And Then It Was Quiet


My house was very busy for the past week. Today, it’s quiet, and that is just as delightful as a houseful. Especially after a houseful. Morgan went back to school today–I let her stay home yesterday because she’d been sick and because it was Ross’s last full day. He’s headed back to Norfolk with bags of jerky and the satisfaction of his first successful hunt. Weston’s back in Morgantown. He’ll probably never forget the day he had to help his brother drag a deer over the hill.

Last year, I moved in the week of deer season and there were repeated poacher intrusions. This year, I was ready–and there were none. I don’t know if I was just lucky this year, or if perhaps over the past year it has become apparent that there is a new sheriff in town. In any case, there were no problems. Deer season goes on, but the big week here is Thanksgiving week–when everyone is off work and out of school. I don’t hear gunshots over the hills from surrounding lands anymore. I put the horses and donkeys back out on my upper pasture, relieving the pressure on the barn yard and my hay supply until real winter settles in.

I forgot that I’d left the upper gate open when I let them in through the lower gate and soon had donkeys in the yard. The donkeys are a good early warning system. They seem to wander out before anyone else. I quickly got them back in before the horses got anywhere near the gate. (I dread the day Shortcake ever wanders out a break in a fence. She will NOT be easy to get back!)

There were just a few cold days over the past week when I was able to play with the Buck Stove, see how I liked it. I don’t like it much–it’s just too small. I’m hoping to have my wood stove man out here tomorrow to go over my options. I’m still thinking about putting a wood stove (a cook stove) in my back kitchen den area–though Ross thinks a big gun cabinet would look nice there. (I don’t think so. Though perhaps it would scare off intruders! Maybe I should go for the old-timey look and just hang a rifle over the door.) As I’m trying to come to some conclusion about my wood stove situation, I’m also expecting line edits on my book soon. Line edits are final edits before a manuscript goes to the copy editor. For those who find all these terms confusing: Revisions (which can be major or minor) are where you are changing/adding/deleting/rearranging material. Line edits are minor edits, mostly cleaning up sentences or adding a word of explanation or detail, editing for consistency, etc. When a book goes to the copy editor, the copy editor’s job is to comb over the manuscript to make sure it fits the publisher’s standard grammatical usage and style, preparing the book for typesetting. This is a huge book that also includes recipes and photos, so it’s a big job to prepare it for press. Happily, most of what’s left is not MY job. My job is mostly done, and like having a houseful then wallowing in the quiet, there is quiet in that, too, and time to think about what I want to do next.

I think I’ll start with cleaning up the house.


  1. Jane L says:

    “a new sheriff in town” – that’s perfect! You’re a force to be reckoned with, and I am glad the local bullies that came to your front door last year have recognized that. Also, it’s great to see that you see that in yourself:)
    Have a great week – I am off to England today so will be enjoying some cooler weather – finally!

  2. jeandf says:

    Enjoy the peace of the day. Soon it will be wild again. Christmas is just around the corner!

  3. whaledancer says:

    I love the picture of your floor. It’s a beautiful floor, with the patina of age. It reminds me of an old person’s face, with wrinkles and laugh lines and years of living written on it.

  4. oneoldgoat says:

    I have to echo whaledancer on how such a beautiful floor reminds me of an old person’s face…..what a great analogy!

    I like the idea of the rifle over the door – of course we are the crazy family in the valley so no one really bothers with us. But we are nice crazy, not mean crazy:)

    Enjoy your peace and quiet.

  5. Jen says:

    I like the look of a gun hanging over the door – I think that’s a great idea.

    And your broom in the last pic – I can’t buy that kind around here. I remember we always had them when I used to live in WV. All my brooms are plastic.

    It funny how something like that can bring back memories. :o)

  6. Leck Kill Farm says:

    “I don’t know if I was just lucky this year, or if perhaps over the past year it has become apparent that there is a new sheriff in town.”

    Probably the later. I know plenty of hunters that would hunt on “empty” land until someone told them not too. And these aren’t bad guys, I think there is a vein of “easier to apologize later than to ask permission first” at work.

    Recently I listened to a radio show where a cop said “after a dog, a NRA sticker on your front door is the best security system.”

  7. Katharina says:

    Love the rifle over the door idea. We had a Vermont Castings Resolute wood burning stove at my first home. It was great. I could simmer water or stew on the cook top and the door had an insert of glass so we could enjoy the ambiance of a fire. It heated our entire home and we were know to open a window sometimes during the dead of winter to cool things down. We bought our own brushes for the stovepipe because it gets very full of creosote in a season of burning. You must keep them brushed clean.

    I am sure the Buck insert was installed prior to Y2K. Inserts were popular with the preppers because they warm the house better than an open fireplace. Our builders fireplace is not so pretty, but warms us well and after 25 years of fires there was nearly no creosote when the chimney sweep came. Just something to discuss with your woodstove guy.

  8. Puma45 says:

    Suzanne, I can’t WAIT until your book comes out! Do you have any idea yet of the release date?

  9. Darlene in North GA says:

    The problem with having guns by entry ways or visible from entry ways, even in gun cabinets, is the potential to merely arm a formerly unarmed intruder. Unless you sleep with a gun IN your room, they’re closer to your guns than you are. And, you’re advertising that you have guns available. Personally, I think guns are better hidden from view. You have them and know it, but someone looking around doesn’t know you have them. Sometimes, people will break in just to get the guns. Just my thoughts.

    Glad the kids came to visit, but you’re right, it’s nice to have the house to yourself again, even if just for school hours.

  10. STracer says:

    Just a note to help you not have a gun cabinet in the kitchen den. My husband and his family won’t have those pretty glass door cabinets in the house. They make it way to easy for the guns to be visible and stolen in the event of a break-in, which would very likely happen while you are not home to defend them. Funny – defending the guns. Anyway, the guns are in a safe that is in an out of sight corner.

  11. Jane L says:

    This has hung in my fathers study (next to his gun cabinet — that is NOT see through!) for 40+ years:

    If a sportsman true you’d be
    Listen carefully to me. . .

    Never, never let your gun
    Pointed be at anyone.
    That it may unloaded be
    Matters not the least to me.

    When a hedge or fence you cross
    Though of time it cause a loss
    From your gun the cartridge take
    For the greater safety’s sake.

    If twixt you and neighboring gun
    Bird shall fly or beast may run
    Let this maxim ere be thine
    “Follow not across the line.”

    Stops and beaters oft unseen
    Lurk behind some leafy screen.
    Calm and steady always be
    “Never shoot where you can’t see.”

    You may kill or you may miss
    But at all times think this:
    “All the pheasants ever bred
    Won’t repay for one man dead.”

    “Early Instruction”
    By Carl Kauba
    c. 1902

    Proper gunmanship should have all rifles locked in a cabinet when not in use. The only firearm I would ever leave ‘out’ would be a pistol.. and noone would know it was there!

  12. bonita says:

    Now that you’re enjoying the quiet after a very busy holiday, I’d like to say that your family seems truly remarkable. The operant word here is family. Your non-meat eater helped his older brother drag a fresh, probably steaming, carcass across the fields. Perhaps there was some teasing involved, but it seems that brotherly love won the day. And the parents in the family–able to spend some holiday time together so that their beautiful daughter can get Zip to grasp Western reigning. Perhaps strained a time or two but overall a great example showing that residence in different states does not have to trump family ties. Congratulations, Suzanne, congratulations.

  13. Miss Judy says:

    I know that quiet house sound…we took the last three back to the airport today. One to fly to Maryland one to Arizona and one to Texas!
    We ranged fron 2 to 14 extra at our house this Thanksgiving…my oldest daughter got married Saturday!!! yes…the quiet is nice.

  14. MousE says:

    Congratulations again on finishing your book! And Suzanne, you take the most wonderful photos. That picture of the broom is rich in tonality. :sheepjump:

  15. The High Altitude Tea Duchess says:

    I still remember how I stumbled upon you through one of your books I was reading when I was v. sick. I have enjoyed your blog so much over the years. I know what a huge time investment it is to do a blog like yours. Thanks for all the good posts and photos. Looking forward to your book and many more blogging years from Chickens in the Road.

  16. Leck Kill Farm says:

    Count me in the “don’t have a visible gun cabinet camp”

    Especially with high school/college age friends coming around. All it takes is a simple comment like “Morgan’s mom got a new gun cabinet in the living room” to be heard by the wrong person and your house becomes a target.

    My dad used to preach this to me and I thought he was nuts.

    It happens all the time where I live (a rural, “safe” area) and it seems like 99.99% of the time, the theives are connected to the victims by friends/family. The theives learned about the guns in the house because someone innocently talked about them.

    Friends of ours were victims of a break-in at their home. At the trial, one of the accused said they picked the Jonses’ because a cousin told them the Husband Jones “had lots of guns” (he did).

  17. AspenFlower says:

    Your picture is pretty neat there. It would make a nice picture frame to hang in the kitchen with some embellishments and perhaps a phrase. I know it’s just a broom but the clarity and sharpness makes the brooms’ straw look almost like highlighted strands of hair. And the color tones, especially the burnt sienna and raw umber tones in the hardwood floor makes the hardwood a perfect backdrop. Susan, you enjoy your break and get as much relaxation time as possible. After having a busy weekend myself, I’m finally able to relax.

  18. pugwaggin says:

    Can’t wait to read your book.

  19. Glenda says:

    I love my family but when they all leave,I drop into my chair in the kitchen (my nest!) and stay there for a very long time. The silence in the house is beautiful. It takes me several days to restore things back to normal.

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