Thank You


I have slacked off a little this weekend on posting. I was just tired. I am coming up on three years since I re-launched my old writer’s blog as Chickens in the Road and have been reflecting a lot on that lately. CITR is the most exhausting, beloved, overwhelming, passionate thing I’ve ever done. I had no idea when I started it what it might become. I had been writing romance novels for about 15 years. I was never particularly successful as a romance writer, although some people probably thought I was, just because I had a lot of books out. Between 1993 and 2009, I had 26 books published. (The one that was published in 2009, I finished in the spring of 2008, so it’s been a while since I last wrote one. You can see all about my romance novels here. If you want to find one, you can probably find them used on Amazon etc.)

The most I ever made writing romance novels was one year when I made $21,000. Just in case you think romance writers make a lot of money. Most of them DON’T. And I was writing for major publishers, mostly Harlequin. Seriously. Other than that one good year, most years I was lucky to break into five figures. Around $12,000/year became my norm, and only after slogging through the first six or seven years when I never broke into five figures at all. Eventually it seeped into my brain that I was going to starve to death at this rate.

And at the same time, I had moved to West Virginia and become enamored of country life and desperately wanted a farm. This resulted in mortgaging myself to death, amongst other assorted debts to get into this farm and house, and taking the biggest leap of my life in the belief that if I just wrote on my own, instead of for a publisher, and directly to readers, I would be better off. And I could write anything I wanted. Recipes, crafts, animal stories, and so on. I invested everything I had. I had a complete site re-design and started writing my blog the same way I wrote my books, with the same professional attention to detail and my full-time effort. I was making absolutely nothing in the beginning, but I treated it as if it was my job. I had very little money myself, and I had a passion for writing for people with little money either (or at least the desire to be frugal), so I didn’t want to charge my readers a penny to read my work. I discovered advertising to allow me to work full-time writing something readers didn’t have to pay for.

And for two more years, I made no more than my average $12,000/year when I was writing romance novels. And I thought I might starve to death, but I was so much more passionate about writing this site than I ever was about writing romance novels, so I wouldn’t quit. I couldn’t quit. And at least I wasn’t doing worse. There were times the phone rang. Constantly. (Some of you will know what that means.) There were times I cried because I didn’t know how I would get the money for gas to get the kids to the school bus and practices. There were times, quite recently, that I pulled up in front of the bank cash machine and asked for ten dollars and the machine said no. (That is embarrassing when your kids are in the car with you.)

I am a crazy dreamer. But this year, as I come to the end of this year, for the first time, three years later, I will make more this year than I ever made, in my best year, writing romance novels. I have worked 7 days a week, and not cared because I loved it. And I just believed and believed and believed. And you came.

Thank you.

P.S. And maybe next year I can make the phone stop ringing. Because that would be nice.


  1. Barbara Heide says:

    You seem like a good soul, God bless you in alll you give of yourself to others!

  2. Melissa Marsh says:

    I’ve said it more than once, but Suzanne, you are an inspiration to SO MANY PEOPLE. You are a true blessing and I’m glad that you left that comment on my little ol’ blog five long years ago, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to follow your amazing journey from beginning to now and in the future. God bless you, and may you have a FANTASTIC Thanksgiving!!!

  3. Yvonne says:

    :snuggle: Oh Suzanne, you made me tear up!!! YOU are the best thing (besides my family) that ever happened to me, and I truly mean that. I don’t do all of the things you do, but I truely love reading about it and living it through YOU! I hope your readers keep on growing, I will ALWAYS be here, so THANK YOU OVER AND OVER GAIN!!!!!! :hug:

  4. ellen mcbryde says:

    Well, as long as I have a computer I vow my continued support!

  5. Granny Mountain says:

    You are an amazing woman, no one can ever call you a quitter. How you have the strength to work 7 days a week, raise kids, go to ballgames, and still write a blog that enriches so many lives I will never understand. Some people are driven to excell in whatever they do, you are definately one of those!

  6. Sharon says:

    I must say I am in awe of you! I am a fairly new reader of your blog and have so enjoyed you and your views of everyday life. You have helped me see that there is humor in all that we do everyday. I can only imagine the energy it takes for you to share with us everyday and several times a must be slap wore out as we say here in NC. I want to encourage you to rest and take care of yourself and know that there are people like me that look forward to seeing your blog popup with a new post. Thank you for every little word that your type…I enjoy them all.

  7. Maureen @ The Experimental Farmer says:

    I don’t comment much because I like to listen rather than ‘talk’ but I must speak up here. Blog-world, land, whatever is a better place with you in it. I look forward to your posts and admire you for being so dedicated. Your posts are always interesting anad funny, and your writing style is wonderful.

    So in the coming year I wish you continued success and I hope you are showered with all the money that you need to make life comfortable. You (and your ‘crew’) deserve it!

  8. Laura/blueberryly says:

    Suzanne—-the fact that you are not perfect, or independently wealthy and able to do all that you do because of those things is why I love you and this site. When it’s tough here, sometimes I read your post and know I am not alone. Not long after you posted once that your kids got free school lunch, my kids started doing it also. Not the greatest feeling moment in my life, but I was thankful for my kids to have those and I felt better knowing that I was not alone or a bad person because I was in a time of financial difficulty. You and your realness keep me sane some days. I hope and pray that your giant ship comes in. (Well, more likely your giant tractor—lol). Then you can exhale for a bit and not hear that phone ringing. (I had my do not disturb on our phone on for the first 8 months of the year. I’m not proud, but sometimes you need to do it for your sanity!!) You are much loved by your cyberpals. Thank you for all you do, using your talents to entertain and enlighten us all.

  9. Eunice Moore says:

    Until I found CITR I didnt spend much time on the computer after I retired as a medical transcriptionist. After spending 8-12 hours a day in front of a monitor I figured that had been enough; find something else to occupy my mind. But DH wanted burnt sugar cake and I found CITR and have spent almost as much time here as when an MT! I appreciate your dedication and constancy. You make a lot of people more self sufficient. We do appreciate all you do.

  10. Brenda says:

    Suzanne, I am one of those that check your site several times a day, just to see if per chance you have posted something new. I love your stories and and pictures and go back and re-read them just as I do a good book. Keep up the good work. The phone will stop ringing…

    God Bless You and Yours…

  11. Cheryl LeMay says:

    Suzanne-Thank you for pouring your heart and soul into this site.You have had such an impact on all your readers.You are a constant source of inspiration and encouragement for everyone.Don’t feel guilty about taking a day off. You deserve it.When I feel down and overwhelmed,there’s a poem I have on a kitchen magnet called “don’t quit” that always makes me feel better.To quote the last line-“It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.” Hang on to your dream.

  12. LisaAJB says:

    Congratulations! It warms my heart to hear stories of your success. It makes me think that maybe I can be successful too if I follow my dreams. And that while we have to have money to put a roof over our heads and food on the table, it’s really not the key to happiness. Thank YOU!

  13. Barbee' says:

    You are so very very welcome! Maybe the tide has finally turned: your income went up some and you have created more and more ways to be economical and save/stretch money. But, I just remembered: you have more mouths to feed… hmmm. I understand “tired”. When you have those times, I would be quite happy to see just one post for the day of a few critter photos. And, you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. I don’t see how you do all that you do as it is. :hug:

  14. Deni says:

    Suzanne, This really touched me and brought a tear to my eye. Ever since I found this site, I have become more and more obsessed with it. There are so many days that it brings a much needed smile to my face. I too am struggling as are so many others these days. I got laid off over a year ago and I am trying to make some extra money by selling my jams and baked goods at the local farmers markets and craft shows. It seems like every week is a new trial. My trial for the last two weeks has been that my car died forever, which makes it nearly impossible to get to those shows. Not to mention that you gotta sell a lot of jars of jam to make a car payment, so…Thank God for friends! You are such a wonderful role model for me and other women. You and the rest of the community here in CITR have really inspired me to try many new things. Thank you Suzanne for CITR!

  15. CATRAY44 says:

    Bless you, Suzanne. We are thankful for you.

  16. mary kellogg says:


    You need to publish a cookbook! That would be a real money-maker!

    There are bloggers out there at are doing this sort of thing and you KNOW they are cashing in on their fan-base, which is great!

    Float a Food Network program to them, or a reality based farm show to TLC. It could happen and your lifestyle would remain.

    Just some ideas.

  17. northcountrygirl says:

    Suzanne: To have touched as many lives as you have is a stunning achievement. To have the admiration and respect of so many is monumental. To have done it by being yourself speaks volumes.

  18. Joy says:

    Thank YOU, Suzanne. So glad I found you and I hope each year you make more than the last. :hug:

  19. prayingpup says:

    Thank you – Suzanne . . . . you make my day – every day! If it weren’t for CITR, I would have no reason to turn this computer on!

  20. Peggy says:

    CITR is the first place I visit in the morning. The news be it good, bad or ugly gets my day started on the right track. Many of us today are struggling finacially, emotionally and even phsically, but you give us hope to achieve something everyday with class. I am happy that your finances are turning to the positive with the outlook for much more.

    Keep writing, working and loving your family, friends and what you do daily.

    PS: Please give us an update about your son in the Navy, sorry his name escapes me right now…..maybe that means we have not seen it in a while.

  21. Snapper says:

    No….THANK YOU! :hug:

  22. Jenn says:

    I have only a hand full of big dreams that I wish to fulfill. One is to have a small farm and produce most of the food for my family from it. Two is to homeschool my future children. Three is to make the phone stop ringing.

    Thank you for showing me that with a little courage, my big dreams are possible. I love your blog and look forward to reading the news from your farm daily.

  23. Melanie says:

    Love love love this website. I hope the tide turns for you soon and that phone stops ringing. A lot of people are struggling right now with the recession. You may not be rich in money, but believe me, you are rich in other ways. I sit in my office and check your blog on my lunch hour and wish I was doing what I WANTED to do instead of what I HAVE to do. :sheep:

  24. Sarah K says:

    I love this site! When I want to bake something, I literally set up the laptop in the dining room so I can read from it instead of printing stuff out. (The fridge can hold no more, and one of my cabinets that holds the cook books also holds an avalanche of printed recipes.) A cookbook would be welcome. =) Even if it’s one of those ones that’s printed on demand. I forget what they’re called… Another idea, I know you have a yearly calendar already, but what about coffee mugs and T-shirts through a service like cafe press? You’re an amazing person and an inspiration. =) I think it’s wonderful that you can do what you love and support yourself with it.

  25. Jane says:

    I found your blog through a comment someone left on Pioneer Woman. PW was my favorite forever – until I read yours. Now, I still go to PW first (she’s also first on my RSS) but I kind of rush it, and anticipate coming to CITR. I love this site, the comments, YOU! This is the only site where I will read a post 2 or 3 times. You would have made a wonderful teacher, as you teach me something of value every day .. and I don’t mean how to raise chickens either!
    So, thank you. Thanks for doing it – we all love you and appreciate all your effort.

  26. Melinda says:

    That’s why people like you so much…we can relate.
    As a side note……I thought this funny…my 19 year old daughter lives on her own and I recently found out SHE joined CITR and loves reading your stuff every day just as much as I do. I never mentioned it. She found it looking for a recipe! Small world we live in. :sheepjump:

  27. Kelly in TX says:

    THANK YOU for the tremendous amount of energy you put into this blog. You are clearly passionate about your chosen lifestyle and your enthusiasm is contagious. You are encouraging to those of us who are trying to live the country life, too, and inspiring to those who wish they could someday.

    THANK YOU for your honesty, your candor and your sincerity. Your efforts are valuable to more people than you know. Just turn off the ringer…if you and your family are healthy and happy, you are richly blessed.

  28. julie g. says:

    I wish you would have a subscribe or donate option on this site — I’d love to subscribe just as I subscribe to a favorite magazine. And I’d love the money to go directly from my wallet to yours — you’re worth it, Suzanne!

  29. Barbie says:

    Suzanne, I have been thinking about you all day wondering how you can do all that you do with your farm animals, cooking, crafting, and writing this wonderful blog. Then I checked CITR before going to bed and read your latest post. I want to thank you so much for more than you can ever know about how you have helped me just by your example of what you do every day with your children and your animals.

  30. Nancy in Iowa says:

    I have to repeat what others have said – thank YOU!!! I don’t like to cook, I never bake, I have no garden, I’m in an apartment with only my cat as livestock, my daughter is grown and has a 1-year old boy I just spent time with during my recent 4000+ mile road trip to Savannah. BUT – you are still my inspiration, friend, companion, and teacher. Thank you for every post you bring to me!!! :sun:

  31. Melissa says:

    Say what??!! People make money at this blog thingy? I’m excited for you and the money you are making. What a blessing.

  32. Merlin says:

    You know what they say,”It’s better to give than to receive.” You give more to anyone on this blog than anything! :hug:

  33. Zusiqu says:

    I’m honored to be counted among your audience.

  34. AnnieB says:

    Suzanne, when I started to read this post I started getting scared that you were going to bow out. I actually started to cry. This blog, this web site, is so great, and so special, and you touch lots and lots of people. CONGRATS on having a good year, and GOD BLESS YOU for your passion and love of life, and I hope you can keep HANGING IN THERE. There are lots of people who truly care about you. You are a passionate and very talented woman and you are doing something that lots of people can’t do – you are doing what makes you happy. And that is surely something to hold on to. YOU GO GIRL!!!!

  35. heidiannie says:

    I was reading your writer’s blog- and I kept coming back then. Since you have done this real life make-over I have enjoyed getting to know you and your family better.
    I started writing a blog because of your tips on blogging- I’ve experimented with making my own mixes and I’ve started letting my dreams inch toward reality.
    Thank you for your honesty and courage. Thank you for your determination and for striving for excellence. Thanks for sharing your sense of humor.
    And thanks for not giving up.

  36. pam from ohio says:

    Thank you Suzanne, for providing such down to earth stories for all of us, and congratulations on the big year. Maybe you can start taking a day off here and there to smell your roses. Your devoted fans will still be here! Love to you and your family.

  37. kerri says:

    Suzanne, I’m so glad to hear that your hard work is finally paying off. You bring a great deal of pleasure to us and we are most grateful for all the effort you put into your posts.
    Everyone deserves some time off, especially hard workers like yourself. Take a break when you need it and please don’t feel quilty about it.
    I wish you and your family a blessed and happy Thanksgiving :hug:

  38. Linda Distlehorst says:

    Please don’t think about not doing CITR. It is the first thing I read in the morning and I always look forward to it. The animal stories are my favorite!

  39. claudia w says:

    Suzanne, it is us (we?) who should be thanking you. Through all your writings, we have been enlightened and entertained. We’ve all made new friends and learned new things, and…relearned old things. I for one have seen some very beautiful places and things and laughed out loud at animal antics. Cried for and with you, and laughed with you.
    Thank you so much for all you have done for us!

  40. cricketjett says:

    Thank you, Suzanne!! I have always gotten through life with the notion that tomorrow is a new day. Life has it’s lows but also gives us the highs. Your blog has been my high ever since I found your site. I am one of those that visits several times a day. You have been an inspiration to me, and in turn has not only lighten my days, but my family also. Thank you for being the person that you are: a good mother, a good friend, a hard worker, and a person who has a giving heart to the people you know and the people you touch on your blog. I believe you have only success to look forward to in your life. Thanks again and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  41. texwisgirl says:

    Very glad to hear you’re seeing some financial growth. You deserve to be well compensated for the passion and hard work you put into your posts as well as your farm and family. You are an inspiration with your energy, your humor, and your unyielding drive. May you succeed 10x over! 2011 has all the promise you can imagine! God bless!

  42. LeaAnn says:

    I too wasn’t quite sure where you were going with this post. I was afraid you were going to stop and close up shop. You have given me so much these past three years. Thank you and God bless you and your family.

  43. Miss Becky says:

    Suzanne you are such an enormous inspiration for me, and you deserve this and so much more. Through this blog I’ve shared so much with you. You write beautifully of your family history, traditions, celebrations, and daily life in the country. I’m so blessed to be familiar with that daily routine, your struggles, and your ups and downs there on Stringtown Rising Farm. Thank you for sharing your beautiful life. You lift me and so many others up each and every day because you write from the heart, and that’s everything. :heart: :hug:

  44. gen@scarletacres says:

    Thanks for sharing these very personal and candid details. I appreciate knowing that simply by visiting, reading and enjoying your work that I am thereby providing a stable and sustainable livelihood for you and your family. It is so important to support the work of others as directly as possible. Thank you for writing!!!

  45. Edie says:

    I too think a cookbook and other items would be a wonderful idea! Keep up the good work and thanks for still keeping in touch with all of us even when the tiredness takes over! :happyflower:

  46. Enjay says:

    I have to chime in and say I too was afraid you were going to bow out, When you said you were tired my brain started saying nonononono and I had to scan ahead to check for some sort of good bye before I could settle back down and read the rest of the post.
    You are a very talented writer, and I am blessed to have your voice in my life. Thank you.

  47. Bev in CA says:

    Dear Suzanne, yes, I wondered for a moment and my heart sank thinking you were going to embark on something taking you away from us. As a woman who is sliding into her 69th year I find that each day starts with CITR. I too check in sevral times a day. For a laugh, something good to cook, daily adventures, local history, and great pics. Your inspire and teach us. Most of all you show striving for a goal is what life is all about. Do take a break, you deserve it. Blessing and a big Thank You!

  48. lizzie says:

    Thank you!!! for all you do and teach!!! Hubby now follows the site and asks how is Suzanne doing? when he comes home from work. It is nice to know that there are REAL people with REAL problems like the rest of us, out in this great big world, but when I come here and read this blog life some how seems ok! always brings a smile to my face, really want to THANK YOU!!!!!!! :heart:

  49. Elizabeth says:

    The thank you works both ways. Yes, you were writing and believing that we would come, but we were all looking for something – not sure what it was – and there you were. Thank YOU for what you write, it is so honest and heartfelt and shows such perception and understanding. I look forward to reading your blog every day and hope I will find the inspiration to do more toward achieving my goals. Let us know if we can do more to help.

  50. AA says:

    Well, that was scarey for a minute there! My first thought was that you were going to stop writing CITR. SO happy that you are making money at it now. I feel encouraged that you will stick around for a while. I hope so. You deserve it so much. Dare I say so much more than some I read that make a lot? Keep up the good work. Don’t change too much.

  51. Mary at Deep South Dish says:

    It’s pretty clear from the comments here that you have a lot of people who love you. I only found you recently – and I am more a lurker than a participant – but count me in as one of those people. I know there are many. I am glad the hard work is paying off. Thank you for well, being you and I wish you much success!

  52. SD Sue says:

    Dear, dear Suzanne, what would we do without you? We would cry, and be sad and not laugh nearly as much as we do with your GB tales, outhouses and football games. We NEED you Suzanne and are so thankful that you have hung in there and kept writing and posting and living the farm life for us! Yours is the first website that I access daily, even before looking at the Family Readiness Group website to see if my son has returned to Italy from Afghanistan. Keep the faith baby, you are number one to all of us.

  53. marybeth says:

    Suzanne, THANK YOU! I’m not one to write often, I’m more of a quiet lurker ๐Ÿ™‚ I do love your site, and because of you I get to dream, even though vicariously. I grew up on a farm and I miss it. My job is stressful and I’m not currently in a position to make the leap of faith you have. But, YOU have taught me to make bread from scratch, which I find so fulfilling. Soon I plan to learn to make soap! I live in Oregon, all the way across the country from you. Even though I don’t have what you have, in a way, I connect to my roots through you. You thank us, but honestly, we thank you.

  54. Amy says:

    It’s all been said Suzanne, but is there anything more we can do to help you? Would clickng on the ads bring you more revenue? I have no intention of ever purchasing a Buick Lacross or whatever the newest gadget AT&T has come up with, but they don’t know that.

  55. SD Sue says:

    Oops forget to Thank YOU for the Grandmother bread recipe! My husband loves it so much he offered to learn how to make it so I wouldn’t have to make it every other day for him!!!!

  56. marybeth says:

    P.S. even my husband knows who you are (through me), and thinks Glory Bee is pretty darn cute!

  57. Nancy K. says:

    I suspect you will only be receiving welcomed phone calls within the next year. Your blog is delightful. You’ve built a huge fan base and have loyal followers. I understand your desire to work from home. I’m the same way. I’m willing to work 90 hours a week ~ slaving over my animals and trying to get my online store and home based business up and running ~ in order to avoid working 40 hours a week for someone else…

    Enjoy your success. You’ve earned it!

  58. Karen says:

    Everyone has already said it all but one thing….Suzanne, you are my hero!

  59. Pat in Nebraska says:

    :snoopy: We love reading every word you write. Thank you!

  60. Myrna Mackenzie says:

    Suzanne, I’m thrilled that the blog can continue to grow and thrive (and hopefully end those phone calls). By way of supplemental stuff to help out, I’m wondering…do you have the rights back to any of your books? A fellow writer recently suggested Backlist ebooks to me (but I don’t have any of my rights back). She told me that some authors affiliated with the group are receving regular small (but monthly) payments for their out of print books. Also, people here have suggested before that they would like to buy something like a children’s book from you. I understand your reluctance to step back into the publishing world. You’re already busy enough. Still, Christmas is coming, and I would buy a self published children’s book from you. Maybe…via a self publishing site like Lulu or one of the others? I’ve got a 4 year old nephew who would love a book about the farm with some of your signature animal photos. Or, as someone else mentioned here, I’d buy Chickens in the Road mugs or a bag (Zazzle has nice mugs. Not cheap, but…have I mentioned that Christmas is coming and I haven’t done my shopping yet? I’ve made mugs as giveaways for contests through Zazzle and they’re nice. You can create one and have it up for sale in a matter of minutes, same as Cafe Press). Oh, and if you ever do an alternate calendar with food or country living photos (heck, I’d buy one with photos of homemade soap or crafts or your candles…or even the river crossing, etc.,.), that would be great.

  61. Grammie Earth says:

    THANK YOU! You now have a two year old fan as well! My grandson came through the door this weekend, sat down at the computer and said “Baaa, baaa, buk, buk, buk”! Clearly he wanted to see your videos again! His nine month old sister was leaning around the couch so she could see too! Keep up the great work.

  62. Grammie Earth says:

    Ohhh, and how can we help with more money? Is it opening your site, or does it make more the longer we are here? I guess I am asking if I leave CITR on all day would it make you more money than if I just check it several times a day?

  63. Tracey In Paradise,Pa. says:

    :snoopy: Thank you for a job well done..May you be blessed richly for all your labor!!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!
    HUgs Granny Trace

  64. cobby says:

    Hi Suzanne,
    We all love reading your blog so it should be “Thank You” to you.. You have opened your home to us on a daily basis to teach us the ways of living a better more self sustaining life. As I sit down at my desk job every day the first thing I do is open CITR and get so much joy. Your forum also has the most helpful people with the most encouraging answers…
    Wishing you and your readers a blessed 2011!

    Goose Creek, SC

  65. lauren says:

    Congrats!!! Im so glad to see you are having success ๐Ÿ™‚

  66. greensborodailyphoto says:

    If you were in my house right now, you would hear clapping. And extra clapping for the fact that you have found a way to generate revenue from a blog!

  67. Leah says:

    Remember when a while back you were looking for other ways to make money? I suggested photography. I still think you could do it. Your pictures are wonderful everyone says so. You certainly have experience. Oh yeah and you sold a photo, well sorta. :heart:

  68. Kelly says:

    It’s too bad that the joy you bring to so many can’t turn into $$$ because you would be extremely wealthy. Thanks for your writings. I start my day with you and it always brings a smile. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      For those of you who asked about the ads, you don’t need to click on them! (Unless you want to. But it doesn’t do anything for me if you click on them. They are page impression ads, meaning they count just because you opened the page they were on.)

  69. Gem says:

    How about a donation button?

  70. SandyCWV says:

    Suzanne – Thank You for your stories and for helping some of us small farmers that enjoying the farm is just as important as our other job. One thing that might help with the amount of money you spend on fence and things, if you aren’t doing this already. Raise something to sell and then you can look into registering your farm as a business and get the expenses of the business counted as tax deductions. That has helped many people get their farms going. You can even list the work you have already done.

  71. Carol Langille says:

    I DO know what that ringing phone means and it is a terrible thing. All you can do is what you have done…find a dream, work passionately and move forward with the deep understanding that wealth (or even a silent phone) is not so much what goes in the bank account as what enriches your heart. You have done that for yourself here and you have done it for me as well.
    THANK YOU!!!

  72. Julie says:

    I’ve always heard that success in life means following your passion. Here’s to many more successful years for you, and I do hope that it becomes financially successful for you as well. I can remember when Pioneer Woman was simply Ree and another homeschool mom on The Well Trained Mind forums I used to lurk around on and one day she said, “I have a blog, go check it out.” I’d like to see you have the same kind of success. I’ll be happily following along when you do. Cheers and have a Happy Thanksgiving! :happyflower:

  73. JOJO says:

    Suzanne ,I know we all hope this next year will bring you what you need to have piece of mind. I have often wondered how you manage just the work on the farm, much less the finacial aspect. It has to be extremely overwhemling at times. I know most all of us can relate some of those feelings. I have been there, I know that sickening feeling of wondering how will I get through today much less tomorrow.
    Good people are rewarded, some time it just takes a while, I really do believe that. Lets hope yours is soon.
    Thank you for all of the good times you have given us while going through the awful times. So many times we read your stories and think —I would love her life, but how many of us are strong enough to live it? Not many I think, it is not just the physical work, it is the constant fear and worry. You are an extremely strong woman.

  74. Ramona says:

    Glad to hear that this year is better! I understand cause my hubby is self employed…..

  75. Katie M says:

    Even though they were never great for your finances, I’m so glad you wrote romance novels because I found this website through SBTB, and now I visit at least once a day. I love this site, and since Thanksgiving is almost upon us, let me just say thanks for everything you’ve shared with us.

    P.S. I was watching “The Walking Dead” (the AMC zombie show) the other night and thinking of you – I bet you’d do a lot better in a zombie apocalypse than most of us – you’d be eating mushroom melts while we have tins of beans!

  76. Tina says:

    Suzanne, I can’t say it any better than anybody else did so I’ll just second all the positive things commenters have said. My personal addendum is this: Thank YOU, honey, for being YOU and for sharing yourself and your life with all of us with your excellent words and glorious photography. Karma, baby, you sow the good stuff.

  77. I Wanna Farm says:

    I totally understand the money thing. We had to file bankruptcy last year and lost our home. I’m so happy for you that things are finally looking up financially. You have a beautiful thing out there and you’ll be able to embrace it even more when those people stop calling (I say harrassing) you. I’m glad you’re out there writing this every day; my entire experience of farm life depends on being able to live through your experiences, and it might always be that way, who knows! I tell everyone about your site and share things on FB often. I’ve had people thank ME for showing them your site, and you deserve that credit! Keep going, never give up.

  78. mintamichelle says:

    For what its worth…..I concur whole-heartedly with the others…I found this site at a time in my life that I am just starting out on my own ranch….nothing exists here, but the land. Everything I do, I have to do myslef and I ALWAYS think of you…”Well, if Suzanne can do it, so can you! Stop whining” I am loving it and love the support and joy I get from reading your site.

  79. beth Brown says:

    Thank you so much for this post Suzanne. I love hearing about others dreams and just naturally assume that other people are doing so much better than me. I feel sometimes that I am the only person not raking in tons of money because I much prefer doing what I love to do rather than worrying too much about how much money I make. Your website is such a huge part of my day. And seriously, your recipes – even from early on — have totally changed the way I cook and feed my family. I don’t think too many people would be as honest as you were in this post (and actually, all of your blog) but you’ve made my week, my month even. LOL! I can stand proud knowing that I’m not the only one who may live hand to mouth but truly loves their life!
    Beth One old goat

  80. Myrna Mackenzie says:

    Also meant to say…this was a good reminder to me to remember to vote every day! (The extra publicity and the $500 couldn’t hurt).

    I discovered your blog years ago back when I was doing one of those “whatever happened to my fellow writers? searches.” I was wondering what you were up to, Suzanne (a bit weird, I know, because you were still writing at the time), and there you were with this very entertaining (and useful) blog. Wishing you the best and more visitors every day!

  81. Gen-IL Homesteader says:

    Oh my! I thought you were going to say that you were done blogging!! :hissyfit: That would be SOOOO sad! I’m glad you’re going to continue with it and that it’s becoming more profitable for you! :hug: As you can see, your blog is a favorite of so many people! What you write is absolutely delightful! God Bless You!

  82. Miss Mae says:

    Suzanne, it’s awesome that you made 21K writing for Harlequin. Girl, that is a dream of mine currently unreachable! ๐Ÿ™‚

    But I am so proud of you for what you’ve done and are doing with CITR. This site is a jewel within the wasteland of the vast internet garbage.

    Thank you for dreaming, and for holding course, to this beautiful accomplishment. ๐Ÿ™‚

  83. Joy says:

    I agree with whomever said to put up a donation button….or you could call it a love donation for those of us who would just love to give you a little extra.

  84. Lynne says:

    I must admit, when I opened this post I thought it was going to be an annoucement to end CITR. I’m so happy it’s not, I really enjoy your site. I love that you post new entries on the weekends, but the other sites that I visit do not, but maybe you should take a couple of days off for yourself as well?

    Anyway, I love my 2011 calendar!!


  85. JeannieB says:

    Suzanne, I was just about to cry, when I read this page. You will never know how much your blog means to me. I started reading 3 years ago and you helped me with the grief that I wasn’t handling very well. I had lost my best friend, my sister Linda. If not for your blog and the forum, I would have been in deep trouble. I admire you so much, you are living the life many of us desire but don’t have the courage to start. Don’t give up, and ignore the phone, you have much more important things to do!

  86. Shirley T says:

    I have to admire you for all the hardships in the winter season. I love reading your blog and love the photos. I am an old West Va girl myself. Growing up in the WVA mounains was hard on us too. That ole’ out-house toilet seat was really cold during the winter season. That ole’ sears robuck catalog was hard on the hiney too. We had a chamber pot(we called the slop jar) that we used during the night and it was my job to carry it to the outhouse in the mornings. That was tough when it got really icy and slick and I WAS just a little girl. Still don’t know why my mom didn’t make the boys do it.

  87. Shirley T says:

    Thank you Suzanne, for making my morning coffee time more pleasant. I’m retired and I love watching you work on the farm.Not that I envey you any,just saying.

  88. Cindy says:

    Oh, Suzanne–I think you’d be surprised to find out how many of us have been in your shoes. I absolutely know what you mean about incessant phone calls. And I’ve been where you’ve been while working at a job that I absolutely hated, which is particularly disheartening. If you’re going to be broke, it’s good to be doing something you love! Keep up the good work. CITR makes my day!

  89. leavesofthefall says:

    Inspiring post, Suzanne! You just prove that with hard work, determination and a bit of crazy (dreamin’) thrown in the mix, good things comeโ€ฆ

    Keep up the good work, and for cryin’ out loud give yourself a little break and UNPLUG that phone! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Kudos to you.

  90. Cin says:

    Sometimes I forget how hard you work. Between the farm and kids and writing,(not to mention living your life) and I apologize for that. I visit your site at least once a day, if not more. Saying thanks seems so insignificate for all that you’ve shared with us.

    Perhaps you could put a donation button here so that all of us got a chance to feed cookies to your animals too!=)


  91. Dessa says:

    :snoopy: Very, very cool!

  92. trish c says:

    This Thanksgiving I am thankful for my daughter’s new heart. Six months since her surgery and for this blog. You were my moment of sanity every morning for the last two years during my daughters illness. I have made a few of your recipes. Other than that I have no interest in owning a farm, or making my own soap etc. Yet this is my first stop every morning and I enjoy it immensely. I get excited when I see the newsletter in my email. I LOVE the animal stories and pics and share them with my grandaughter.
    Her very favorite part of Little Lamb, Little Lamb is the farmer boots pic standing in the mud. She loooooves it.
    Please know that I have laughed and cried with you and although you didn’t know it, you helped me through the worst time of my life.
    Thank you for being here. Continued success. You deserve it.

  93. Lisa says:

    You inspire me every day. You make me believe that it’s possible to follow one’s dream. You are my hero.

  94. wkf says:

    Just unplug the da(finish the way you want) phone. Know that you and your work are appreciated. Ya done good chicka!

  95. Lisabeth Olson says:

    Dear Suzanne, I have read many of the responses to your post today and not wanting to be formal, I still need to do this. I agree with every one that has spoken here of all the encouragement you give each of us. I am relatively new here and I have come to depend on your love and honesty, instruction and uplifting spirit.
    I pray for you daily and wish there were something more I could do to make things better for you, but again there is only one thing that I know works.
    Father in heaven I pray for Suzanne and hold her up to you and ask that you strengthen her in finances and love. I pray you will enable her to continue to BLESS others through her blog and web site. I pray rest daily as she walks a road that not many can walk. I pray you give her volunteers to pay for the needs she has and the help the wants for the entire farm, blog and web site. I pray safety for her and her children especially the son in the Navy. May he have traveling mercies and come home safe and be in contact with Suzanne all that time. May he also get a good education so he will be in good line for his future. May her other children be a BLESSING to her in all her work. I pray the weather in WV not be overwhelming for her this winter and that the hay last all year. May You keep the animals healthy and the fences together. BLESS our friend and may every road she travel be born of YOUR GOOD WILL. Amen

  96. Ellen says:

    :heart: Suzanne, I have been thinking many times about this entry on the blog since you posted it. I changed careers after a couple of layoffs in a row and became a teacher; which meant incurring big student loan debt and cutting my income in half. I have no regrets but can relate to your struggles (esp. the ATM one!). Once during grad school I was mugged at an ATM by a crackhead who took my last $20. I think you have a finger on the pulseof what all Americans are doing – reexamining what is important in our lives and living with less, and loving life. You make me want to buy a farm and move to the country…then my husband will point out how he hates bugs and that’s that. Thanks for what you do…and for inspiring the rest of us who are your ‘soul sisters’. :snoopy: :snoopy:

  97. laurie says:

    o thank you for the WILL to keep trying. You have infused me with pride and community and the will to keep trying .
    and for doing what you love and working through the challenges. A little networking and trust. Action. And then there’s love.
    Thank you for loving US!
    laurie in st. louis

  98. Carrie says:

    This is my favorite website of all time. I loved this post…so thank YOU! I can’t wait for the retreat. I am going to learn a lot. Keep up the good work, you have touched many and are very brave to let so many into your personal life on the farm and with your family.

  99. MalagaCove says:

    Yeah you! I hadn’t found this post before, but it was well timed. I work in a farm stand, part time and seasonally. We use the $ to pay down our debt and for “fun,” and live on DH’s salary. I make around $1,000 year.

    Last year, I had my first pro publication, which netted about $500. And I have to tell you that going back to Tech. Writing looked really good by comparison.

    I have (unfinished) a memoir, kitchen book, and novel. And I know enough about the business to know that no matter what, if I’m lucky and get them all published, it will yield about oh 6k, and that’s if I’m lucky enough to sell them.

    We’ve got .9 acre, and I’ve already decided that next year I’ll try and grow some organic snow peas and shell beans for resale, there are two small markets I can probably sell to.

    I may have another job with a nursery, planting small plugs for resale. None of this is going to make me rich, but it will help.

    And I think I must be crazy. If I spent a year updating my skills/resume/wardrobe, there’s a good chance I could get a “real” job in Q/A or Tech. Writing again, and I just can’t make myself do that, but keep plugging away at the garden and other projects… sure that no matter what doing what I love has to be better than simply being someone I don’t want to be to do a job I don’t really want to do, for money.

    Thanks again!


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