, my two hired men, here a few hours every day getting things done. That is what summer is for on a farm–getting it all done, and I have a long list.

    First, they worked on this new field for the goats. The reasoning for this field is two-fold. One, I don’t want to mow this useful expanse of fabulous … Continued…

  1. IMG_2392

    June 17, 2014 - A Letter from A Cat

    Today’s letter to Weston at Army basic training, from his Beloved.

    To My Boy,

    How are you doing? I am just here, pining for you. I’ve been shedding more lately. Pretty sure it’s because I miss my boy and the emotional duress is taking its toll on my beautiful coat. When I am bald, you will know how much I truly loved you.

    I remember the first day you found me under the porch at … Continued…

  1. The-Andy-Griffith-Show-download

    June 2, 2014 - Order in the World

    Here in the Charleston area, The Andy Griffith Show comes on every day at 11 a.m. for a full hour, two episodes. News and talk shows come on before and after. If I don’t watch anything else, I try to watch Andy. I would rather watch a 50-year-old TV show than find out what’s going on today. A little Andy makes every day better…. Continued…

  1. IMG_2225

    May 28, 2014 - Grown Up Girl

    This past Friday was Morgan’s high school graduation. The perp walk:

    There were the usual little speeches. For some reason, we don’t get those celebrity graduation speakers here. (Hmmph!) The class president started with, “First let me take a selfie.” And he did.

    I’ve spent a lot of … Continued…

  1. IMG_1694

    May 20, 2014 - Fall 2014 Cheese, Bread, Herbs and Soap Retreat

    Come learn at the farm!

    Fall Cheese, Bread, Herbs & Soap Retreat
    August 28 – September 1, 2014

    This retreat is offered with options to choose the entire retreat or only parts. The retreat will last five days, but it’s up to you whether you choose one day, two days, three days, … Continued…

  1. porch2

    May 5, 2014 - My Daddy

    Ross W. Dye was born on January 9, 1925 in a little house on a hill across the river and about a quarter mile up the road from Stringtown Rising Farm. My dad spoke of his childhood in Stringtown this way: “The wood were full of squirrels, the fields were well supplied with rabbits, the streams abounded in fish, and the countryside was populated with foxes, weasels, minks, skunks, opossums, raccoons, muskrats, and … Continued…

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....



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