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Carmen Sandiego

Sep
14

Question from a Reader: I’ve been with you from almost the very beginning, but your posts have become more and more infrequent, and with so much less depth than your readers have learned to expect from you. I don’t know what’s happened; hopefully, your life is so good and so full that you no longer have time for you blog. However, it would be nice if you would offer some sort of explanation, even if it’s “good-bye, thanks for the good times”, to those of us who have stuck by you through thick and thin.


In other words, where in the world am I?

I’m sorry. I should explain! In my defense, sometimes I do still post daily! And do still write in-depth posts, occasionally. (Remember my exhaustive post about biscuits recently!) But it’s true that I don’t post as often as I used to, and that sometimes I can be quite sporadic. This is due to several changes in my life, but mostly due to the fact that I make my primary income these days from teaching workshops at the farm.

When I tell people that I teach workshops on Saturdays, their first thought is that I work one day a week. But in fact it’s a full-time job. I start on Mondays, making lists, taking stock of supplies and food, and shopping. Through the rest of the week, I’m cleaning the studio (from the last weekend’s workshops), setting the studio back up again for the coming weekend’s workshops, emailing back and forth with attendees, prepping the meals, cooking ahead, milking the cow, and so on. On Saturdays, I work a 12-hour day on my feet. If I can get out of doing anything on Sunday, I spend the day on the couch with my honey. Then get up on Monday, face the mess left over in the studio, and start all over again making lists, taking stock, and so on.

I give more workshops than is readily seen because as soon as a workshop day fills, I take that date off the retreats page on my website because it’s no longer available for registration. (Perhaps leaving the appearance on the surface that I’m doing nothing.) Most months, I hold three workshop weekends per month. I get one weekend off a month.

I’m not saying any of that to sound whiny. I love what I do! I have a blast giving these workshops. I love meeting the people, talking to them, teaching, sharing the farm and the animals. I’m just explaining, since I was asked! Workshops are what I’ve always done on my website, but first-hand and in-person. It’s very rewarding, just as writing my website has always been rewarding–and I have no intention of putting a stop to writing my website. I just can’t do it as often and as regularly as I used to because I’m making a living with the workshops these days, and I do need to make a living. I’ve made my living most of my adult life as a writer, which is not easy to do. I’ve been flexible–I learned a long time ago to go with the flow, follow the direction of the market. Internet advertising is more widespread as the internet continues to grow, but at the same time, that means any one individual’s piece of that pie is smaller as the internet grows. I used to be able to write my website full-time and make my primary income from my website. I can’t do that anymore, and I adjusted accordingly and followed the market to where I could utilize my skills to continue to make a living–doing the same thing, just in a different way. The traffic to this website is still very high, and I have to find more ways to support that traffic to keep all the information, tutorials, and stories here available, along with ongoing material as I have time to write it. (I’m talking about the costs of maintaining the website in hosting and other technical work. It costs several thousand dollars a year just to maintain this website. I know! A lot of people don’t realize that. This is a very large website with its own server.) Right now and for the foreseeable future, that means workshops at the farm, which is a growing market for me. Workshops are filling from 12 to 14 attendees (my limit in the studio) every weekend, and they’re filling at least two months in advance on an ongoing basis. I can’t do enough of them for how fast I’m filling them.

The past few weeks, I had some real time off. For the first time in months, I had two weekends off in a row. I almost didn’t know what to do with myself! I didn’t have to make lists or take stock or shop for retreats or clean up the studio or prep meals (for anyone other than myself and Rodney).

I cleaned my whole house from top to bottom.

I made lots of cheese.

I watched movies!

I sat around like a sloth! Snuggling with my man, who works hard all week and helps me on workshop weekends too, and is really happy when we have a weekend off to be two peas in a pod on the couch.

It was awesome!

I was tired.

By the way! Cheddaring:
IMG_6407
Cheddar!
IMG_6416
Two Cheddars! The one on the left is just out of the press. I always add cheese coloring to Cheddars. The coloring deepens over time. You can see the difference in the Cheddar on the right that has been air drying for several days compared to the one just out of the press. The one on the left will take on more color in the next few days.
IMG_6417
Gouda–I’m experimenting with vacuum sealing cheeses instead of waxing.
IMG_6411
I really enjoyed having some time to indulge myself in my cheese love during the past couple of weeks.

But now it’s Monday and it’s a retreat weekend coming up! I have to make lists, take stock, shop, and so on! There are workshops the next weekend after also–and almost every weekend until mid-December when weather will force me to take a break until late March. I’m already planning lots of new and different workshops for next year, and I’m really excited about it. This fall marks four years since I moved to Sassafras Farm. I’ve now lived here longer than I lived at Stringtown Rising. (Hard to believe!) This is a really good time in my life, and I’m enjoying the heck out of it.

Lastly, I want to say to the reader who asked me the question–thank you for caring enough to ask.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on September 14, 2015  

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Comments

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  1. 9-14
    11:38
    am

    After the one time of the “great disappearance” when none of us including myself realized you had a large workshop going on, you provided an explanation, and that you were o.k. When posts now are small or absent, I just figure you have a workshop happening that week or weekend. You described one pretty busy schedule and making money is a necessity. I am sure anyone reading this post today will understand, but also that your reader who cared enough to ask will understand too.

  2. 9-14
    12:04
    pm

    Those cheese pics are impressive. You have taught me so much over the years and encouraged me in many ways to try new things. I don’t comment very often these days, but we’re still here and excited to hear about what you’ve been up to. I’m so glad the workshops are paying off. Hope you have a great harvest season.

  3. 9-14
    1:00
    pm

    Hi, I understand where the lady was coming from and also understand that you do have a full life. But I take my time and open this site everyday to be greeted with a picture or no posting week after week. Frustrating for you to not have the time and frustrating for your readers. But am I wrong that many of your attendees are coming from this site and doesn’t it make sense that this is where you need to give at least minimal time too? It’s kinda out of sight, out of mind. Double edged sword. At one time we all knew all of your animals names and most I think would be hard pressed to know anything pass the cows name. For us it has felt like you have lost interest but with the post of why you had gone away and it was now behind you I think we all thought that things would go somewhat back to the way they were. Nope not happening. So I can only do what you have done and it’s to make this a once a month stop off to see if the site is still active. Learned a lot, laughed with you and cried with you but you’ve left the nest and are flying strong. See your around sometime but I will no longer be a daily reader.

  4. 9-14
    1:30
    pm

    glasslass, I post regularly when I can, and not when I can’t. I had a really difficult year last year, but this year is the opposite–this has been a great year, but I’m working full-time now away from the website. Re attendees to my workshops, no, most of them these days have never even been to my website other than when they signed up for the workshop. Most of my attendees come from the advertising I do for the workshops.

  5. 9-14
    1:48
    pm

    I,too,have felt the sense of loss of these other readers. And I realize how much work you have to do keep up with these retreats ,not all of us lead terribly busy lives. And I have had my routine check of blogs with my morning coffee and always sadly, lots of yours run the same ones a month at a time. I have an undiagnosed back condition for the last 6 mos., I live in a great country with free health care but just hope you don’t have to see a good neurologist….So I’ve a lot of actual down time. TV and the iPad is my world right now. Of course, some things changed when your kids left home, and now you have “lover boy” to keep company with. But I will check on you here and there b/c life is full of change and you might find yourself in my shoes someday,one never knows.

  6. 9-14
    2:46
    pm

    Suzanne, you’re such a hard worker as all farmers have to be. GOD BLESS YOU!

  7. 9-14
    2:46
    pm

    Like everyone else I check to see if there is something new to read and if there is not I figure Suzanne is really busy. I am surprised she has time to blog at all. My sister-in-law lives on a 48 acre farm in WV and she doesn’t stop and there is no time off. There is always something that has to be done. Taking care of a farm is hard work. Not to mention holding all the workshops, which someday I would love to be able to attend. I applaud you Suzanne for all that you are able to do!

  8. 9-14
    3:42
    pm

    It’s amazing to me that so many people (not just on this blog) feel entitled to a daily post. Bloggers are humans with lives and for whatever reason may not be able to provide writing as often as the fans would like. As much as I love this site, I don’t have a paid subscription and therefore no expectation of anything. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a sweet treat to open the website and see something new. If not, tomorrow is another day.

  9. 9-14
    4:22
    pm

    “ncastlen,” thank you for giving another point of view and one that made me think. While I don’t feel entitled to a daily post by Suzanne, it did not dawn on me that others may feel that way. I’ve enjoyed her writing and posts over the last five years. When the posts slowed this fall, I just assumed from her prior explanations that Suzanne was neck deep in workshops. Shoot, If I lived within reasonable driving distance, I’d be neck deep in taking the workshops with her. You post, ncastlen, also make me think, “Hey, Suzanne, I’d be glad to pay a monthly subscription fee for your posts! New income stream?” (I know you don’t have time for all that posting these days, but this old gal never gives up completely…) Life is a journey, so I’ll continue to journey by here to check on you, your family, and your critters. Best wishes as your journey continues, Suzanne. So glad you found Rodney; please say hello to Morgan. Hope all is well with her this fall.

    Pat in Eastern NC

  10. 9-14
    4:40
    pm

    Ay Suzanne……I’m with the rest of your fans, I miss you but….i understood even before you posted ALL that you do that you live on a farm with all it’s chores and that you hold the workshops so, I knew you were SUPER busy and one day, Lord willing, I will pay you a visit. In the meantime, I check up on you from time to time to see what you are up to and to learn a thing or two. We all have to make a living, we all have loved ones to tend to. I’m just happy you are doing well and that you are enjoying what you do so much. Thank you for being you and continued success, you deserve it!! (and your down time too!!)

  11. 9-14
    5:26
    pm

    So glad all is well! I do miss the regular posts, but I knew you had to be extremely busy. (Plus the new man in your life!) I’ll keep checking in every day as I always have. :heart:

  12. 9-14
    5:51
    pm

    Yay, you are all right and your readers are happy. Thanks for the great informative post. We cheer for

  13. 9-14
    5:53
    pm

    (continued) we cheer for you and are pleased that you are having a well deserved good year. Enjoy! and thank you for the post on your active life.

  14. 9-14
    7:45
    pm

    ncastlen, my darlin. Thank you–and the rest of you. I love you. Thank you. I love my readers, always have, always will. My life changes with the wind, every year, as things grow and develop in my own life. I work HARD. All the time. It’s not always evident here, on the site. The website will always be my baby, my love. I support myself. I get tired. I devote my spare energy these days to my personal life. When I work all day and am ready to sit down, instead of going to the computer to make at least a quick post, I sit down with my man. Because that is how I want to spend what little time/energy is left in my day. Some days, I have more time! And I post! I thought I had posted quite a bit and was doing good here until last couple weeks when I sorta just =died= and took some time off. But! I just do what I can. I love this website and I love all of you who read here. I may not post every day as much as I did in the past, but I will never leave it unless I’m dead. Then Morgan is supposed to take it over, lol.

  15. 9-15
    7:04
    am

    Bless you, Suzanne and thank you for posting when you can- I always enjoy your posts. Freedom is important for life and for creativity. Nothing strangles creativity ( for me) more than feeling I “must” produce a daily/weekly/ monthly anything. That smacks of control and turns a joyful thing to a dreaded thing. At least it does for me.

  16. 9-15
    10:40
    am

    Suzanne, So good to hear from you and that things are going so well. I too miss your daily posts and I am excited when there is a new one. I am happy that you have someone to share your life with other than the kids and the animals.
    I attended a workshop a couple of years ago and had a ball. Hope to make it to another one next year. Excited about the possible new choices for next year.
    We love you and always look forward to new posts.
    Louise in Alabama

  17. 9-15
    8:21
    pm

    I have enjoyed following you for years now, before you bought your current farm…I am feeling old!! I have missed you when you disappeared several times because we all worried about you, but lately, you are in a good place so I know you are just busy. Take care and check in when you can. By the way, I would really love to go back through in chronologic order through your posts, but the posts don’t list the years!!
    I really loved the goat stories with their cookie obsessions!

  18. 9-15
    11:12
    pm

    I have followed your blog for several years, and I, too, have missed you. But that doesn’t stop me from checking in every day (or almost!) to see if you have posted. You have taught me to make yogurt, soap, grandmother bread, scrubs, candles, how to use nature to decorate, so much about canning (I continually get requests for “our” rum cranberry apple butter), and on and on. You make your life look so easy and fun – I can understand why people get frustrated when you don’t post every day. I just want you to know that I will be back regularly.

  19. 9-16
    1:55
    pm

    :happyflower: :happyflower: :happyflower:
    I was unsure weather on not I wanted to comment on this post, but decided like most gals, I have to have my say. I first found Suzanne many years ago when I was looking for a recipe most native to West Virginia and was directed to her blog. She was living in the “slanted little house” at the time and referred to her children by their age, not their name. I have followed her all this time,she has raised a family, has a working farm that she has worked pretty much alone until, lately, and runs a pretty much full time business, so if she doesnt post a new post every day or so, my world is still in tact. I check the forum a couple time a day if I am not too busy,just to see what some of the gals that I have got to know are up to, I also use Farm Bell when looking for recipes, but never once have I become upset that there isnt a new post every day. There are way too many other things to worry about. I have so many things to keep me busy, I hope I never get to the place in my life that I get in a dither if a daily post doesnt change. I take a blog for what it is, for fun and information, if I would find it not to my liking, I would simply move on. Life is short, don’t sweat the small stuff.

  20. 9-16
    2:21
    pm

    I know I don’t comment as much as I use to. Most of the time WordPress doesn’t want to let me in. Seems like I have to sign in each time I comment, but I still love to read your blog. I started reading your blog about a month before Glory Bee was born and have watched your children grow up. Laughed with you during the good times and cried during the bad. I know you don’t know your reader as well as we know you but I know you care about us as we care for you. I love it that you take time in your life to entertain us with your life and stories. I have learned alot from you. Thank you so much. Cynthia

  21. 9-18
    12:13
    am

    I started following this blog, which seems like 50 years ago, but Suzanne isn’t that old! At the time I was looking for a recipe.

    I think back, I wish I had followed more closely reading in detail all the posts. Regardless, I enjoy whatever you have published. Yes, I get a little disappointed when I don’t see something “new”, but it will NOT make me stop following you.

    You are like FAMILY!!! It’s a real treat when a new post has been posted. It brings smiles to the face. I enjoy reading about your life. Your trials and tribulations, your strengths and weaknesses.

    Your blog brings back many remembrances of when I was a child, and how I wish I could be on a farm doing what you are doing.

    The City Slicker does not understand what it takes to keep a farm working. Animals don’t feed themselves. (At least to a point they don’t.) Fences need mending, trees need removed from the road traveled, grass needs mowed, and buildings need repaired. (And that’s just a fraction of what your life entails.)

    I’ve attended two workshops and about to attend the third. You make them a learning, fun experience. Which takes preparation and research to give your attendees the experience you want them to have.

    I appreciate all that you do. All your posts, long or short, days or months apart. You inspire women all around the world to do what is within their heart.

    Thank you Suzanne!!!

  22. 9-25
    5:23
    pm

    Shoot..truth be known I don’t get here as much as I use to either.I’m just happy to get here when I can.You have always been my favorite writer on the internet. I don’t pay you for the privilege of reading so I’m not about to issue any requirements as to how often you should be posting.You have a life.Some other folks seem to need one.Thank you for all you have given of yourself to us over the years.No explanations needed. :heart:

  23. 10-22
    9:45
    pm

    Yeahhhh…that was me.

    I am incredibly happy that you took my comment in the spirit in which it was intended. After I’d posted it, I immediately thought of all the ways it could be misinterpreted, but you GOT it. I feel like Sally Field on Oscar night.

  24. 2-9
    3:37
    pm

    Suzanne,
    Thank you, thank you!!
    Years ago….You ignited my passion for Dairy cows, fueled my desire for one of my own, which resulted in a wonderful Jersey girl to teach me and then a few Guernsey’s. :cowsleep: You have been a wealth of information and encouragement.
    I have many recipes in my stash thanks to you.
    I have never had a paid subscription. I was once a daily reader, even all day catching up after my own farm chores were done. Your life has changed in many ways, as has mine. I stop in once in a while… and go for an all day binge to catch up when I can.
    I would love to come to a work shop. Heck, I would love even more to move to your neck of the woods and be a “neighbor”. All that green..this High Desert girl wouldn’t know what to do with herself!!
    Keep on Keeping on, and post when you can!! I love your stories, adventures and grit. :happyflower:

  25. 5-10
    1:29
    pm

    Honestly, I know this post is old but, cheddar cheese and crackers! Suzanne, did you write down some sort of pledge, or make some iron clad promise to your readers that you would submit in-depth posts everyday for your readers? Do the complainers write and/or maintain a blog everyday? I don’t think so, or they would understand the amount of time and effort that goes into it. Most bloggers struggle with the quality vs. quantity of their posts. It takes me hours to write a “simple” post, and days if not weeks (okay…months)for the ones with quality content. The internet is littered with, I can only guess how many abandoned blogs…millions? And that should make your fans glad to even get the occasional post, short or long. Longevity speaking, Suzanne, you are very faithful, and your real fans understand tgat you, a hard working Farmer, don’t get more than 24/7/365! Keep up the good work! :airkiss:

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