I Can’t Even Blame the Deer


We think the thornless blackberries, the peach tree, and the grapes are dead. Curses! What is that about? It’s certainly rained plenty. And so we will start again, replanting the orchard. This farming-from-scratch thing is for the birds sometimes! Why don’t I have an abundant orchard already in action? And, oh yeah, a barn. I know, I know, that’s what I get for deciding to create a farm from scratch. Toil and trouble goes with the territory. We shall overcome!

At least the deer haven’t bothered us. (Yet.) Georgia’s fabulous garden was ransacked last week. After having an extra-high enclosure built to defeat the deer that have jumped her fence the past two years, the electric was accidentally left off and the deer ate all her just-ready peas.

Meanwhile, back at our garden, we (that royal we again) built a giant planter box for a flower garden. A hundred dollars of topsoil later, the dirt’s still low, but I went ahead and planted. More dirt can be added next year. It’s time to plant and I didn’t see another hundred dollars falling from the sky.

I put sunflowers all along the back, then several rows of gladioli and lily bulbs (that will have to be dug up and replanted later if I’m going to add new dirt). In front, I placed tall marigolds and a “cut-and-come again” mix. This box should be gorgeous in a few months! I love flowers.

Our peas are coming along in the vegetable garden.

We’ve got flowers on the tomato plants, but we’ll have to replant the green beans. Not quite sure what happened to them……

Cucumbers, zucchini, and squash are doing well!

This is the pot I’m looking forward to this year. It’s filled with flowering cabbages. I’ve never grown these before, so I’m excited about them.

I got these cool old wash tubs at an auction last year. They’ve found their place as planters at the bottom of the main steps. They’re filled with flowers, cherry tomatoes, and peppers.

All of this activity was made possible by the shadowy figure that is 52.

I tried to convince Coco to come down to the yard with us while we were gardening. We’re hoping to have the goat enclosure ready in the next week or so and then Coco will move in there. In the meantime, she’s been romping on our porch where we have locking gates to keep her in. (And I’ve been scooping up puppy piles.)

She really wanted to come garden with me.

But what are these things called stairs?

I realized that every time she’d gone up and down the stairs, I’d carried her. So I tried to convince her that she could maneuver them on her own. After all, I can’t carry her when she weighs 100 pounds.

She wasn’t having anything to do with those freakish stairs!

She went back and plopped down by her water dish and sulked.

What was this post about? Something about….gardening? I am nuts over this puppy.

I am Coco-nutty!

If the next post you see is nothing but photographs of Coco, I’m sure you’ll understand. Or have me committed. Be kind! Look how CUTE she is!!! Can you blame me? What else is there when faced with such cuteness?


  1. liz in NY says:

    I love reading all about your “farm” life. Coco is beautiful.Thank you for sharing!

  2. Patricia Herman says:

    I love see pictures of Coco. Your garden is looking good. For some reason this year I had to replant my green beans too. Second time was successful. Have a great week!!!

  3. connie says:

    Coco is a darlin..I love the pictures of her..

  4. angiecmt says:

    Loved your posts about the garden, understand some working out and others not.

    But, loved the photos of Coco – I would be taking just as many pictures ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Ann from Montana says:

    So sorry about the various gardening catastophes!

    I can neither “blame” nor critize the volume of puppy photos there have been or will be. I bought a new digital camera in anticipation of my Karelian Bear Dog puppy 7 years ago and imagine I have thousands of puppy pictures and who knows how many since. ( I did finally upgrade my camera…)

    Coco has so much personality in her face and expression – NO ONE could resist! I think big dogs have a harder time getting used to stairs than smaller – maybe their perspective??? – She’ll get it! Meanwhile looking forward to watching her grow.

  6. Heidi says:

    OH she is SO cute.. I love those black eyes and wet nose, what a little lover!! Your garden looks wonderful and bless that 52! LOL Maybe to much rain is the problem for your berries etc. My maters were not doing so well because of all of the rain we had. Your beans, well did they come up at all? I found crows in my garden the one day, eating all of my pea seeds. The would scratch along and pek them out of the dirt, dirty thievin boogers!!!

  7. Kim A. says:

    Coco is overwhelmingly cute. But did something happen to Bluebell? I haven’t been on here every day, maybe I missed a post? I hope ALL the fur family members are healthy and safe and happy!

    I’ll take some of the cherry tomatoes when they are ready — my favourite!

    -Kim :wave:

  8. happyathome says:

    I am impressed you have kept the weeds down! You must be out there almost every night! I am battling my garden, trying to overcome the weeds. I figure a row a night will keep me up to date……hopefully! BTW, I knew most posts would refer back to Coco!

  9. Jyl says:

    I didn’t even plant anything garden related this year after several years of no luck. We either have a really late unexpected frost that kills everything or we have a really bad drought and are not allowed to water and it gets so flippin hot that it cooks everything. So, I gave up on the garden.

  10. Laura says:

    I was wondering the same thing as Kim A. … where’s Bluebell? I was thinking a dog who already knows how to go down stairs could teach a dog who does not. Hope everything is OK with all the beloved creatures.

  11. Robin G. says:

    She looks kind of like a baby seal…

  12. Kristen says:

    I think this year the problem was TOO much rain. I lost several rasberries and blackberries and grapes to root rot. Last year I lost them to the drought. Kinda funny….maybe next year we will have just the right amount of water :drowning:

  13. LinMN says:

    Awwww, I love staring at her myself! I vote for more pics any old time you feel like it…that is if you can pry yourself away from hugging that ball of fluff. She’s irresistable!
    I love the one where the little smarty pants is sticking her tongue out at you. I don’t think it’s that she CAN’T do the stairs so much as that she knows she doesn’t HAVE to. I can just hear her chanting:
    Nya-nya-nya-nya-nya, you ca-an’t make me!

  14. MARY says:

    I would be coco-nutty too! That pup will be your bestest buddy before long. She is gorgeous! Have a great day! Smell the sweet peas!!! :butterfly:

  15. Kathy R says:

    I’m also new at farming in WV, and we are encountering so many of the same joys / problems that you have had. I look forward to your daily posts as a learning experience. I don’t have the problem of building a farm from scratch…I’m in the process of re-building an old farm. The house has been largely updated, and is in decent shape (except for the 4 x 6 kitchen) and the barn and chicken house are standing and in use (but I want a new-old barn, too, before this one falls in.)

    So far we have 9 chickens, 11 sheep, a pregnant barn cat, and one lone remaining guinea keet (baby chick). Here’s hoping it grows up to be a big guinea hen and eats the bugs that are eating my garden. My raised bed, with the $$ topsoil got the asparagus roots. So far (fingers crossed) they have survived.

    Too much rain, red clay soil that is either so wet you sink to your ankles, or so hard when dry you could use it to make adobe bricks. Rain every 48 hours, but at least we aren’t in a drought this year. Topsoil either costs $$$$ or takes years to amend. But I wouldn’t trade my life on my hilltop for anything or anywhere else in the world. I send pictures to friends and family in Calif. but I wish I could also send the smell of new-mown hay, and the sound of dozens of birds, so they could have the whole experience.

  16. Beckynsc says:

    I love all the pics of Coco.
    My garden isn’t doing so well this year. Out of 18 tomato plants, I have 6 left. Only one pumpkin and one birdhouse gourd came up. No cucumbers. I’ll try again, cause I just can’t help it, I get spring fever every year.

  17. Crystal B. says:

    Coco is adorable. Sorry to hear about your gardening woes. Just keep trying.

  18. Bayou Woman says:

    In spite of the losses, your gardens still look great! My DH mowed down my thornless berry bushes, and almost everything else I ever planted, but the deer ate my satsuma trees!!!

  19. Claudia W says:

    You can be Coco-nutty if you want, I can’t get enough of puppy cuteness. I think you havemade me want a GP…although I will have to add on to my house, and get a second job to feed it!

  20. Suzanne McMinn says:

    We’re keeping Bluebell separated from the puppy for now because she (Bluebell) has developed some negative habits we don’t want her to pass on to Coco. (Harassing the chickens, chasing the cats.)

  21. Kacey says:

    Coco is so adorable. I don’t know how you get anything done except for sitting there staring at Coco!

  22. Amy & Katy says:

    We, and not the royal we, are in love with Coco! She is aboslutely the cutest puppy I have ever seen. I love her ears! The picture of Coco with her tongue sticking out is priceless. She’ll figure out the stairs eventually. :snoopy:

  23. Lucy says:

    She is adorable. And so is the garden. But puppies? How can anything pass up those. Love your farm.

  24. Lisa L says:

    I agree! I love seeing and hearing about Coco. Your gardens look great. Lisa L.

  25. Donna says:

    LOL Too funny! Coco-nutty! I LOVE that. Oh, that is the CUTEST pup in the world – I just love that big ol fluff ball. CAN there be too many pictures of her? NOOOOOO. Not for ME! I love them.
    Wow, you have alot of things planted! How FUN. I love gardens. You mentioned cabbage flowers – I am not sure, but when we moved in, our front was landscaped with Pansies and cabble plants in our front flower beds – it was so pretty!
    Just think of the fresh tomatoes you’ll have to slice on your pizzas, sand.’s, salads…and one day you’ll have goat cheese, to put on pizza, with sliced tomatoes and basil…yum. All those yummy vegies! AND 52 to enjoy them with! :heart:

  26. Connie Brooks says:

    Oh my goodness Suzanne, the blog is fast becoming a favorite of mine. Coco is adorable too! :bananadance:


  27. Employee No. 3699 says:

    I totally get how you feel about your new puppy. We went to a graduation party two days ago and came home with a 7 week old puppy. (If you’re wondering how that happened, I’ll post something this week.) Anyhoo, I took pictures of him most of the day yesterday, even though my grandkids were over!

    My pup is also having problems with going down stairs, but I know he’ll figure it out quick.

    Have a great day!


  28. Susan says:

    You can post as many pictures of Coco as you want. I don’t think it could be possible to see too many pictures of Coco! My dog will be 12 soon and he still won’t go up or down steps without being carried.

    We have to replant the carrots. Like your green beans we’re not quite sure what happened to them. I love your planters!

    I want to see more than a shadow of 52! :yes:

  29. Shimmy Mom says:

    Your garden is looking beautiful! I love the wash tub planters. Very cute addition to the style of your porch. It sets the tone for what to expect up the stairs.
    I remember when our puppies wouldn’t do the stairs. They are so cute at that age.
    Can’t wait for tomorrow’s pics.

  30. Beach Girl says:

    Your garden looks lovely and soon to be abundant. :hungry: That last photo of Coco is amazing. You have the most beautiful dog ever!

  31. SuzieQ says:

    Not possible to have too many pictures of Coco, but keep us updated about Spartacus…

  32. Katharina says:

    Suzanne, your blog is my favorite. I have read through all the archives and love your new life on the farm. Coco is so precious, I don’t mind if everyday there is a Coco picture…or several. Regarding gardens: I have gardened organically for 30 years now, and every year there are some failures. Always something to learn about, something that needs replanting, something that got eaten, died mysteriously, didn’t fruit, etc. That’s how it is in nature. Don’t get discouraged and enjoy what does well this year. I plant right through the summer and into the fall for next year. I am in gardening zone 5a (north) and I laugh when people tell me their gardens are “in”. Mine is always an ongoing work. We rest in the snowy months when the ground is frozen, but keep the compost piles cooking. ENJOY.

  33. Alison says:

    Your garden looks great. My tomatoes are flowering and the recent heat wave should help them set some fruit. What types of tomatoes do you have in? I have a black, orange-gold and a yellow cherry tomato plants I also have a paste tomato and one called a chocolate stripe. It will be fun to see how they turn out. For the plants that died you might want to test the pH of the soil and see what the plants prefer. That might have been the reason. :butterfly:

  34. Alison says:

    Oh and of course the puppy is adorable as always. She might find it easier to go up the stairs first. ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. Tori Lennox says:

    I love all your pictures but have to confess I’m thoroughly Coco-nutty too!!! She is just so darn cute!!!!

  36. *jan says:

    Suzanne-I stop in every day to catch up on your feather, fur, farm, family blog…it’s so much fun :bananadance: .
    Have you decided on a name for the place? ๐Ÿ˜•
    How ’bout one simple, cover it all name like “FREEDOM”?

  37. Brandy says:

    We have had little rain, so my first two tomatos were damaged. AND for some reason my zuchini plant died! Your garden looks lovely and fresh! But, Coco steals the show. SO CUTE!

  38. maryann says:

    No such thing as too many pics of Coco lol. Our bean plants made a come back after the rabbits got to them. I wanted to do potatoes but never got around to them.

  39. Remudamom says:

    Well………she is terribly cute.

  40. Karen Erickson says:

    I’d be Coco-nutty too – she’s precious. :woof:

  41. Estella says:

    Your garden is doing well compared to the ones in the Pacific Northwest. The nights are too cold here, nothing is growing.
    Coco looks so angelic laying there.

  42. Charlene says:

    Coco-nutty! Ha! That made me laugh out loud – quietly, though, since the baby is sleeping in my arms!

    That picture, where Coco is looking down the stairs is so precious! Keep us posted as this cute puppy becomes a big shaggy sweetie

  43. sunnid755 says:

    :rotfl: I’M koo-koo for coco nuts!! There is no such thing as too many pics of her. She makes me smile just to look at a pic, I can’t imagine how great it is in person.

  44. Carolyn A. says:

    Wow! There’s so much green everywhere! You have a good eye to notice some things that didn’t grow well. And don’t worry, that big ball of fluffy goodness … I mean, Coco, will get the hang of steps soon. She’ll find out she’s missing too much staying on the porch. xxoo

  45. Sheila says:

    My herbs are growing by the back door in a wash tub just like yours. That tub has been around all my 57 yrs, I was raise on a farm and that tub has always been in the family.

  46. Jodie says:

    Tips: never too many COCO puppy pictures :snoopy: ; we love our chicken pictures too :chicken: ; cats too :purr: ; other critters too. :sheepjump: LOVE me some puppy “pitchers”. THANKS!

    For your raised bed, you could use some shreded cardboard on the bottom (too late)… it make a weed barrier or something. You can work other types of organic matter into your raised beds and garden to supplement the added top soil. We deal with heavy clay soils here were I live too.

    I’ll get more details from our “master gardener” lady at my church. We have Community Gardens… like old time shared victory gardens where people can rent a plot on our land next to the church. The suburbia where I live used to all be fields and fields for farms on the northern Texas prairie.

  47. missyakamelissa says:

    Admiral too was intimidated by the stairs on our deck when we first brought him home. When he finally dared he tumbled clumsily with those big paws until he finally learned to navigate them.

  48. Theresa says:

    Your garden looks lovely! And that puppy -OMG!! Now I have to have one when we move to the country. I hope my dog will agree ๐Ÿ™‚

  49. catslady says:

    It’s like with kids, you can’t wait for them to start walking and then you wonder why. Coco is going to be getting into everything once the steps are no problem :woof:

  50. Amy Addison says:

    Sorry some of the stuff died. Our veg garden is struggling this year, but our berries are thriving. So far, we’ve lost 10 snap pea plants, 6 tomato plants, two sweet-potato plants and 2 pepper plants. I think it’s our weird weather (and the snow in April didn’t help). But our apples are doing well, too.

    Next year will be better, I’m sure.

  51. Jean says:

    Coco is really beautiful – I can understand your fascination with her. I’m so sorry about Georgia’s peas. Reminds me of one year when I grew peanuts. I nutured them all summer, then pulled up the whole plant and hung them upside down to dry. My goats got out and ate every single one. I never even got to taste one peanut! Your garden looks beautiful – hope you are enjoying every minute.

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