Morgan’s working with Zip.

It’s been raining a lot here (suddenly! all at once day after day! after a long dry spell) and Morgan hasn’t ridden Zip yet since we got her home. Most evenings, riding time, it’s been storming, but generally Morgan just hasn’t been in a hurry to ride her. She wants to get more comfortable with Zip on the ground before she takes her out for a ride here. Zip has been very well-behaved and we’re thrilled to death with her.

Morgan practicing with Zip in the cross ties.

She’s been obsessively cleaning the barn. She spent three hours yesterday over-cleaning all three stalls then organizing her “horse” stuff.

After she took down the cross ties and removed the lead rope and halter, Zip stood as if she was still cross tied for about five minutes before she moved, which was kinda funny. We love Zip.

Meanwhile, I’m working with something a little tinier.

I got about 15 of them (including the goose) in the house last night.

There were a lot of questions/comments re the metal roosts. Metal roosts (supposedly) are healthier in terms of mite prevention. This is also true of PVC, though I’d have to buy PVC, and first you’d have to hold a gun to my head to get me to spend money on a chicken roost. On the downside, metal conducts cold and may be slippery (though I noticed my chickens had no trouble roosting on them last night). I’m more concerned about the cold factor, which I hadn’t considered when I was obsessively re-purposing materials for the chicken house–so I’ll be replacing them sometime soon with some free straight limbs from the woods. As to nesting boxes–this is an 8 x 8 space. There is plenty of room for nesting boxes if/when I want to add some. If I add some, it will be toward winter when the chickens are likely to spend more time in the house. The chicken house has ample space for feeders and waterers as well, if they end up wanting to hang in the chicken house a lot this winter. Around the back of the house, we left a very large overhang because I also might add a small run there for growing chicks. I could also build out to one side for an addition if I decide I want to try rabbits, or want more room for chickens. The most pressing thing I want to do right now with the house is get a LIGHT in there! Meanwhile, I’m just happy to have a chicken house.


As I told Morgan yesterday when she was obsessively cleaning the barn and pointing out to me spots where it was still leaking in the alleyway and the stalls, not to mention a drainage issue we have in the third stall, “We are just happy to have a barn.”

We’ve lived here for just under eight months. When I start going over the list of things that need done–the drainage issue in the third stall, lingering leaks in the alleyway and the stalls even after the roof re-coating, drainage issues in the barnyard, shelters that still need built in the pastures, clearing and brush hogging (not to mention a brush hog) for the far pastures, finishing the studio deck with incorporating a container garden, installing a second generator at the barn, leak issues in the cellar (notice there are a lot of water problems here), deep need for a riding mower and a weedeater that works, and on and ON, it can get overwhelming. The list seems nearly endless. Old house, old barn, old cellar. (If you buy an old farm, plan on a lot of WATER PROBLEMS.) Then I make another list of the things I have done in only eight months. All-new plumbing in the house and studio, repaired septic, remodeled studio, new or repaired fencing in almost every field, new gates, re-coating the barn roof, installing a hay elevator, putting up half the hay for this winter, a generator for the house and studio for the winter, a new chicken house, remodeled the goat house for winter use, a covered creep feeder for the goats, and I’ve even managed to keep this humongous place mowed and trimmed. We got two horses and are learning to ride and train them. And Glory Bee did get pregnant!

Somehow the rest will get done, too.

Just give me eight months.


  1. Murphala says:

    Girl, just reading this post made me want to go back to bed and pull my covers over my head! But you’ll get ‘er done. I know it! Couldn’t you just wrap the metal roosts with duct tape or something?
    Hang in there!

  2. BuckeyeGirl says:

    You are the awesome Suzanne! Your “to-do” list may never shrink much, but your “done” list is flourishing and that’s a good feeling.

  3. Cheryl LeMay says:

    I know EXACTLY how you feel. Old house, old barn and other buildings. Ditto, ditto. Problems ditto.You will always have a very long to do list, it’s just different things. One item gets crossed off only to be replaced by two or three more. It’s a way of life and I don’t necessarily think it’s the age of the place at fault either. Even if you were to live several lifetimes you will never run out of ideas or problems for your farm. That’s just the way it is.

  4. easygoinglady says:

    You have done SO MUCH in such a short time. Its NEVER all done, because as soon as you knock those things off the list, you will think of more to replace them. As a homeowner its a constant stream of TO DO lists. We prioritize whats most important. Its never all done till its sold, LOL.

  5. bbkrehmeyer says:

    Morgan needs to just hop up on xip. Get something sturdy to stand on and have her start by just leaning over her back
    I think she is a wonderfully calmhorse, and will be a great ride.

    . no saddle or bit and just ride her around the barn area bareback. she won.t buck.(when I was Morgans age I actually broke quarter horses on our ranch. We had over 500 hi bred quarter horses) zip can read her body language and knows she is somewhat afraid.
    I think you can buy pieces of rigid foam that is split on one side. not sure it would but maybe Its like what is put on pipes for insulation. maybe it would be too big. dont know the spread of a chickens foot! !!

  6. FreedomValleyFarm says:

    You have gotten an amazing amount of things done in 8 months! I have been at my farm for 8 years and your done list rivals mine. I know what you mean about the to do list though. The problem is for every 1 you cross off, 2 more go on. I guess that’s life. I’m trying to not worry and enjoy life with a perpetual, long to do list. If you find the secret to getting everything done- let me know!

  7. bonita says:

    ummm… excuse me, but you’re missing some things on the done list: deal with recalcitrant horses, feed teenagers, write comprehensive crock pot soap direx, edit/expand book mss, endure animal losses, play musical pastures with livestock, play musical cars/trucks with Ross, host rescue fundraiser, learn to drive truck, can jams and jellies, haul water during power outage, . . . You know the things that pop up, that have to be done-now, and can’t be put on a TO DO list.

  8. SwissMiss says:

    With an older farm and/or house there is always a project (or 100) to do. Keeps life interesting that way.
    Do you think that you could wrap the rods in maybe duct tape or another kind of covering? The main goal would be to keep wet chicken feet from freezing to the metal rods in winter. Also if you get electricity to the chicken house you could put a heat lamp in for the really cold nights and keep things warm enough.
    When my husband and I were first married he was a county Farm Bureau manager with a large urban school district in his county. A favorite teacher activity for Ag in the Classroom was hatching chicks in late winter early spring. Trouble was at that time nobody was really into raising chickens or had as many chickens as they wanted. Sometimes the teacher would find a grower who would provide the eggs and take the chicks afterwards but most times the chicks met an untimely end. Since we had both grown up with flocks of chickes and lived on an old farmstead at that time, he brought the different chicks home and they lived in a box in the kitchen until they were big enough to go to the old chicken house. One of the chicks grew up to be a rooster who looked a lot like your mean rooster but didn’t have the attitude. I thought he was beautiful and he was spared becoming a freezer meal like the other roosters. His favored place to roost was on a metal feeder in the chicken house. Sure enough that winter we had an extended cold snap and he got frostbite on his feet. I didn’t think he would survive it but he did, although he lost the ends of his toes and was rather tenderfooted for the rest of his life. Our chicken house didn’t have electricity so after that incident we ran several extension cord to the building so we could put a heat lamp out there for the really cold nights. When the next years chicks were ready my husband built a platform along one of the narrow walls and enclosed it with chicken wire. The floor was about chest high with two doors for easy access and it was about an arms length deep. The new chicks lived there until they were big enough to join the others. When there wasn’t chicks in there we would hook the doors up and the big chickens would hang out up there. They could look out the windows that way. Our chickens couldn’t roam as they seem to be drawn to the busy highway we lived on and didn’t follow the look both ways before you cross rule.


  9. GA_in_GA says:

    Okay, my solution for my roost that became necessary when my 2 chickens turned into 26 :bugeyed: . . . cut a sturdy straight sapling and trim it to length needed. Even used pieces of it to keep it in place in the coop. I had nails already and so other than the sweat, I incurred no cost.

    My big girls love their roost. The reason I now have 26 chickens is I hatched & raised chicks last winter. Down to 2 roos, and the rest are hens/pullets.

  10. easygoinglady says:

    a nice straight branch from a sassafrass tree should work well. they are strong and lightweight. I saw a fascinating way one was made into a cane.

  11. Cheryl LeMay says:

    I forgot to ask if you have a solid door for your chicken coop to swap out for the wire one when winter comes. I can see the snow piling up in there. Also put a pan of feed in there to lure them in.

  12. Nicola Cunha says:

    Love your attitude! Way to go! We don’t have kids so when people exclaim at anything we do I’m surprised and it’s the first thing I say !
    Love all your pics and videos! We’re in Montreal moving to a 17 acre farm at the end of Sept and can’t wait. It’s a house and barn and that’s it so a nice big blank slate :snoopy:


  13. Rose H says:

    I too am in awe of the amazing things you HAVE acomplished in these short 8 months, :woof: and then to cap it all wonderful news for Glory Bee :moo: clever girl! :shimmy:

  14. MJ Krech says:

    I really love this post! The looking backward-looking forward. Where you’ve come from-where you’re going. Taking stock of what you’ve accomplished makes you realize how far you’ve come. How much you have to be grateful for even in if you’ve got twice as much looming in your future. I like that about you, Suzanne. You are a hard-working do-er with a good dose of relish-er tossed in the mix. And I like the sharing part, too! Keep it up, Suzanne! You are livin’ the dream, girl!

  15. joykenn says:

    Amazing what you’ve accomplished lately! (Do you sleep lady) Add in painting the interior of the house, buying 2 horses, recovering from a bad relationship, getting your master gardener certs and writing and getting published a book. Hey, sure you are TWO women instead of just one!

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