Pasture Tour — Other Fields


There are two disconnected, but useful, fenced fields on Sassafras Farm. In previous pasture tour posts, the Lower Fields and the Upper Fields, I posted about the connected fields from the barn yards out to the upper pastures. These fields aren’t connected and can’t be connected–but they offer more purpose and value than the disconnected third upper field (the one that is separated by the ravine and can only be accessed by the road, and a “fur piece” up the road at that). The two disconnected fields I’m going to show you in this post are lower fields, just not part of the connected lower fields.

Here is the first disconnected lower field. I call it the horse field because of the long line of tall white horse fencing running along the road. Here you can see where it is in relation to the house.

The gas well is in that field, as you can see noted in the photo. It’s not far from the rear barn yard, and would make a useful field in which to keep a milk cow with handy access back to the barn. I wouldn’t want to keep any of the smaller animals there for several reasons including the lack of fenced access to it. Any of the larger animals that can be easily led, such as a milk cow or a horse, could use this field.

My farm begins where the white horse fencing starts along the road here, and it’s an easy identifying marker when I’m giving people directions.

This field has a weird gate that looks kinda rickety, and obviously smaller animals could walk right through it. Even for larger animals, I’m afraid they could push it down. It will need to be replaced.

I haven’t walked the fenceline in this field and I’m not sure how far up the adjacent hillside the fencing goes, but like the upper pastures, it’s probably going to need some fence repairs. There is a creek in the field for water.

They were mowing the first part of the field, but not the rest, so it’s mostly in a state of neglect.

However, it is a large and lovely field, not too far from the house and barn. So why don’t you connect the fencing, Suzanne?

Let me show you.

Right-of-way access roads are fairly common in West Virginia. (Not sure about other states.) Sometimes people own property that has no direct access to a road. This often happens when large acreages are split up, sold off, or divided within families, and the situation can go back many decades (or longer). At some point in time, right-of-ways are established and are put in the deeds. There are two right-of-ways on this farm.

I own the right-of-ways (with no responsibility to maintain them), the land surrounding them and between them, but I can do nothing to block the access. The right-of-ways are between the rear barn yard and the horse field.

The road to the left goes to a house with a few acres way, way back in there. The previous owners told me they were quiet and they never saw them except when they were coming and going. I’ve met them once. The day I moved in, their dog killed one of my chickens. I got in my car, drove down the access road, and found their house. I knocked on the door and said, “Hi, I’m your new neighbor. Your dog killed one of my chickens.” This is not the optimal introductory conversation. Then I said, “Your dog can never come back to my farm.”

In the country, when you string a couple of sentences together like, “Your dog killed one of my chickens,” and “Your dog can never come back to my farm,” everybody knows what you mean and you can go on to say things like “Nice to meet you,” and avoid unpleasant specifics. It’s code language that puts everyone on the same page. I have never seen the dog again, which I (and the chickens) appreciate. And as the previous owners said, they are very quiet and I only see them coming and going.

The other access road goes to a cabin way, way back in there. I haven’t been there, but I’ve been to the gate where the property begins. I have met the owner. His name is Hokey. (You can’t make this stuff up.) He comes out here to hunt occasionally. The first week I moved in was the start of deer season here. I saw him in his orange jacket hunting on my property from my front porch, and we had an altercation when I asked him not to hunt on my farm without my permission. I have animals and children here. He told me that where he was hunting was his property and spoke to me as if I was a stupid little woman. This farm goes to the ridges all around. I emailed the previous owner and described where he was on the property (above Blueberry Hill). The previous owner’s response was, “If you can see him, he is on your property.” He went on to say that Hokey had tried the same thing with him when they first moved in, and they had to put their foot down and set him straight.

I called Jim. Jim is the dad who scoops up the kids and takes them to the church up the road so the bus doesn’t have to come all the way down the road in bad weather. He has three daughters, and one of them is Morgan’s age. For the first time in ever, she has a friend in walking distance and she has already been enjoying that. When we moved in, Jim brought us a pumpkin roll from his wife and fireworks. (I can’t explain the fireworks. This is the country.) He lives up past my farm where it turns to a dirt road. I told Jim what Hokey had said and described where I saw him, and Jim said, “I’ve lived here all my life and I know where your property lines are. He was hunting on your property.” And he told me to call him in the spring and he would walk my property line with me, and told me to call him if I ever have a disagreement with Hokey again and he will stand beside me while I set Hokey straight.

Luckily, Hokey’s not out here too often, but I will have to deal with him at some point and let him know that I may be a little woman, but I am not stupid.

Since this pasture tour post is a sub-post on my new neighbors, another wonderful neighbor who lives out the road is named Andy. He is just as helpful as Jim–both of them came over to the house the week I moved in to introduce themselves and give me their phone numbers should I ever need their assistance. Andy is the one who stopped on the road and pulled the truck with the flat bed trailer full of round bales out of the mud that day.

Back to the pasture tour! Between the access roads is usable land. It’s a relatively flat location. There is quite a bit of land all up along and between the roads. I have thoughts of planting fruit trees there, and possibly also establishing a garden space there.

It’s sunny and handy to the house.

That pile up there you can see sitting between the access roads is a pile of gravel for the driveway that was left here by the previous owners. Maybe I can incorporate scooping and grading the rock on the driveway as part of my tractor lessons.

The other disconnected field is across the road (the “real” road). You can see the proximity to the house–this photo is taken from the front porch.

I call this one the bee field, not because I intend to keep bees in it, but because I’m thinking to place hives in the unfenced area adjacent to it. There are fence posts there, but no fencing.

I could also plant some flower gardens over here, and along with the gardens around the house and the fruit trees and vegetable garden across the road between the right-of-ways, there would be handy access for the bees. It’s close to the house–but not too close, and away from the animals. It’s also an eastern exposure, which is supposed to be better for bees. (I’m going to a local bee class starting January 21!)

Back to the actual fenced field:

This is a beautiful and spacious field, goes way back in there. It would be suitable for a milk cow, easily led across the road to the barn and back.

The fencing here is mostly woven wire. I’ve walked this fenceline. It goes some way up the hill, and is down in several places, so repairs are needed. There is a creek in the field for water.

The first part of the field has been mowed and maintained. The areas to the back have been neglected, but can be brought back in time.

And that’s it! The pastures of Sassafras Farm absolutely awe me. I’m not accustomed to this amount of pasture, and the work to bring them back, make repairs, is overwhelming, but I intend to take it one pasture at a time, learning about fencing and the tractor as I go. Yes, I’m determined to learn about fencing, too, and not be so dependent on help, especially when it comes to repairs.

Because I’m a little woman, but I’m not stupid!


  1. BJ Farm says:

    You have an awesome place. I’m working on fence too. I post at a time.

  2. Glenda says:

    Suzanne, I agree; it is beautiful land!

    I think it won’t take long before everyone gets the idea that you are one smart, independent woman and they won’t try to mess you around.

    You have the right idea about learning to do everything yourself. You can build fence too. You just need a few inexpensive tools. I even think the wooden gates are redeemable with a few more horizontal boards and an extension on one of them so they meet in the middle.

    I would try for a while to just make repairs rather than spending money….you may need that for more serious things (plumbing! or septic systems, etc.)I hope not though.

    I am hoping you can get a few head of beef cattle before too long. That grass is just too good to waste. In Missouri, and your land looks comparable, we roughly figure one head per two or 3 acres of grassland.
    We don’t ever grain our beef cows so they are gaining from the grass that is basically free.

  3. SarahGrace says:

    Definitely not stupid! Good luck with the unwanted hunter! We have a couple of top meadows. I don’t go up there much. It’s where our barn and pond are. Just too far to go everyday when the cabin is in the bottomland. As hunting season started, my friend came to visit. We took the children “hiking” so I could show her some of the land, barn, and pond. There’s an old hunting shack up there in the middle of the meadow. As we were getting closer I saw something shiny. When I got to the shack, wouldn’t you know!? There’s a brand new window in it! I asked Farmer Wayne and a friend who helps out if they had put it in, but no they hadn’t. So someone is hunting so often up there, without my knowledge, that they decided to make themselves comfortable with a new window! Uugh!
    BTW, I really like where you plan on putting your garden! What a great spot!

  4. CATRAY44 says:

    What an amazing property to have! I am so glad you have good neighbors- they must be happy to have you there, as well. Kind of compliment to receive fireworks for a welcome gift- clearly they don’t think you are a wimpy woman! Maybe you can try them out the next time you see your neighbor hunting on your land…. 😆

  5. KarenAnne says:


    If the hunting shack is on your land, I’d pull it down and dispose of the wood.

  6. rainn says:

    :happyflower: You are a little woman Suzanne-but you are a mighty woman!!! And all of us that know that respect you. Now if I were as sure as to what classes to sign up for as I am of that I’d be set to go-or sign as the case may be!! :snoopy: Love the pastures………..

  7. STracer says:

    Wow! Really love your property. Number one on fence repair. Learn how to reconnect two ends that are broken. There is a way to do it that is very effective and pretty easy, it involves making loops in both ends and then some pulling and twisting on a piece of wire to fill the gap brings the ends closer together. A wire pliers is very useful here. If you found some extra wire neatly rolled up and hanging in the barn or somewhere that is probably why it was saved. If not make sure you save whatever isn’t used when you are doing replacements. Trees and deer can do some damage, but usually the wire is still usable, it just needs to be reconnected.

  8. BuckeyeGirl says:

    Yep… I’d be posting lots of signs and walking the back fields a bit with my gun in evidence. Not saying I’d ever shoot a person just for trespassing, I wouldn’t, though I’d protect myself. Our neighbors two properties up were turning their large obnoxious dogs loose when they knew my next door neighbor’s ducks were out, and also when she had her chihuahuas outside knowing they’d harass them. That’s when she went out for a little target shooting out back, and I came over with my 22 as well. Not at all threatening, just target shooting! Far enough from their house that there was no danger to anyone, nothing the least bit threatening. Worked like a charm.

  9. Old Geezer says:

    How right you are about people’s names. “You can’t make this up”.

    Over the holiday I visited a friend of mine who is a peace officer. He took me on a tour of his domain, during which we met one of his colleagues, Rocky Justice. You can’t make this up.

    And Rocky Justice looks just like his name would imply. Although close to retirement, Rocky has that craggy face and stern demeanor (although he is, of course, a nice person at heart) that just lets you know he means business with a glance.

    It would be a great world if you, or I, or anyone who needs to face down a Hokey, could have a Rocky Justice along as wing man.

    But best of luck to you on the fields and the neighbors. The word will get around soon enough that you are a no nonsense person with no nonsense dogs as well.

  10. steakandeggs says:

    The more I see of your farm the more I love it. You are one lucky woman. Love the ideal you have for the garden. My dad use to keep bees before he died. The best honey he had one year was blackberry. The bees had gotten into some blackberry vines. Yummy.
    If you like blackberries you might think of planting some around the bees. Wonder what strawberries would taste like?

    I glad Morgan has a friend close. Does she have a horse? If so maybe they could ride horses together after Morgan gets her horse. I remember when we were kids it was a lot more fun to have someone to ride with.

    Another thing a tractor is good for is fixing fences. We use a Come-A-Long and a fence stretcher. Hook a chain to the tractor then to the Come-A-Long then to the fence stretcher. Make a nice tight fence.

  11. Miss Judy says:

    Sounds like you’re really enjoying the possibilities of you new home. Bees, orchard, flowers…So happy for you!

  12. brookdale says:

    I’ve really enjoyed your farm tour, Suzanne…you certainly have lots of possibilities there. And it sounds like you have some great neighbors too. I am sooo envious of all that cleared land!
    “Almost heaven, West Virginia” certainly fits Sassafras Farm!

  13. mrnglry says:

    That ‘hunter’ obviously hasn’t met the man who stole your photo…no, you are not stupid or timid, and he will find that out. 😉
    Love your farm!

  14. Linda Goble says:

    Thanks for the tour and excited to see all you do in your future with flowers and bees and all. Sorry for the chicken and the hunter. We once had a hunter on our yard hunting when my children were small. I couldn’t believe how really close he was. Luckily my husband was here and had a talk to him. It was scarey who knows if a deer ran pass if he would shoot towards our house.

  15. TeaCup says:

    When we moved in here, on one side there were several acres of open land, and this weird “fort” just over the fence. I was completely creeped out when I was told it had been originally a deer blind! And, once, during hunting season, we’ve had 2 or more men with rifles walking up our mostly residential road, also creeped me out. But in 20 years that’s it.

    I would be inclined to take down the hunting cabin with the new window myself! I might (or might not) leave the window there.


  16. farmersdaughter1230 says:

    Hi Suzanne.
    Long time reader, rare commenter–BUT I wanted to empower you with an easy, if short term, fix for the gate you showed us.

    You can get a staple gun and use it to attached wire fencing, chicken wire, sheep wire would both work, to the gate which would keep smaller animals in. By adding a simple chain between the gates, which will have a hook like attachment on the end, will add some extra resistance that the boards will not.

    These two small things will work until you can afford to replace the gate with your dream gate.

    Sending good thoughts that things smooth out for you ASAP!

  17. dkyoung says:

    I really agree with BEG and I would take it a little further. Two women living alone out in the country with no close neighbors need some protection. The world is what it is, even in WV. Like you, I live alone on a farm with no neighbors in sight (couple of counties away from you). My near neighbors are wonderful, helpful people but there are some questionable ones living further up the road who sometimes go walking by on the hard road. No one has every bothered me because of my dogs and my guns. I have a 130 lb. Rottweiler, a lab and a beagle. No one knows that they are just big babies except my friends and the UPS driver. They all bark when needed and my Rottie looks intimidating. They have a 3 acre area with an underground fence, so it looks like they just run free. They also live in the house at night.

    As for guns, I target practice occasionally. I keep a rifle by the front door, a .357 magnum pistol on my computer desk, and another one on my nightstand, all loaded. I lock them away when the grandkids come to visit. I keep them loaded not because of two-legged critters, but because of the four-legged ones. We have a big pack of coyotes living down in the valley and have seen them here on the farm at the top of the hill. We also have a black bear family living just around the hill. A huge 400 lb. male, female, and whatever cubs they have that year. The male has been on my front porch and the driveway and the field next to the house. I don’t let my dogs roam at night; they go out into an attached fenced-in dog run. The bears don’t worry me as much as the coyotes do.

    Sorry for the long post, but I want you and Morgan to be safe. Teaching Morgan to shoot would be a good idea. And so would posting your land along the property line. A responsible hunter will come and ask to hunt. But we get a lot of out-of-state hunters here who aren’t. Some of them will shoot at anything that moves. A funny aside: one of the big farmers here in the county puts a big fluorescent orange blank on his horses and on his prize Angus bull. Looks funny, but I guess he learned the hard way….

  18. kdubbs says:

    SarahGrace wrote:
    “There’s an old hunting shack up there in the middle of the meadow. As we were getting closer I saw something shiny. When I got to the shack, wouldn’t you know!? There’s a brand new window in it! …So someone is hunting so often up there, without my knowledge, that they decided to make themselves comfortable with a new window! Uugh!”
    I have one of these stories! Our property came with three permanent treestands (hunting blinds). One was roughly the size and shape of an outhouse, built appallingly far up in a tree that hund out over a pretty sheer drop that we refer to as The Hill of Death. We were afraid to go anywhere near that one, and last winter, a storm brought most of it down out of the tree. The two others are much larger–like garden sheds–with windows, doors, and nasty old upholstered furniture that was filled with small furry critters. We do hunt but don’t use the creepy tumbledown stands, so we’re planning to pull the remaining ones down. However,a year or two ago, my father-in-law climbed into one of them during rifle deer season and found a brand-new, unopened jar of Vlasic pickles. (Somebody was staying there and brought a snack in case he got hungry??) We never spotted the mysterious “Vlasic Pickle Guy”, but my husband did find (and confiscate) a climbing tree stand–the kind that a hunter packs in on his or her back and straps to a tree. Since those two incidents, all has been quiet. I think just inhabiting a property, keeping “Posted” signs up, and being a visible presence all help to keep hunters away.
    We also have a cantankerous, somewhat unbalanced neighbor with a pack of large ill-behaved dogs. More power to you for doing what was necessary and establishing the ground rules up front!

  19. kdubbs says:

    “hund”? I meant “HUNG”…Need more coffee!

  20. joykenn says:

    SarahGrace–I think I’d just install a padlock on that cabin and put a note on the door that this is private property.

    In Texas it is all about “posting” your land–putting up “private property, no hunting, fishing or trespassing allowed” signs. It’s considered either a last resort if you’ve warned local hunters away before or a way to keep outlanders from hunting/fishing your land. Much drama involved in the nuances of when to “post” and who is allowed to hunt (“I saw the signs but I saw the other guys hunting so I decided, officer, that it was OK.”)

    A padlock on a “hunting cabin” or just pulling it down is a good first step.

  21. joykenn says:

    Just looked at the post again. BERRIES, did someone mention BERRIES! Blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, service berries–jam, jelly now and honey from hives eventually. Flowers are pretty but berries now…that’s another story.

  22. Claudia W says:

    Suzanne, your new place is just gorgeous. I can’t wait to see all the progress you make along the way. Yes, it looks like a lot of work, but if anyone can do it, it would be you!
    Happiest of New Years to you!

  23. Jen says:

    You could connect your pastures that are divided by the access road with cattle guards. That way the access would still be open for traffic & you could use it for your cows. Maybe something for the future.

    I also think the far off pasture with the apple trees would be a good place for bees.

    Don’t you just love all of this free advice! ;o)

  24. Flowerpower says:

    Gotta let everybody know where you stand and what is yours. That old hunter on my property would be told in no uncertain terms that he better not be found there again!I might even get the sheriff to give him a little visit. The farm has such pretty pastures. Its really huge and I would be overwhelmed with what to do first. You will have it sorted pretty soon! :happyflower:

  25. Lindsay says:

    Hokey has another thing coming, he doesn’t know how tough you are. You might be a ‘little woman’ but you’re no pushover!

    Your farm is gorgeous, by the way. And it sounds like you’ve got some really wonderful neighbors to balance the one out shooting on your farm.

    Like you said, it’s the country. Things are a little different out there. I hope you do have *something* to use to protect you and Morgan in case you ever need to. Odds are nothing will ever warrant it, but it doesn’t hurt to be safe.

  26. MissyinWV says:

    Your farm is Beautiful!

  27. aprilsinohio says:

    Beautiful land! I agree you need to put up signs. We just moved here a few months ago and put up signs. I dont want to seem rude but every hunter around will want to use your place if you dont put up signs. We still have people ask but we only let the ones we know and follow our rules which is mostly call first and dont get close to the house as we have kids too. As far as the little woman thing I got that recently with a plumber. He called my husband aside to tattle on me, that I complained he left for a half hr and didnt come back for 8. Didnt go well for the plumber. lol Just hang in there you are a smart strong person and an inspiration. :purpleflower:

  28. Vicki in So. CA says:

    The pastures look terrific. Your farm is beautiful! Lots to do, but as you said, one at a time and it will all get done. Thanks for taking us on the tours. Bees sound like a good idea, too – especially with fruit trees nearby, or berries.

    Go figure. No matter where one lives, there are always some really great neighbors, and then there are those other ones, too. I know you’ll figure just the right way to handle your Hokey-hunter neighbor.

    Lindsay, I seem to remember how a certain raccoon met its demise. Susanne’s a good shot! ‘nuf said.

  29. Lindsay says:

    Vicki, I’d forgotten about that! That does come as a comfort. :fairy:

    Or like the bf told me when I was first learning how to shoot, “If anyone ever breaks in, just load the shotgun with buckshot and you won’t have to worry so much about aiming it.”

  30. TW says:

    I can’t wait ’til you start writing about bee keeping! I’d like to have bees one day. Your place is lovely.

  31. MillionthMonkeyMaggie says:

    I used to see commercials for these. At that time they were called a
    Weed Weasel. I have used one, they do work… but they sure are something that I would save for kid chores if you don’t have really loose soil.

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