White Pickets


One of my fencing projects this week involves fencing in the house and studio grounds. Fencing in this area requires little more than a straight shot along the road to connect up the existing fencing (with a short shot at connecting to the rear barn yard). The work began yesterday at the drive, setting heavy posts for the double gates.

There is a section of white picket on either side of the drive.

The picket fencing I’m using is what I found in the barn, left by the previous owners.

I’m using field fencing to connect up to the rear barn yard.

I love, love, love the new “grand entrance” with the gates! These gate posts will be painted white to match the picket fencing, and dusk-to-dawn lights will be placed atop each tall gate post. (I’ll probably leave these gates open most of the time, but it’s nice to know I can close them if I want/need to.)

The field fencing also goes up the bank to the house–that would be a difficult spot to use the picket fencing, and it sorta disappears using the wire anyway.

Once up at the house, the white picket fencing starts up again. The support posts for the picket fencing will be painted white to match. I think the picket fencing looks really cute with the little old farmhouse. Quaint. I love it. (Some individual pickets are missing–I have them, and they’ll be replaced by the time it’s all done.)

I have just enough picket fencing to go up alongside the studio, then they’ll finish with field fencing to connect up to the upper pasture.

If an animal were to escape from any of the connecting fields in this direction, they would still be inside fencing, making an easy “catch” for me. It also means that I can move animals (such as cows or sheep) from the front or rear barn yard to the further fields, inside fencing, without going through the goat yard. Right now, all roads lead to the goat yard, and to move animals back and forth from the further fields means getting past goats. Anyone who has/knows goats will understand why this is a big hassle. Now I can bypass the goat yard when moving animals. It also will allow me a secure location for dog visitation on the porch. A dog won’t be able to leap from the porch in a short, fast, straight shot down the bank to the road ever again.

And beyond all of that animal convenience, fencing in the house and studio grounds feels good in some other, more visceral, way, The house feels a little exposed atop this bank by the road. The fencing and gates make me feel more cocooned. This is more of a feeling than a reality, but I like the feeling anyway. I also think it looks nice. I’ll post more photos when this is all completed.

I’m really enjoying this fencing palooza. While I may not be doing the fencing myself, I’m actively involved in it, planning, directing, managing. I love managing this farm on my own. Making plans, and directing their realization. I’m also loving seeing it all start to come together, these little dreams and plans I’ve simmered over the winter. Today, work will continue to finish the house and studio grounds fencing. Tomorrow, the superboys will be back, finishing the Park field, and I have another guy coming to put up electric and make minor repairs (including replacing the gate) in the horse field to prepare for Patriot.

By the end of the week, I’ll be moving animals. Which is a good thing because–

Look at that. The gate isn’t even off the hinges now, so I have no idea how she’s doing it, but that sheep has figured out that she can get out and she’s getting out every day. She doesn’t go anywhere. She’s always right outside the fence, eating the green, green grass, waiting for me to come let her back in. That’s Miss Crazy Jacob, who has, by the way, become much friendlier to me since I’ve spent so much quality time with the sheep this winter in the front barn yard.

P.S. It’s time to call the shearing man! I would really love to have some of my wool processed. If anyone can recommend a place that will process raw wool, please let me know!


  1. Dottie says:

    Oh how beautiful. I kove this new farm.

    When you start moving the sheep and goats do you have
    to worry about them eating too much of that beautiful
    green grass at one time? Can they colic like a horse?

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Dottie, they can (and this is especially worrisome to me with cows!) but they have started eating grass already. It’s good to transition them. As the grass is beginning to grow in the goat yard and barn yards, they are eating more grass now than hay already–short as it is in the barn yards (because they keep eating it as fast as it grows!), it is transitioning them.

  2. Dottie says:

    OOPS – sorry about the typo.

    I LOVE this new farm.

  3. brookdale says:

    Love all the picket fencing! It will look really nice when it’s finished.
    And I LOVE the little stone wall along the front yard! There probably are more of them on your property, too, with all the stones around to build them.
    You have a lovely home there, Suzanne. Looking forward to more pics.

  4. bonita says:

    Re: “fencing in the house and studio grounds feels good in some other, more visceral, way,…”
    Yes, it would be. It’s a great physical and visual manifestation of you ‘staking your claim.’ It says, “I’m here and I intend to stay awhile. Doubters be gone.”
    You’ve even filed your claim (incorporation papers)!
    Congrats kiddo.

  5. Free bird says:

    Hi Suzanne-
    I started reading your blog after you were on WV public radio. as another WV woman who loves to farm, i became a faithful reader. i have a farm and a great pyr, and my sister raises jacobs in michigan. your site made me feel good every day. it inspired me to be true to what i wanted my life to be. so when a friend at work asked me if i knew of your site, i said yes, but silently wondered why i hadn’t checked in for many many months. the answer is that life got in the way. so i checked in again, to get a farm fix, and as i was looking around the site i saw the post titled Snap. i had to read it through twice and then look at other posts to make sure i understood.

    what got in the way of my life was my verbally and emotionally abusive husband. who became physically abusive and violent. so the words in your Snap post made me vibrate to the core. they rang inside my head like church bells. and they opned my eyes and my heart to where i am now. which is almost divorced after a 34 year marriage, back on my farm with some help from the courts, back with my animals. we planned to have a homestead when we got married all those years ago. but my ex threw down obstacles and insults with every step i took toward that life style. his words scarred my heart and tore my soul. but those wounds have healed a lot in the last year, and your post made me realize that i need to get on with it now, with my homestead, with being a farmer. for if you can do all that you did while under someone’s thumb, if you have the courage and the strength to leave your farm and create your life on a new one, i can darn well kick this inertia to the curb and get on with my life, too. time to tackle overdue fence repairs and hang a gate at the end of the drive – something i’ve wanted for a couple of years now. and i’ll be a regular reader again – because you are a wouderful inspiration to me, and your site awlways makes me feel good. my time to be a farmer has finally arrived.

    and maybe i’ll even get some jacob lambs from my sister. 🙂

  6. CATRAY44 says:

    Love the fencing…. Did I miss the big “Surprise”?

    Free Bird- I hope you get some babies- what a great symbol of New Life!

  7. enjay says:

    I like https://www.lambandwool.com/ Thirteen Mile lamb and wool, I’ve bought a few fleeces from Becky over the years and have always enjoyed their products.
    If I may ask, why not process it yourself? Washing is simple, oh wait, unless you don’t have carding equipment? I carded my fleeces with wire dog brushes (I think pet stores call them slicker brushes?) and spun them that way until I broke down and bought a carding machine, but I’ll still get out the dog brush “hand carders” for small batches of fiber and for blending samples.

  8. holstein woman says:

    Suzanne, you make me smile with all the beauty you are perfecting at Sassafras.

  9. GA_in_GA says:

    I have bought roving from Jehovah Jireh Farm and been quite pleased with every one. http://www.woolmill.com

    Now if I can just learn to spin my own yarn . . .

  10. NancyL says:

    Suzanne, I’m so proud of all you are accomplishing AND all you still plan to do. The farm house is lovely up on its hill, and the white pickets add a wonderful touch.

    Free bird: Suzanne is an inspiration to many of us, even those who – like me – have only an apartment and a cat! She gets it done!

    Hugs and cheers to both of you.

  11. sunhurteyes says:

    Process your own wool…smooth!!!

  12. Joell says:

    You home is lovely, and the picket fencing is perfection, I can see a couple of evergreen wreaths on the front gates during the holiday season. You can always tell when there is peace, love and happines in a home, it shows something special on the outside as well,and now your home has that look.

  13. knititblack says:

    I’ve used both Zeilinger Wool Company (https://www.zwool.com/) and Spinderella’s Fiber Mill (https://www.spinderellas.com/) with great success. 🙂 They’re both very nice and helpful, and the wool comes out looking lovely!

  14. CATRAY44 says:

    Did I miss the surprise? :shocked:

  15. FreedomValleyFarm says:

    Just wondering, did you intentionally put the small holes at the top of the fence? In case it was a mistake, I didn’t want you to get through the whole project before realizing it. Everything looks great though, and those “superboys” are amazing! :shimmy:

  16. boulderneigh says:

    While I know it is a TON of work and sometimes worry, I envy you being the captain of your own ship, master of your own farm. I love my family, but being independent suits me better.

  17. Blyss says:

    I have used Zielinger Wool and they are fabulous… but Amy F. At Jehovah Jireh Farm is a Neighbor (lives next town over) a friend and we used to co-lead a 4H group back when our kids were young! She does great work!
    I am echoing here…did I miss the surprise?

  18. liz2 says:

    The white picket fence is perfect for your house.

  19. Mrs.Mills says:

    I’ve only been exploring your website for the last hour, yet I already feel as if I can’t wait to find out more about you and your life. I admire women that find their strength. I look so forward to seeing your farm, your children, the critters and your friends. Thanks for doing this so others in harms way may be encouraged.

  20. BuckeyeGirl says:

    I’m wondering if the fence be tight enough that you can let the sheep into the front yard for at least part of a day each week to save you from having to mow so much! Would that be doable? Back in the day, that wasn’t such an odd thing to do!… of course I’m not so sure what flowers you are planting and how appetizing they would be to the sheep or goats… still, it’s a thought with all that extra fencing up! Not all summer or anything but for a while now maybe?

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      I’m going to set up some of that low decorative garden fencing around the beds–mostly to keep the dogs from racing through my lovely mulched beds–and then I might try the sheep. That would keep them from wandering into the flower gardens too easily.

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