Strength

Jun
25

I had a surprising feeling at the end of the day yesterday after this (and this). I received a lengthy Facebook comment on my CITR page suggesting I must feel guilty for not saving the fawn, which included this statement, “…and you do have a book coming out.”


Let me say first that the day I temper what I write on this website because of a book, an advertiser, or even a reader, is the day this website goes black. I keep parts of my personal life private at times, but what I share of my life and my farm, I share true, and that is the sacred trust between me and you. My book is, in fact, even more than this site just because I share more of my personal life in it, and that again is the sacred trust between me and you. I will not put out a book that is a regurgitation of what you can read for free on my website. The book is MORE. I couldn’t live with myself otherwise.

But back to feeling guilty. Did the fawn die because I took photos of it with my zoom while I was assessing the situation and deciding whether or not I should make a potentially dangerous intervention between livestock guardian dogs and a wild animal? Unless you were here with me, you really can’t know. I had a hard enough time deciding what was prudent, necessary, and wise, and I was the one in my shoes. At this point, it doesn’t really matter. I’m a human being, and it is what it is. (Honey Boo Boo’s mama likes to say that. I love Honey Boo Boo. When are they doing more new shows???)

There wasn’t a lot of time for thinking yesterday morning. I took a few moments for thinking while I was zoomed in with my camera on the situation, deciding whether or not I needed to intervene. And again when I stood in the creek with the fawn, deciding what to do with it. The rest was pure emotion. By the time I got my boots on and got back to the field, they were on the steep part of the field that goes up to the upper pasture. Even with boots on, the footing is unstable. I took hold of Chloe the only way I could, by her ears. (Somebody is going to criticize me for this.) When in an emergency situation, taking hold of any small livestock by their ears is often your best bet. (We’re not in the ‘burbs, Toto.) This is not kissy-sweet time. It’s emergency time. And a 100-pound dog is stronger than me, I can promise you that, and if I’m going to get a livestock guardian dog off a wild animal, I’m going to do it any way I can. I can’t pick up a Pyr, and I can’t tell a Pyr with a wild animal in its field to do any different than it is born to do. But I can take hold of its ears, control its head, and by controlling its head, control its body–with my feet dug in, pulling with every ounce of grit in my body to convince them to follow their ears when every ounce of grit in their body wants to go back to that wild animal. It was a tug-of-war with Chloe, and then with Gwennie, to get them out of that field and away from that fawn. I carry 50-pound bags of feed, and hay bales, and I walk/run 5 miles a day. And I’m still not stronger than a Pyr, but I made them move by force of will.

Then I stood, boots in the creek with that fawn in front of me and Chloe, escaped, behind me. I lectured Chloe, I entreated the fawn. Eventually, I stood with Chloe behind me and that fawn not six inches in front of me. I have never touched a fawn in my life. And I didn’t want to touch this one. I wanted it to get away clean, untouched by human hand. But as that dream dimmed, I knelt down in the creek, looked the fawn in the eye, and knew if it would let me touch it, it was bad enough that I needed to carry it out of there. I reached out, cautiously, and put my hand on its head and it didn’t move. I had no idea how heavy it would be. It felt like about the weight of a sack of feed. I got it all the way to the front of the field then I had to get the gate open. I put it down for a second and managed to open the gate and get it through and on to the house, where I was ready to drop.

Only then did I bang on the back door with my boot until I woke up help.

Five years ago, I would not have gone into that field and taken two livestock guardian dogs off a wild animal. I’m not even sure if I would have done it three years ago, or two years ago. Before the day was out, I had to take that fawn and dispose of it, which is also something I would not have done in the past. I would have depended on a man to do it. All of it.

And through all the people who want to second-guess every move I made in a dramatic unexpected event, in the end there is one emotion that they can’t take away, and that is pride. I get a lot of help on my farm. Hired men, kids, neighbors, friends, family. Maybe I’m not so tough. It’s not like I really run this farm alone. But in the end, in those dramatic unexpected moments, I’m the one who has to step up to the plate because there’s no one here but me.

It’s these unplanned adventures that test your mettle on a farm. There are many ways to test yourself in life, and a farm is not required. What is unique about a farm is the challenge of you against an animal. When Glory Bee decides she doesn’t want to walk on a lead, after all, and drags me halfway across the back barn yard. And I take that lead back and I put that nearly 1000-pound animal through her paces til I rule her. Animals test in a special way. They have hearts and minds of their own, unlike any mechanical device.

But that is a milk cow. A livestock guardian dog is a different thing altogether, bred to think and act independently of human beings, to hold their field against all comers. Yesterday, I pulled two 100-pound livestock guardian dogs off a wild animal. I carried that animal out of the field, and when it didn’t make it, I did what I had to do next. Myself. And in the end, the emotions I felt weren’t about guilt and regret but about pride and strength.

I am tough enough.
IMG_8784
And if anyone is perturbed that a fawn died and I felt good about myself at the end of the day, I’m tough enough for that, too.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on June 25, 2013  

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  1. 6-25
    1:38
    am

    Bless your heart, I can’t believe anyone would think you could have done anything more in that situation. Things like that just happen so fast. Instinct and reflexes jump in. I can’t believe you were able to get the dogs off of it at all. My dog weighs 55 pounds and when she’s lunging with all of her strength, it’s all I can do to pull her back. And you could have possibly been bitten at that! Dogs get into their prey drive and they can be unpredictable. You should feel proud. You took care of business. Anyone who has something smart-mouthed to say about it obviously has never worked on a real farm and probably has some fanciful bucolic nonsense pictured in their mind. The harsh realities of life and death are learned on a farm. That’s as real as it gets.

  2. 6-25
    2:05
    am

    I am just glad you weren’t hurt. Three dogs attacking something is a dangerous situation for anyone to wade into. Hang tough, Cuz’

  3. 6-25
    2:15
    am

    Why some people think they have to tell others how to live just amazes me! I have followed you for years and am one of your biggest supporter. Even if I didn’t agree with everything you did yesterday, who am I to complain, tell you what you SHOULD have done, or question your honesty. Sheeees!!!

    Farm life is not for the faint of heart. Life every where is messy, and some days are worse than others. Animals die people, some are butchered for your dinner, some are killed by other animals, some get sick and die. Life is NOT neat and tidy. Open your eyes, Suzanne tells stories about her life. REAL stories about what happens to her, and how she handles the events on her farm. This is Suzanne’s blog if you don’t like it, Don’t read it!!!

    As for me, I’ll be here tomorrow to see what’s happens next. :happyfeet: Thanks for sharing a little bit of your life with us Suzanne!!!!

  4. 6-25
    2:18
    am

    I have a Facebook farm page that was turned into a blog that sells chickens.If i have something bad happen on the farm i mostly don’t write about it because most farm people don’t understand and i don’t want to hear about it.You are brave.We do have a bunch of pets but we do butcher our own chickens-hogs-lambs.Life and death happens every day on the farm and lot of times there is nothing we can do about it.We all do our best and that’s all we can do.I have not missed your post and it really helped me after my heart surgery.You even wrote about it.Keep up the good work.We all love you.

  5. 6-25
    2:20
    am

    Pride and strength…..three of the most beautiful words I have seen today!! I am so happy you are in that place :)

  6. 6-25
    5:56
    am

    Yes, Suzanne, you certainly are way more than “tough enough”. As I commented yesterday, you did exactly the right thing in trying your hardest to save that fawn. It’s a wonder the dogs did not accidentally bite you while you were dragging them off the deer. What bravery on your part! (And I have to say, in your underwear as well!)
    Too bad some people just have to make negative and hurtful comments without thinking or understanding the situation. Ignore them! They would never dare say those things to your face.
    Hope today is a quiet, peaceful sunshiny day for you and your family. Go up in the haymow, sit on a bale, hang your legs out the door and just look around and enjoy your beautiful farm and animals. Maybe go for a ride on Shortcake just to get away for a bit. We love you!

  7. 6-25
    6:17
    am

    I can’t believe someone would criticize you for trying to save the fawn. Maybe you weren’t able to, but at least you gave it the valiant effort. Some people like to sit back and dog you, but I bet they wouldn’t have lifted a finger to help. :?

  8. 6-25
    6:29
    am

    Wow. At the end of the day, I’d have been proud of myself, too.

  9. 6-25
    6:55
    am

    Wow! See? This is why I don’t just love reading you. I LOVE YOU! I truly admire you, what you’ve done, what you’re doing, and I am grateful that you let us all in on it. I don’t like to say that very often, cause we’ve never met, but there it is. :heart:

  10. 6-25
    7:29
    am

    On a farm we do what we feel is best without the luxury of much time to consider our options. Not long ago I had to jump in the creek to break up an altercation between my Pyrenees and my other dog who had escaped and caught a chicken. The Pyrenees was protecting her livestock and had my other dog held down firmly by the back of the neck. All turned out fine but had I given it much thought I might not have jumped in between two large dogs. You did GOOD!

  11. 6-25
    7:35
    am

    Suzanne, I rarely comment ( even though I read every post)but today ( tonight down here in Australia) I just wanted to tell you that you did what YOU had to do!

    NOBODY who wasn’t there has the right to judge or project their own misinformed opinions/emotions on to YOU!

    I’m a little angry at those who have no idea what it is like to have to make decisions such as those you made yesterday…it is all too easy to sit in a nice comfortable house..totally removed from the reality of life on a farm and dealing with animals (both domestic & wild).

    I applaud you lady. XXX

  12. 6-25
    7:45
    am

    Suzanne, those that slam you for your actions can go hang them selves. I do not run or own a farm, but I do know it is not all pretty and serene. What you had to handle is life in its rawest form, for good and bad. I would love to have one of the persons who think they are correct in slamming you deal what you have had to do on a daily/hourly basis and see what choice they would have ultimately made in dire situations. Hugs to a great lady who has made this far with making life work when she was handed some lemons.

  13. 6-25
    7:52
    am

    Good job all around! Hope you have a great day!

  14. 6-25
    8:01
    am

    It is so easy to post nasty words on the internet where you can hide your face and I am certain that the person that left that comment is reading this column today–for that person, may I give you a salute-pick a finger.
    Until someone is in your chore boots facing a situation such as this, they have no right to advise how it should be handled, it seem to me that what this person is best at wanting to be an “expert” (aka a wannabe) in all matters and really knows nothing more than words, I willing bet they make a hobby of doing such a thing, it helps build their self esteem which is probably very low.
    You did what you could and in my humble opinion , you did the right thing.
    “And that is all I got to say about that.”

  15. 6-25
    8:12
    am

    It really sucks that you have to defend yourself again. You should have that feeling of pride!

    Beth

  16. 6-25
    8:19
    am

    Gosh darnit I love your grit!

    Great post.

  17. 6-25
    8:20
    am

    You’re right. It is what it is. And don’t worry about the “ear” method either. It certainly has it’s place. That was the only way I could take out my brother growing up! 8)

  18. 6-25
    8:27
    am

    Tough you say? I think it was pretty bad assed lady! You could probably beat up my Dad LOL

  19. 6-25
    8:28
    am

    I hope you realize that you have way more supportive people here than the negative ones. Sometimes I wonder why people must jump in and offer such negative comments over a hard situation such as yours. And then question why you did what you did. Like I said before if it was not for the fact you did pick up that camera to access the situation in the first place you might of walked into a much more dangerous situation.

    Strength comes in many forms. There is many farmers who would of not tried to save that deer. So do not ever feel bad for your actions. It may of not been what some people would of done. But in the end it is what you had to do.

    Just the thoughts of getting in between those huge dogs and that deer. I would of been scared shitless! My panties would of been a mess. lol. HUGS to you. Do not let people put your down. Especially those who do not know you at all.

  20. 6-25
    8:38
    am

    For ANY action on line there will be some who object. I can’t see that there was anything wrong with your actions Suzanne other than sharing another bit of rural life with all of us. This is your blog and I appreciate the quality of the writing about living the farm life. It is very obvious there are some who have no idea of the realities.
    Another one of those realities is catching a fawn or some recently born wild turkeys in the grain header of a combine when harvesting grain. The farmer who leases the pasture here ran over a newborn calf a few years ago with a tractor and mower. Things happen.

  21. 6-25
    8:50
    am

    Suzanne I have read your blog every day for a long time now. You are a survivor and I admire you for your honesty and openness. I came upon this same scene years ago, but it was a lamb. Not one person out there knows how they would react until faced with that situation. High five girl, you rock.

  22. 6-25
    8:51
    am

    No matter what anyone says, you could not have gotten to the fawn in time. Once down there, pulling hundred pound dogs off would have been too late. I love all animals, but I know the reality of what can happen no matter what we try. I hope your day gets better.Farm life is not easy and you are doing an amazing job!

  23. 6-25
    8:57
    am

    Suzanne, you are who you are.And I think you’ve learned when you try to be what other people tell you to be you aren’t happy. Your strenth comes from within. When you depend on others to define you that strength weakens.Stand strong Lady, stand strong!!

  24. 6-25
    9:02
    am

    You handled the situation well! Maybe the troll that knows all needs to be led by the ear back to reality? I’ve got your back.

  25. 6-25
    9:11
    am

    Suzanne, I read your post aloud to my husband yesterday and we both got sad. Then we both commented on your courage to share what happened. Life is like a farm. It’s beautiful, productive, hard work, fun, messy, sunshine-y and rainy, muddy and dusty, stinky, and, yes, sometimes sad. Thanks for sharing and give the dogs a pet for just being themselves and doing their jobs.

  26. 6-25
    9:11
    am

    Hang in there and stay tough!

  27. 6-25
    9:11
    am

    :woof:
    Suzanne, I saw a spot on TV last night–Honey Boo-Boo will be back with a new series this fall. :yes:

  28. 6-25
    9:17
    am

    I didn’t read the comments to the fawn story because I read the posts in reverse order and knew I would probably get irritated if I read them. Yesterday morning, as I walked out my front door, two of the kittens had a baby rabbit on the porch and were in the process of killing it for breakfast.It was too damaged to survive even if I had intervened so I didn’t. It has horrible. It was sad. It made me mad at the kittens BUT this is what animals do. They hunt. They protect. Sometimes innocents get killed, but it’s life on a farm. The fawn was cute but the fact remains it invaded a field guarded by livestock dogs. Unfortunate for the fawn but the dogs did what they were supposed to do. I am sorry your day sucked but glad you were strong enough to clean up the mess AND deal with negative posts.

  29. 6-25
    9:18
    am

    Suzanne, you are an inspiration to SO MANY of us. God bless you. Stay strong! We love you!

  30. 6-25
    9:33
    am

    What everyone else said…and I love you! You are a great example of what people can do when they set their minds to things. You are a fantastic role model for many young women out here…to stand tall, be courageous and do not follow the leader…do what your heart and soul tell you to do.

  31. 6-25
    9:35
    am

    Suzanne,

    When I read in this blog what I have read the past couple of days I am infuriated by people who need to mind their own business. You live on a farm..alone (with kids), you take care of animals with SOME help. Nosey people, critical people and others need to leave you alone. They come to your website to read what you have posted, you don’t make them read it. You put yourself out there for people to have a glimpse of country life and to see what it’s like for people to survive on their own. I say if you don’t like what you’re reading here then STAY THE HELL AWAY!!! Excuse my language, but there have been too many times where I have read about people criticizing you and it just burns my butt!

  32. 6-25
    9:45
    am

    I felt like I was reading about myself. As a single mom since the early nineties and trying to be self-sustaining.. well lets just say you will become stronger than you ever knew during the most difficult times. And as others have posted life on the farm is no picnic but we choose to do what we do for a better way of life for ourselves and family. Thank you for sharing.. gives me strength to read that other woman do what I do and more.. you totally rock!! :hug:

  33. 6-25
    9:55
    am

    You are tougher than I am. You did good.

  34. 6-25
    10:02
    am

    Fantastic! You did what you had to do, and if people whine and complain, let them. They were not in your boots.
    Life is tough. Maybe they have been too sheltered in their lives.
    A reference to “you have a book coming out”. Nice threat from that woman, hiding behind her posting.
    Now I live in the city, and it is time for me to wrestle my sixteen pound rescue dog away from her toys and go for a walk. The only dangerous situations for me might be the odd people I see on my walks. Did see a skunk last week. Glad my dog was on her leash.
    You go girl, you rock!

  35. 6-25
    10:03
    am

    Good for you! I am sorry that the fawn died, but it is what it is.. Your dogs were doing their job. When you realized the situation, you did what you could. Nothing wrong with that. And good for you sticking up for yourself to any and all naysayers.. If there is one thing that I have discovered, it is AWFUL easy for others to judge when they are comfortably ensconced in front of their computers looking on.. Things are a lot different when you are in the middle of a situation…

  36. 6-25
    10:16
    am

    I have tried to take chipmunks away fromt he barn cats, a baby bird away from the beagle. You see I said tried. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. I HATE, HATE it when that happens. BUT, I TRIED.

    You tried. Nature is hard on wildlife. I’m having to come up with all kinds of hair brain things to keep my yard cats from getting a nest of wrens that their kooky mom decided to put on my porch in a cabinet of all places.

    Talk about the danger zone! They will either make it or not. I have done what I can.

  37. 6-25
    10:17
    am

    A situation like this one shows us what we are made of deep down in our core. When we are capable of pulling upward with our every fiber and land on the positive side, we smile to ourselves. We now know from whence we came. Do not beat yourself up because of ignorance. Smile and know. Feel it.

  38. 6-25
    10:23
    am

    I don’t think you should defend yourself. Only explain yourself for the purpose of educating others. It is understandable that some people would question your actions because their life experience probably doesn’t involve events like you just went through. I wish they would ask respectfully and not trash you out…all you can do is try to answer their questions respectfully, to the best of your ability, and only if you feel like it. Great article, you are wonderful, CAN’T WAIT TO READ YOUR BOOK!

  39. 6-25
    10:43
    am

    I suppose if you had let the dogs kill it and pull it apart and eat it they would have made the same comment. SHAME ON WHO EVER DID IT.

  40. 6-25
    10:45
    am

    Wow! You have so many supporters; no need to worry about a few detractors who live in la-la land. I signed on to give you some encouragement, but I see that everyone else has beat me to it. Be blessed Suzanne and enjoy your farm life. So many of us envy you and I’m not sure we could stand up to the trials you face every day. ;)

  41. 6-25
    10:52
    am

    I suppose this is what the person wanted all the time. Look how much time you have spent just defending actions when you were right all the time. All of us here except maybe the naysayers really support you and look forward to your posts when you get the time to post, but do they have any idea how much of your life they take up stirring the pot as Grandma used to say. I wish they had something better to do. Like GO AWAY.

  42. 6-25
    11:02
    am

    You go girl. You handled it and you did not owe us any explanation about how or why you did what you did. Those who criticized probably don’t also understand that there are 90-gajillion too many deer out there anyway. I’m not hard hearted, just realistic; yes, I feel compassion for the loss of a young animal that did not know enough to escape. Ahhh, but such is life. I enjoy reading your blog and sharing your adventures. You should not have to expend (read waste) the time and energy and blog space you obviously did responding to petty, judgmental critics. Have a blessed day!

  43. 6-25
    11:08
    am

    Suzanne, You are an amazing lady. Life is tough enough without people saying things to hurt others when it is none of their business in the first place. Keep up the good work. I look forward to your posts every day. You have inspired so many of us to step up and try new things. Thank you for all that you give to us every day. :heart:

  44. 6-25
    11:19
    am

    You should be proud of yourself. Not only have you managed to build a farm and a life for yourself and your family, but you’ve been willing to show the world the good days, the bad days, and the ugly days. Most folks wouldn’t have the courage and strength to let the world see their bad days, much less their ugly days. Critical hateful people will always be that way – full of hate, which is most likely really how they feel about their own lives. I think they keep acting that way, secretly hoping that one day something will make them like their own sad lives a little more. We all know it won’t, but they would never believe us. You have the strength to be honest with yourself and with us. They can never understand that. Hugs from Memphis

  45. 6-25
    11:45
    am

    I live on a farm, and while I love my life in the country, it is very different from the city or the suburbs. We have 911, but an emergency response may take hours. You learn to be cautious because you simply cannot survive if you take unnecessary risks. We have wildlife–lovely to watch, but risky to interact with. We have predators which we respect, but do not hesitate to take action if they are endangering our family or pets. From time to time, we see packs of wild dogs moving across the property. We have thankfully never had a threatening situation involving wild dogs, and as a dog lover, I hope we never do. You do your best every day, and make the best decisions you can with the information, time, and circumstances you have. Suzanne, I am sorry that you were judged and criticized for your actions. Please be comforted in the fact that your detractor is living a totally different paradigm than you, and simply does not comprehend life on a farm.

  46. 6-25
    11:47
    am

    You are an incredibly strong woman that had to deal with with a tough situation. I’m amazed you were able to get your dogs off the fawn. Anyone that’s dealt with dogs knows how hard that was. You are a great role modlel for those of us trying to muddle through this farming gig!

  47. 6-25
    12:00
    pm

    I was laughing through telling my son about the incident at water park(Mama Junes forklift foot) Between that show and Walking dead I can’t be snacking on anything. There isn’t many shows that get me to laugh till I cry Boo is one of them.

    Women do carry most of the burden throughout our lifetimes and rather than tear each other down we need to embrace each other, except each other, we need to be encouraged not discouraged. Women are quite ugly to other women. We could really learn a lot from men here. When did you hear a man remark unkindly about another man, right? Men are snakes in other ways though. :-)

    I am making pizza dough soon thanks to you! Not the pizza on screen recipe. Too much work to remove it from the door frame. :moo:

  48. 6-25
    12:02
    pm

    Amen and Bravo, Suzanne!! You are a REAL farmer now!!! (((Hugs))) :hug:

  49. 6-25
    12:06
    pm

    Suzanne, you DO NOT have to defend a darn thing you did – period! Farm-life is tough. Tough decisions have to be made. People forget that your blog is not just about sweet baby lambs sucking bottles or you teaching them how to make cheese. It is about loosing stock to in the middle of the night to wildlife (how many ducks, geese, chickens, lambs, goats, etc have you lost?). It is about broken fences, pumps, relationships, and hearts. If they cannot take the dark with light, the good with bad, the beautiful with the ugly then they need to find another blog to follow because they DO NOT have the heart or the stomach to be a farmer. Suzanne, you my Lady have proven time and time again that both in spades.

  50. 6-25
    12:09
    pm

    I had company stay over yesterday so, although I took a few minutes to read your blog, I didn’t take time to formulate a comment. Fortunately, I can agree with EVERYTHING said before me today! The 2 criticisms I read yesterday were unexpected and definitely uncalled for. I can’t believe you worked so hard to try to save the fawn (and in your underwear!) As for the “pictures”, a camera zoom lens makes a perfect telescope. I love the life you tell us about, good and bad, and I’ve watched you grow into a phenomenal woman!

    Nancy in Iowa

  51. 6-25
    12:12
    pm

    I was pretty annoyed by the comment on the page, and I’m very sorry you also got more of that in an email. Let it be water off your good back. They are jerks with no farm. You are terrific and you even write books. If you didn’t write books you would still be terrific. That’s what I say. (I have your book on preorder)

  52. 6-25
    12:35
    pm

    I haven’t read all the reply’s, so someone probable already said this…….please stop wasting your time defending yourself. You did all you could do (I also use my camera to see in the distance). I have LGD’s and I think it is astounding that you were able to pull the dogs off the intruder. I enjoy reading all about your experiences and had much rather hear about another exciting adventure than you having to explain again and again why you do something.

  53. 6-25
    12:53
    pm

    I want to be you when I grow up.

    I’m an animal rehabber and I can tell you from experience you did the best you could. You mentioned it yourself- often animals like that are already injured or sick in some way and the mom abandons it. It sucks that it happened on your land but don’t blame yourself.

    Just know that your life stories have touched so many people because it is so real. You have lots of support! Hang in there!

  54. 6-25
    12:55
    pm

    Well. I’ve been reading this blog for a while now, even going back and reading most of the archives. I like the authenticity of it. The un-Pioneer Woman-ness of it. And of course, over time, a reader gets an idea of just who this blogger really is. What kind of person they are. So, for whatever it’s worth, here is my reaction to this kerfluffle. Suzanne, to me, this is the best post you’ve written thus far. And for none of the reasons you’d think. Reading through your earlier posts, you struck me as a smart, fun, slightly kooky, selectively disorganized but very honest person. Very likable. Over time, and many posts, wafts of ‘learned helplessness’ and a dose of rampant manipulative qualities began to surface. There seems to be great glee expressed when someone else could be conned into doing your bidding. The ‘I don’t read manuals’, ‘take on things I know nothing about’ had a childlike recklessness about it, often ending with someone being called to bail you out, rescue you somehow, be inconvenienced somehow– but it was all okay because the ‘aren’t I kooky and cute’ tone was well spun into interesting stories.

    (Hang in there…it gets better.)

    But this post is the first one, really, in which I see your willingness to cop to your handling of something, take responsibility for cleaning up your own mess and not flapped your arms and yelled for someone else to rescue you. Honestly, I have no idea if you handled the fawn thing well, or poorly. (And if it had been a skunk, or a possum, or anything else less cute than a fawn, would people be all up on their hind legs about it?) And I don’t care. If I were going to lob any grenade, it would only be to encourage you to get your fencing in better order, it seems to be a reoccurring theme of various disasters around the farm. Horses shouldn’t be around wire fencing, especially large gauge, etc. But that’s neither here nor there.

    This is the first post that not only tells an interesting story, but also tells about the personal growth of an interesting woman, becoming even more interesting. I’ve always been interested in reading about what you’re up to, but now you’re becoming an independent woman who takes full responsibility for her life –with occasional hired help, no shame there– and takes on what she can handle herself, does the best she can, no longer finds the Blanche Debois helpless approach to be cute, tells it honestly and is someone I’d actually like to know, not just watch.

    So, I don’t know if this will validate your journey, or hurt your feelings, but I send it respectfully. I think personal growth should be celebrated. As for the fawn-critics? Move on and blow ’em a raspberry.

  55. 6-25
    2:26
    pm

    Well Suzanne, I just want to say that I love your writing, and I perceived your strength from your very first post about the Slanted Little House. What bravery it takes to leap into the unknown, and keep your footing whilst life tosses us to and fro.

    I don’t think you need to defend yourself to anyone. I am glad you have chosen to share your journey with us. I feel privileged. Your honesty has always shone through, as has your integrity and strength.

    Thank you for opening your doors to so many of us. I hope this experience has not in any way caused you to put up guard against your readers. Having said that, I feel that you should always feel free to delete objectionable comments as this is your blog, your site, your world, and you do not have to defend against such actions. Of course this is only my opinion. And of course there are as many opinions as there are people.

    Thank you for your authenticity.

  56. 6-25
    2:37
    pm

    I have not read all of yesterday.s replies, thus was surprised by today s blog….
    As John Wayne once remarked about being fear,
    Yep, I am scared, but you aJUST HAVE TO SADDLE UP AND DO IT”
    I first found this on a poster in our son s dorm room!
    YOu did great! You re being a country woman, congrats!!!! Sometimes you have to just do it….
    Several years ago, our son was cutting hay when the baler spooked up a very new fawn. Later we found , what we thought was probably the mother in a ditch, hit by a vehicle. So our son scooped up the fan, kept It in The cab of the tractor for the rest of the field, they bonded. He brought it to the house, the state dept. says leave it he nature and let nature take care of it. We couldn’t. So… Friends with a barn, smaller corals, took Baxter in. He did great. Grew to be quite an interesting character…..

  57. 6-25
    3:05
    pm

    I have never been able to figure out why some people just seem to sit with baited breath to jump all over someone for some little thing. Not just you and your site but it is a universal problem. It makes me wonder why not offer up helpful things if they have experienced the same thing in life, but I have seen enough to know that usually isnt the case. I repeat, I just dont get what the reason to jump in to something or on someone at every opportunity with negative things to say or suggest and offer no good support or ideas. By the way you and my husband are distant relatives. All his people on both sides have your area of WV. roots. Cant wait for the book. When can we preorder? Diane

  58. 6-25
    3:07
    pm

    Your strength and storytelling are wondrous and much appreciated. No second thoughts or apologies are needed, ever. Ogres and trolls can just marinade in their own sour juices and we’ll just ignore them :dancingmonster: .

  59. 6-25
    3:15
    pm

    Ironically I am sitting at my desk at work with a fawn in a box at my feet. It was “saved” from being abandoned by its mother by someone ignorant of deer life history. (it wasn’t; it was stolen from its mother who was protecting it by not being around it all the time and leaving her scent to attract predators). This fawn now goes to a rehabilitator who will feed it and raise it and release it but it will be habituated to humans and most likely meet a miserable end anyway. Suzanne’s dogs did what they were trained to do; it was an accident and accidents suck, but ignorance is much worse.

  60. 6-25
    3:39
    pm

    Suzanne, you truly are an inspiration. I live on a small hobby farm and I know the trials of split second decisions. You do what you have to do in the moment. Sometimes there is little time to do anything but react.

    It’s easy for someone who is just hearing the story to say what they would have done differently or even worse, tell you what you should have done instead. The difference is that they aren’t the ones who lived it in that moment. They weren’t having to make that split second decision. You did what you could and you survived.

    I very much understand the pride and feeling of strength that comes from handling a situation even when the outcome isn’t the brightest and best. If only life were all rainbows and sunshine, but it’s not.

    All this to say that you are an amazing woman. Thank you for putting yourself out there with the good and the not so good. It makes it easier for those of us living it, too. We are reminded that we aren’t alone and that others are surviving and thriving as well.

  61. 6-25
    4:15
    pm

    Farm Living is NOT for sissies.

    Mortality rates of fawns are high.

    You did what you could, but in the end it was something you couldn’t fix.

    Birth, life, death…mother nature can be cruel, but alas, that’s how she works.

    Don’t beat yourself up over comments because there is always someone who just can’t understand.

    Your dogs did their jobs and your livestock is safe.

    And life goes on.

    STAY STRONG!!

  62. 6-25
    4:18
    pm

    Suzanne you go girl! It’s a shame that one of your finest qualities – your honesty – is what brings out these hateful comments from a few posters.

    I don’t comment often, but I read every single entry in your blog, because your writing and photos are so entertaining, but even more so because of how open and honest you are about your life. That isn’t easy to do in public, but I hope you know so many of us really appreciate it and love you for it. Keep doin’ what you’re doin’!

  63. 6-25
    4:36
    pm

    Apparently you should have dropped the camera (damage be damned) and run, in slippers and undies, to rescue the poor fawn.

    Well, color me guilty also.

    One year I ran over a hidden rabbit nest with the riding mower. I cut a bunny’s ear and eyebrow off. We tried to save it (the kids were young) but it was no go. Oh, why did God not make bunnies impervious to riding mowers and evil men?

    But worse was to come.

    We live on the “border” between suburbia and farmurbia. So we get a lot of wild animal traffic. One summer night I was awakened by the most pitiful scream I’ve ever heard. It started out in the musical register of mere pain and anguish, but then descended into sheer terror.

    I went back to sleep.

    In the morning, I searched the back yard and found two tiny fawn haunches (rear) and a tiny pile of fawn guts. No blood. Nothing else. Apparently a predator (coyote or raccoon) had lain in wait or detected a doe giving birth and just took advantage of the home delivery. The screams probably came from the doe.

    I guess I should turn myself in for not having gotten up and saved the poor thing. Would ten years in the clink be enough?

    Alas, one less fawn in an area where deer are routinely “harvested” for being pests, and road killed deer are a common sight.

    But, every spark of life is precious. Unless, of course, I catch the ants invading my humming bird feeder!

  64. 6-25
    4:52
    pm

    Hi Suzanne,
    I have not posted in a while, but check your blog daily, when I read this, I was appalled! “One should not judge others, until they walk in their shoes!” You did the right thing for you! and yes you are a strong woman! What is this world coming to when we have people that love to dissect others? and post nasty comments on others blogs, coward and bully comes to mind. Love reading about your life and love your honesty, THANK YOU!!!!

  65. 6-25
    4:55
    pm

    Well said!

  66. 6-25
    5:23
    pm

    I agree with the commenters here. Basically those that criticized you just don’t get it, or you.

    I understand your sense of pride in how you handled the fawn issue. And I know that pride is tempered with sadness over the death of the fawn.

    I applaud you and thoroughly respect your decisions.

    Thank you for being honest with us, and allowing us to be a part of your life.

  67. 6-25
    6:47
    pm

    Yup; Got your back up here Suzanne. Was that a tough couple of posts to read yesterday? Yes indeed. Did I feel bad for the fawn? Yes, I certainly did. But do I think you did your very best to deal with the situation and try and resolve it? Yes – absolutely.

    And as we say up here in the upper right corner of the country…whattagonnado? Done and done. Take another deep breath and move forward. Some of your readers will just not understand. I am so sorry you had to go through that terrible situation. But I am forever grateful that no matter what – you always tell us the truth.

  68. 6-25
    7:24
    pm

    I am purposely skipping the comments of the first post so I won’t get too angry. Everyone has commented on the fawn encounter. Strangely I was really peeved about the comment on your repeating emphasis on the fact you were caught outside in the middle of a crisis in your undies and tshirt. Hey, THINK about it folks.

    You’re sleeping, awakened suddenly, rush OUTSIDE to assess and handle a crisis. In the way of most women (heck, maybe men too) in the back of your mind as you deal with life is the tiny thought OH, MY, I’m caught outside in my nightgown/underwear/nude/whatever. The appropriate clothing taboo is VERY strong and we absolutely DON’T want to be caught in a stressful situation in our undies. How many of us dreamed (nightmared?) about showing up at school or being locked outside our house in our undies? VERY common anxiety dream. That you were caught in a stressful situation OUTSIDE IN YOUR UNDERWEAR just added to the nightmare quality. Of course that was running around and around in your head and you shared that in your narrative. Shows you are an excellent writer and the poster just didn’t understand. (Must not have had that nightmare??) Deep breathe, let it go.

  69. 6-25
    7:39
    pm

    As I stated yesterday, I fully support you and how you handled yesterday’s situation. What infuriates me is how some people are so miserable with their own life that they have to spew their venom on others doing good. You are an exceptionally strong woman, and gettingstronger by the day. You are a wonderful Mother with 3 very well grounded children and becoming an exellent farmer. I would stand up for you no matter what you did and am proud to say, “Welcome home, Suzanne, you are a true Mountaineer.

  70. 6-25
    8:12
    pm

    Hey Suzanne, I’m very proud of you…you did more than most people would even consider doing…Your dogs did their job and you went above and beyond…The outcome was what it was…YOU did good.

  71. 6-25
    8:27
    pm

    Kudos to a very strong woman for doing what needs to be done! Keep up the good work!

  72. 6-25
    9:02
    pm

    Alright… After reading yesterday’s posts and comments. I so wanted to give my 2cents worth, however I said no I will just let this one go by. Now after reading today’s post and then the comments as well, I said enough is enough.
    I am almost 100% sure that people who leave these comments on how dreadful you were and must feel about what you have written about don’t have animals, livestock, have never been barefoot in a pair of rubber boots. Having a farm with livestock means never knowing what will happen next. I have felt with these kinds of people before. They think ahhh pretty horses, cute sheep. But when you lose one to colic, or what ever they are the first to criticize. I see it all the time. They need to shut there mouths and leave the farming to the ones who are farming. With this bring being said you are doing a good job, and I envy you, as I have to been a woman farmer doing it all on my own, even losing animals. So go on Suzanne and keep up the REAL posts of everyday farming.
    ( I’ll get down off my soapbox now)

  73. 6-26
    12:50
    am

    You go, girl!! I have a couple of questions – was Coco in another field (thank goodness you didn’t have four dogs to handle), and will pulling the LGD’s off the fawn cause them to hesitate next time they are confronted by a wild animal? Take care.

  74. 6-26
    10:13
    am

    Some people. Anyway, let’s hear about you running around in just your underwear and boots trying to save the world. That part was hilarious.

  75. 6-26
    10:56
    am

    I am so glad you wrote about strength. This blog is something everyone needs to read and understand that we need to depend on ourselves first and then on others.

    Your story about the fawn also proved that your dogs were doing their job. Anyone who doesn’t understand the importance of this story may panic instead of reacting in an emergency.

    I am so proud of you Suzanne to have grown so much in just a few years and shared it with so many. I hope in an emergency I am that strong.

  76. 6-26
    5:19
    pm

    Suzanne, I am honored to know you and I am inspired by your strength and your compassion.

    To the drama queens and critics- yes, I said compassion. From the post entitled “The Time I Herded a Fawn” Suzanne said, “So I picked up the fawn. It was heavy. You can see from its size compared to the dogs that it is no newborn fawn, despite still having its spots. I carried it all the way from the back of the sheep field to the back door of the house, banged on the door with my boot until I managed to wake up one of my sleeping children because after dragging off two Pyrs and carrying that fawn out of the field, I couldn’t take it another step.” , and from the post entitled, “One of Those Days”, Suzanne said, “RIP little deer.”, so yes, I had no problem seeing compassion oozing through Suzanne’s posts.

    There are loving people in the world who look for the good that is right in front of their noses, and there are the not so nice people who choose to behave like idiots. I guess we should thank the latter group for making it so easy to discern them from the former group.

    Hey Suzanne! Mark and I are sending loving thoughts to you from Ohio (might not be the love from Ohio that you are wanting right now *wink-wink*)! Goodness, we love ya so much and stand beside you in this! And I can’t wait to read your book!

    Love from Ohio_

    Kelly Myers

  77. 6-26
    6:15
    pm

    Well said! Sending you a virtual hug:)

  78. 6-26
    10:09
    pm

    Suzanne, I wish everyone here who thinks the world(until you missed it)! Isn’t it beyond wonderful that the people who wrote the mean things are NOT related to us or people we have to work with every day??? OH, yeah!!

  79. 6-26
    10:11
    pm

    That was supposed to have been: “who thinks the world of you could take you to lunch. You’d never have to cook again (until you missed it)! Proofreader! stat!!!

  80. 6-27
    9:35
    pm

    :cry: I read here sporadically and post even less but felt moved to say I think you did the best you can. We have a small farm, of 8 acres and goats and chickens, and yes dogs and cats, and a few other things. There are moments that are not always sweet and nice, and then there are moments that are sweet and nice. What I like about this blog and about the stories you tell Suzanne is you do not fake the bad stuff, you don’t hide it. People need to understand that sometimes life is well not good all the time. And farming of any kind is not always fun and games. It doesn’t always have a sweet ending. But it is something to go on from and learn from. Even if what you learn is that you did the best you can do. I think you did a great job and I am glad you shared the story. I am sorry there are people that do not see it that way. :hug:

  81. 7-1
    9:50
    am

    Everyone reacts differently to emergencies. Some jump to action and some assess the situation before reacting. I’m not sure I could have stood back with a camera and took pictures while I could have been trying to help. I live on a farm and I remember a similar incident with a full-grown doe and guardian dogs (we have 3 Pyr’s). My grandmother witnessed the dogs taking down the doe so she went and retrieved a shotgun and fired a shot in the air – all things came to a halt. Dogs ran and so did the doe – all survived. You might want to buy a .410 shotgun for situations like these. Things have a way stopping or at least slowing down when shots are fired :)

    We’ve had other situations involving fawns and haybines. It’s not always a pretty life on the farm.

  82. 7-2
    11:40
    am

    Previously lived on a farm. COMPLETELY understand the T-shirt, underwear, and boots ensemble as I have been in the same manner of (un)dress myself on more than one occasion while reacting to an unexpected situation! Until those who criticized you have EVER had to react to a situation like that (based on a qick assessment of what was going on and jumping into the fray), their opinion means exactly NOTHING!!! You acted quickly, with little thought of personnel danger. Your feelings of strength and pride were well earned!

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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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