Closing the Gap


The superboys were back this weekend to finish the fencing that closes the gap between the barn and the goat yard (and connected pastures beyond). When I previously mentioned this project, I had several questions about gates. Yes, gates were placed at either end of the field to provide vehicle access to the barn and out the other side, where I plan to fence another field going up the hillside later.

This was my very first fencing project at Sassafras Farm. I consulted with my farmer friend Pete, borrowed tools, acquired the materials, and picked up a few things at the hardware store.

I’m sure visiting the hardware store on my own will become a familiar task. I sought help immediately because wandering aimlessly up and down the aisles didn’t appeal to me. I told the man I needed fencing nails. He said, “You mean staples?” I said, “Okay.”

Hardware man: “What size staples?”

Me: “The regular size?”

Then we went to look at chain for the gates.

Hardware man: “What size chain?”

Me: “The regular size?”

He patted my shoulder and said, “It’s going to be okay, honey.”

Ever since I’ve been on my own, it seems like everybody calls me honey. Though I’m sure the hardware man thought I had “my man” at home working away while the clueless little woman went out to pick up a few supplies. I considered telling him I was running a farm all by myself, but I didn’t want to scare him.

The red bar in the middle of the field is where they used to tie the horses. This field was at one time used as a riding ring. Under that tarp in the field is a stack of two-by-fours Morgan dragged out of the barn because it was blocking the stalls. I’m not sure where that’s going, but it’s needs to be moved at some point.

The goats and sheep were thrilled to get into this field because there’s actually still a bit of grass in there.

Closing the gap in fencing here will allow me to move animals from the furthest upper pasture all the way to the barn without ever taking them outside fencing, which is a real plus–especially when I’m moving animals by myself. It will also allow me to keep the goats and sheep closer to the barn so that when the snows come, I can easily get them inside to shelter in the stalls. There is a goat house in the goat yard–and the gate is open to that field for them, but this winter, they will be spoiled inside the barn.

This will also allow me to simply toss hay out of the loft to them without carting it over. I think I’m getting lazier every day that I live at Sassafras Farm.

Then I had the superboys set my new sign post and hang up the sign and shovel out the clogged pipes in the culvert. Unfortunately, they couldn’t make much headway there. The trouble is too far down the pipes. This is a yet-to-be-solved problem. So I sent them away with some cash and two (each) hot ham and cheese paninis made with thick-sliced Grandmother Bread for their trouble. My last necessary winter prep project is now completed. Snow? (Where IS our snow this year?) Bring it on! Sassafras Farm is open for winter.


  1. nursemary says:

    Good for you Suzanne! Being prepared for winter is the best feeling. We got road base put down in the donkey shelter then covered that with rubber stall mats. It will be so much nicer than the ankle deep mud and muck we waded through last winter. We enclosed the goat and emu shelters with siding and put dogloos in the goat shelter to keep them warm. The three chicken coops are stocked with feed and scratch. Now we are experiencing the driest December in recorded history! But if things change, we are ready!

    Love the posts.


  2. Flowerpower says:

    Suzanne…it seems to me that anything here will be easier than your other place. Nothing lazy about you girl! Dont tell the men at the hardware store…it will just mess with their minds! :happyflower:

  3. Old Geezer says:

    Would love to see a map of the place — like you did with Stringtown Rising.

    By the way, if it makes you feel any better, probably half of the men who go to a hardware store don’t know what to ask for either.

    I always try to go prepared, but the hardware clerk will always one up me (it’s their nature). I will Google up that I need to get a 6-inch double-back framistrade. I go to the store and ask for one. Invariably there is a parameter that I’ve overlooked, and thus am rendered speechless when the clerk, smirking, asks “With one noodelywhacker or with two, standard or Australian threads?” It is probably best to just ask for help up front and forego the competition of wits.

  4. SarahGrace says:

    Not lazy! Just more efficient so the focus can go to other things! I catch myself still double taking when people call me “honey” around here. We have lots of mud over here. We’ve done so much work, which isn’t completed, that I’m starting to think that we’ll never have grass again. A couple weeks ago I pulled the car over the crossing thinking that the ground was dry enough. It wasn’t. I started to slide straight for the creek! Thankfully I stopped in time. The next morning I went out thinking I could move it since the ground froze. Not a chance. So I call a neighbor up the road that helps me when I need it. I said, “I’m stuck!” He replied, “Ok, honey, not a problem. Where are you?” My answer was, “In my front yard, close to the creek.” I’m sure he was thinking, “Bless her heart!” 😀
    I’m so happy for you, Suzanne, that you are in an easier place to do the day to day chores. Look at how much you did before and now there are so many more possibilities! You are capable!

  5. Miss Judy says:

    looks like you’re doing fine…Honey!

  6. twiggityNDgoats says:

    Not a thing wrong with efficiency on a farm. Good job getting all those projects done and making things more maneagable for you and Morgan to tend the animals.

  7. Andrea.tat says:

    I think there may be a weather system moving through after Christmas, should be rain for Va, but not sure how/if it will affect WVa. A lot of people are saying it is going to be one of the dryest winters in a while for the eastern US, but the models also seem to be swinging around a lot and nothing has proved reliable more than a few days out (my bf is a hobby meteorologist so I’m just regurgitating what he said haha :eating: ) the farm looks great though, and I think the fencing/barn combination will make for a much more managable winter for you. Though I really love your snowed in posts.

    I was hoping for a hard winter so I could get out of work! I really need a vacation!

  8. lattelady says:

    You are doing so very, very well.
    I would help set fence posts and pull wire tight for some ham and cheese paninis. Hmmm, might make one for my dinner. Sounds good to me.

  9. shirley T says:

    I’m wondering if all that ‘boot camp training’ at String Town Rising has helped you in making decisions on this farm. I’m so proud of The ‘Git-er-done gal’ Thanks for keeping us posted. :sheepjump:


  10. Teresa says:

    Sounds like you are doing a great job. Don’t let the men at the hardware store bother you. It’s people like us that make them necessary :yes: Your new farm looks great!

    I am at my new farm now also and Peanut is loving it. He has his own little yard with a dog door onto a section of the back porch. The cats are sleeping with him in the hay and keeping him company.

    Plus, I got my horses delivered last night. I am in horse heaven! :snoopy:

  11. MrsB says:

    So….did Glory Bee EVER get weaned? That problem seems to have disappeared off the board – or I missed it.

  12. Bev in CA says:

    Don’t be too hard on yourself. We all have our own expertise. Your an author, mother, cheesemaker, milker etc, etc, etc, Could he do that? I used to hate going to the auto parts for my DH. I could write absolutely everything down and of course they would ask me a question and I didn’t know the answer. Winter is strange here, also. We are so dry here that Mt. Shasta’s ski park is closed. No snow.

  13. Glenda says:

    I think ‘honey’ may be a southern thing…

    I do know a lot of men dealing with women in farming tend to talk down to them………..until they realize you know what you are doing. That will take a little time on some things. Every step you take puts you closer to that and being in full charge.

    When we first moved out to the farm, I was in charge because “my man” traveled. I have had them ask me where my man was.

    Here is what you can look forward to….when you reach your 70’s the little carryout boys will call you dear! I want to smack him every time he says it. My sis (2 years older) thinks it is no big deal; I think it is very insulting. I will accept ma’am…..not dear! I have my little quirks…after all I am in my 70’s!

    I think you are doing great. Here is a suggestion, next the the boys do some fencing work along side of them for a while to see how they do things. I built fence with a man in his 70’s when we first moved out (1976) and he tried to tell dirty jokes all day long….I just ignored him but by darn, I learned to build and repair fence!

  14. holstein woman says:

    Suzanne, at the least you got two helpers when you moved. These guys are valuable. When I hire I have to pay, well we won’t tell how much per hour. Not to mention all the other stuff, but that is by my choice, milk, butter, cheese, etc.
    Your place is looking very nice and don’t let the MEN of the “”hardware store”” or anywhere else get to you, they had to learn somewhere and their peers laughed them to scorn so they remembered and NEVER wanted to go through it again. So,,, now they pick on you. It will bite them in the BUTT later in another way, and yes I dare say they can’t do the things you CAN DO. Most of them can’t do anything but yell “Honey can you get it for me”. Because they don’t even know where the coffee pot is or how to use it.
    Keep going BEAUTIFUL lady on the inside and outside!

  15. Dottie says:

    The red bar thing (hitching rail) will come in handy for Morgans horse. Hitching rails are great when you have to ANCHOR all kinds of animals for all kinds of tasks, especially if the animal wants no part of said task. I wonder what Glory Bee will think of it.

    It’s wonderful that the superboys can help with the heavy stuff.
    Keep them well supplied with goodies on their way off so they will always be willing to come back.

    I seem to have a nack for knowing what I want or need for big projects without having a clue as to what those things are called. When we needed a complete new hookup for the “storage tank” (the only thing I really knew what it was called) for our water system, which I might add has been one of the on going trials of my life for at least 35 years and the source of me inventing swear words that nobody has ever even heard of, Off to Lowes I went. Found the storage tanks, found the man, and promptly told him “I know what I want and don’t know what ANY of it is CALLED – except I do know we need to start with one of those”, and pointed to the storage tank. Man: “how much are you replacing”? Me: “Everything between the top of the well and the water line that goes to the house”. That at least sounded quite knowlegable. Man: “OK HONEY. We can fix you right up”. Now I’m thinking “yeah right” because nothing is ever that simple. But to my amazement within 15 minutes
    (this man wasn’t kidding he really did know what he was doing) I had a cart full of EVERYTHING I needed. I knew this because, did I mention this water system has tortured me for 35 years, I know what all that stuff looks like in that system I just don’t know what any of it is called. Sigh!
    Anyway, I’m amazed, thrilled, and a little stunned that this went so well.

    Me to man: “Would you like to come home with me” with stars in my eyes.

    Moral of the story – Find the man as quick as you can, tell him you don’t know what your doing – or only a little of what your doing, and cross your fingers that you get a man who knows what he’s doing cause ALOT of them don’t!

    It’s nice to hear you say “I’M READY FOR WINTER”. After the turmoil of the last few months hopefully you will be able to
    relax a little and ENJOY your new home.


  16. JeannieB says:

    Honey, you are doing great!!! I’m proud of you.

  17. MMHoney says:

    Just one minute….”Honey” has served me well for the last 50sm years. More then I can recall use that name….Then the grandchildren to say nothing of 8 greatgrandchildren – dream on and enjoy the moment. Merry Christmas and May God Bless real GOOD

  18. Abiga says:

    My daughter’s biggest problem is money for fencing and then the second problem would be needing help putting them up. Her hubby is great but not a go getter in cool, cold, or hot weather esp. after a day at work. Haven’t found anyone else not busy on their own places to help either. And then something always needs repairing and fencing gets put off. So this has held them back from producing more on their little mini farm. Our weather has been mild here too, no snow. Grass still looks green too. We had tons of snow this time last year. I don’t mind as I cannot wait til spring comes. Blessings. You go girl. I wish I had tried all you do when I was a bit younger.

  19. yvonnem says:

    We need a GB and BP update…are you still milking? You never mention them anymore? :cowsleep:

  20. cricketjett says:

    As a independent farmer, always ask for farm tools for birthday, mother’s day, Christmas presents, etc., etc. It works really well at our house. My son-in-law is receiving a loading ramp for his truck and a sawsall, husband is getting clippers for the mules. I love wrapping hoes, rakes, pitchforks for Christmas presents. Morgan will learn this really fast when she gets her horse. There is always something you will need.
    Merry Christmas to all!!!

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