Extraordinary Days


The last three days have been absolutely bizarre. I think you have to get away from something like this for some time before you have any halfway decent perspective on it, so I won’t pretend I have any perspective now. Missy called me sometime around noon on Tuesday to tell me about the photo in Dairy Goat Journal, and in some ways it’s difficult to believe it’s not still Tuesday at noon. The past three days have been an overwhelming blur.

I haven’t posted as much as I usually do, or on the usual topics, and I promise I will get right back to that. It’s mind-boggling how distracting something like this can be. One thing that has troubled me enormously is the thought that if I hadn’t had an audience, Countryside Publications might have just swept this under the rug. But then again, I believe times, they are a-changin’, and the internet is not perceived as the “free-for-the-taking” box at a garage sale it used to be. To my knowledge, Monica Gaudio was not a well-known writer before the Cooks Source debacle. But she spoke up. She told her story. And she effected change. That her case was a watershed moment in the bloom of understanding that copyright applies to the internet is without a doubt–it was proven swiftly in my case. That Dave Belanger himself noted the Cooks Source case is proof of it. If this happens to you, speak up. TELL YOUR STORY. Today is a new day on the internet.

We have rights, and we won’t be swept under the rug anymore.

And I think that’s all the perspective I can offer when I don’t feel as if I have any perspective yet.

As for Countryside Publications and Dave Belanger, I can only report that Dave Belanger was extremely nice to me yesterday. He repeatedly expressed contrition, and he agreed to the terms I had requested in total. When I get the check, I will take a picture of it for you. And I shall report when it has cleared. (I believe it will clear. I don’t think he wants me to report to you that it didn’t clear.) I’ve tried very hard (imperfectly, no doubt) to only report the facts of the situation, and the statements made to me by Dave Belanger. I can’t see into his heart. The road wasn’t quite straight on the way there, but in the end, he made it right with me by doing what I asked.

As for you all, there are no words, but I will try. You make me cry. Your support reminded me of the SAM-e days. (Whew, aren’t we all glad that’s over. They’re having another contest right now, I think. Aren’t you glad I didn’t enter?! If you’re new here, you have no idea what I’m talking about…. This sentimental moment is for the long-timers.) You remind me again that I have a purpose here, and of the importance of serving you. (I feel really guilty for not posting much this week. I will be back.) You give back to me far, far more than I can possibly give to you–not just in these wild events, but every day, in every comment. Your support carries me. I work, every day, to write posts that you deserve. THANK YOU.

Tonight, I’m headed to Point Pleasant for the Roane County Raiders first (we must hope!) playoff game. There is an absolutely fantastic photo of Weston from last Friday’s final regular season game here. Scroll down to the photo titled Chain Gang. That’s Weston, #57, front and center, holding up the chain as the team ran onto the field. The newspaper sells photos and I’m going to buy one to frame for Weston. I love that picture. My child is so awesome! (I love him.)

I’ll let you know how it goes. Go, Raiders! Somebody go to the concession stand and get me a hot dog with chili and slaw…. MORGAN!!!


  1. mariah says:

    That’s an awesome picture of Weston! Love it!! And as for all the excitement over the goat picture…I didn’t comment during any of it, but I’m with you, and so glad it’s working out as it should. Now I think I’ll go check out that SAM-e contest. I kinda wish you did enter again…I loved voting for you! I did it selfishly though. I love everything you write, and I wanted you to win so there’d be more to read! I know…selfish, but I gotta be honest! ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. One Sunny Acre says:

    Wow, that is crazy about the stolen photo (I just got caught up-to-date.) I subscribe to Countryside and I imagine many of your readers do since they have useful, farmy-type stuff in there. I hope he follows through or I’ll be sending him a letter too!

    You’ll be in my neighborhood for the game tomorrow. I don’t pay much attention to high school football since I don’t have any kids going there, but eventually I will. So since I’m not really rooting for the hometeam, hope your son plays well and has a good game. Good luck! 8)

  3. bonita says:

    There is something uniquely supportive about this particular website. It’s no accident. The tone for the website, much like the tone of a company, comes from the top down. Suzanne, you’ve made this a two-way support network, lined with great stories and fantastic photos. Our actions on your behalf are the least we could do for you. Don’t worry about not posting, the Goat Journal soap opera provided inspired reading. thank YOU! Go Raiders

  4. Sheila Z says:

    I agree with bonita that you, Suzanne have set the tone making this website special. It’s full of information set in real time. You give blow by blow accounts of your exploits and experiences in figuring out how to live and live well your rural life. Your fearlessness to go try something new and then report the results to your readers keeps us all coming to check on a daily basis to see what you’ve been up to today. I grew up living a semi subsistence life and I’ve still been able to learn much from you. Just made another batch of homemade vanilla last night, have to make more homemade laundry detergent today, and I’m going try making my first batch of homemade bar soap soon. All of this was inspired by watching your blow by blow picture accounts of making all of the above. So thank you! Your readers love you for a reason.

  5. Patty Norton says:

    Suzanne, I am so pleased that we readers could support you. In my opinion you are one of the best bloggers on the net. I wrote a note and expressed my opinion to Mr Belanger. I got a brief note stating that the matter had been resolved.
    You bless me everytime you share your life. I am a reader of at least three years. When my mother was in her final days I would read your postings and chuckle and find joy in your life. Saying goodbye was so difficult. I was away from my family but you were building and preparing your family for a fresh start at the farmhouse. Your life and anticipated “fresh start” was a beautiful distraction from the pain I was feeling.
    I thanked God for the Chickens in the Road blog.
    You have blessed me beyond words.
    If you had to seek court proceedings in this matter I was prepared to call my sister in law in Wisconsin for a reference in this matter. I was prepared to tell her to get her guest room ready for you. God has a way for all of us to respond if we will but listen and obey. I prayed for you. I also asked God to turn the thief’s heart to the right. Let us know if his actions are as good as his words. I do have family in several parts of Wisconsin.
    Again, Thanks for giving and may you enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday.

  6. skippymom says:

    There is something so very telling about the picture you picked this evening Suzanne.

    I did call in my thanks to Mr. Belanger today as I thought that he had finally done the right thing. I was told by his secretary that it was all a misunderstanding and that he didn’t realize this had been occurring at the magazine. She stated that he would’ve never allowed something like this to happen.

    I thought it was only fair to thank him for acknowledging your rights as the owner of the photo and acquiescing to your request/demands after I called his office earlier to voice my displeasure.

    I hope this never happens again, although I am sure we are all going to be perusing photos and content a bit more closely in the future.

  7. Rose H says:

    The pleasure that you give so many folk is immeasurable Suzanne. I’m certain your supporters are only returning the care you show to others. I’m very pleased that it has been settled – though it should never have happened.
    Rose H

  8. Tracey In Paradise,Pa. says:

    (((((((( BIG HUGS TO YOU SUZANNNE!! )))))))) Love this blog..
    Granny Trace

  9. Darlene in North Ga says:

    Ah, sweetie. Don’t feel badly about not writing your usual “content” or number of posts. This little soap opera was quite a drama for all of us.

    We’ve been honored to be able to be a part of making a difference!

    So often we feel like there are so many things that really aren’t right in society, but we are unable to do anything about the problems, we just have to sit by and watch the injustices continue. This time we WERE able to do something that resulted in a wrong being righted. We were able to join together to fix a problem for a friend of ours. Mostly, we really don’t get that chance in our day-to-day lives. The last 3 days, we got to MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Not only for you, but for other people whom are not so fortunate as to have a large readership to support them, but whom are still being ripped off. By helping YOU we’ve also helped THEM. We’ve banded together to make our corner of the blogsphere a little more just, a little more law abiding. WE FIXED something that was broken in our society.

    It’s a nice feeling!

  10. Vicki in So. CA says:

    In your introductory video you mentioned that you write to inspire, entertain and to motivate your readers to enjoy the simple life in all its ordinary splendor. You accomplish all of that and more on a daily basis, Suzanne. I’m with bonita. Yep. It’s the least we could do to thank YOU. And I’m glad I could help.

    I think you’re wrong, though, about “that if I hadnโ€™t had an audience, Countryside Publications might have just swept this under the rug.” Nah. I’m confident you’d have gotten the same results without us. It just would have taken a little longer.

    I hope 52 had a great birthday. We’ll be here when you get back to posting AFTER YOU GET SOME WELL-DESERVED REST! And Lastly… Go Raiders! :woof:

  11. CindyP says:

    THANK YOU for sharing this whole ordeal with us! CitR has become a support network…just let us know what needs to be done and it gets done :woof: You do so much for us everyday with your writing and creativity, the least we can do is stick up for you when you need us!

    Who else is bothering you?!?!?!?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    And I totally LOVE that pic of Weston…they make him sound so grown up though…Wes McMinn. Good Luck tonight Raiders!!

  12. Joann says:

    I’m so glad everything worked out! Congrats! And, that photo of the Chain Gang is Awesome!

  13. Grammie Earth says:

    Ditto to all the above replies! :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart:


  14. Kelly Myers says:

    Suzanne, it was MY honor to support you. Your writing and photography bring me joy, smiles, laughter and so much good information. Showing support to you in a trying time is the very least I could do.

    Go to the game tonight and have a blast! Forget about the crazy ride you were on this week and have some fun! You did good girl and deserve some down time.

  15. judydee says:

    One small voice crying in the wilderness might not be heard, many small voices crying in the wilderness are harder to ignore. But somebody has to be the first voice, and somebody has to lead and orchestrate the voices. You were the orchestra leader. You were perceptive enough and persistent enough to effect change. It’s just another example of what you do with your writing every day. I was very proud to be just one small voice in the orchestra.

  16. Teresa from Lancaster, PA says:

    Suzanne, I have followed this blog for many years (you were still living in the slanted little house, your farm just a dream and your family were known as numbers). I am so thankful that I stumbled upon Chickens in the Road. Your blog is one of my must read’s each morning when I first get on the computer – email, Facebook, our church’s blog and yours – in that order. I have learned so much through your blog and feel like your animals are my own. I can enjoy life on a farm without having to wrangle a calf or trudge through mud to care for them. I have watched with anticipation as you have hatched eggs, brought a little “big white dog” to your family and sweet Annabelle. I have watched your children go from numbers to having a name and watched them mature into amazing young adults and even learned that 52 does exist. I have mourned your losses with you from your sweet little goat to your little nesting hen and your dear Mom. You have become a part of my family. Someday I would love to be able to attend the party on the farm, but for now I will be content to watch from afar. Thank you for doing what you do with the humility and care that you do. You have a passion and it shows – otherwise you wouldn’t have the loyal following you do. I love to see how God uses things like this in our lives. He works in mysterious ways and it will be neat to see what will happen as a result of this week’s events.
    Have a wonderful day!

  17. Carol Langille says:

    Sometimes you have to squeek to get some grease! You did good, Suzanne!
    I’ve been taking my own memory stroll in your blog….looking at posts from a long while back. It’s a pleasurable trip and I have laughed and cried already this morning and it’s only 6 am. Thank you for all you do….for how hard you work….and for what you believe in and share with us.
    I’m glad I know you, even if we’re just internet neighbors.

  18. joycee says:

    Nice to see that all is good on “Walton Mountain” again. As peaceful as your life looks, the reality is that everyone has bumps in the road. Earlier this week several of us wanted to run over that bump with a truck! Might makes right sometimes, and maybe, just maybe together we “encouraged” him to do the right thing. Have a good weekend Suzanne!

  19. Lori Skoog says:

    Suzanne…You got all that support because you have an honest blog that always puts out a good message. It’s nice to read someone who has integrity and an interesting life! I also got a note back saying the issue had been resolved (after I sent a thank you to Dave for stepping up.

    Have a great day. Celebrate!

  20. Karen Anne says:

    Not to be unforgiving, but I think it’s clear that this was not a “misunderstanding.” They got caught doing dirt. The outcry made it clear to them that a lot of people would know this, so they backtracked. No nice person would have talked to Suzanne the way he did originally.

    I hope that’s an object lesson to others who’d do this type of theft.

  21. Diane says:

    The one thing I love about your blog and reading about you and your animals and family is that its real life. Its hard, dirty and not always pretty. But in all that you show that there is beauty, love and wonder. This latest event was not pretty. But the beauty of it all was that we had your back. ๐Ÿ™‚ All of saw that it was wrong for that publication to take your photo and we all stuck togeather to get the job done. Its a good thing. Its wonderful. Enjoy your football game tonight. Bundle up, 2 layers of long undies under the jeans, a blanket to sit upon and a few layers of clothing will keep you tosty warm. I know been there. Our last play off game was last week and it was cold. lol. Have fun, enjoy watching your son play. Tell Morgan to get you a cup of hot coco too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. wvhomecanner says:

    Excellent photo! What a great memento from Weston’s HS football career! GO RAIDERS! I’ll be watching the news tonight for the game results.


  23. Pete says:

    Perhaps the entire point of all this was to demonstrate that is it never OK to maliciously hurt another human being, that it doesn’t matter what instrument is used to hurt someone, including the internet. And there are consequences to acting, even if acting innocently results in hurting another person.

    So glad this has been resolved! And I am even more grateful to be a part of this community!! Thank you everyone. :snoopy:

    Suzanne, you did GREAT. You have certainly earned a break after that emotional volcano!! :heart:

  24. Yankee Gal says:

    You’re welcome Chica – your army of followers are always here for you too. You dun good! So pleased you stood up for your rights and pushed it to a happy ending. And yes…(she says with a wink and nod) this old timer remembers the SAM-e days!

  25. Gwen says:

    i am so happy things did work out, how strange life can be sometimes…
    when you least expect it you are reminded of that
    and very happy you are back at posting again, i sort of live a second life through your stories
    thanks for all of them

  26. stephanie says:

    Proud of you, Suzanne, for standing up for all us artists that post our work online! I’m so glad you got a favorable outcome!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Miss Judy says:

    Suzanne,you’ll never know how often we have found inspiration from CITR. Your passion shines through in your work and you have blessed so many. Relax…your work is good enough we don’t mind revisiting old posts! Besides, I am amazed at how much you have accomplished in the past few days! And you even made 52 a birthday cake!

  28. Cousin Sheryl says:

    What a week for my internet connection to go on the blink! Sorry I missed all the hoopla but so glad that it was resolved well!

    Cheer LOUD tonight for me since I can’t go to the Raider’s game. Tell Weston that we wish him good hitting and a victory.

    Eat a chili and slaw dog for me, too.

    Just think, next year I am dragging you with me to Morgantown (where I will be watching the Mountaineers tomorrow)!

    Give Morgan a big hug for me!


  29. Diane Gordon says:

    Hi Suzanne,

    Did you hear about the band that had their equipment destroyed by United Airlines? When they asked for restitution, they were told “Good Luck with that one pal.”
    In response they put out a video on YouTube called “United Breaks Guitars” and 6 million views later, not only did they have new guitars for mentioning the brand in the song, but they were all over the media and got to say “Good luck with that one, Pal” when United tried to convince them to pull the song! Cute!

  30. David says:

    Hopefully it was a misunderstanding – but I really doubt that.

    Suzanne thanks for standing up for what is right.

    Go Raiders!

  31. CATRAY44 says:

    #16- Teresa speaks for me, better than I could have said it. You are a treasure and a blessing.

  32. Suzy says:

    Good for you Suzanne! Just in case you have never heard of this service, Tin Eye can track who is using your photos on the internet- not much help for print, but it is a start and it is free.


  33. Angela P says:

    I wish I were as eloquent as you all, all I can say is this web site means so much to me. Its really changed my life for the better! I am beyond grateful. Especially you Suzanne, HUGGGSSSS. You are peace, love , blessing and so much more.
    GOOOO Raiders! You guys rock!
    Hey Morgan, as long as your going for a hot dog……hee heee!
    I wish I was there…

  34. Louise Clark says:

    Suzanne, #16 couldn’t have said it better. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to your posts every day. I am glad that things worked out for you. Enjoy the game and eat a hot dog for all of us.

  35. Aimee says:

    You really are such an inspiration to us all. The way you write gives us a chance to feel like we are really there on your porch twisting corn husk into a wreath. Your writing about the animals makes me laugh so hard some times that I get weird looks from the people around me (I read on my blackberry while I’m on the go). I used your yellow cake mix to make my son’s first birthday cake and it was so good! Your posts aren’t like reading the newspaper, we all get attached to your writing, we laugh and we cry with you every time. You bring me hope that one day I can get out of the city too. We support you so much because you deserve it 100%.

  36. AA says:

    Go Raiders! Go Weston- Good luck! Go Suzanne!Great job – as a writer, activist and football mom! Go Morgan- get more hotdogs!

  37. Joy says:

    We LOVE you, Suzanne!!!! :heart: :hug: :happyflower:

  38. Karen says:

    Something like this can consume you and yes you need to step back and let it ‘sink’ in! Don’t be so hard on yourself for not posting!!! We all understand!

  39. Kathy says:

    I’m a new reader who found your site last week and I just love it! I have a lot of catching up to do… Regarding the copyright infringement – you go girl! I have a few articles of my own that I found posted word for word on other sites, but they do have me credited for them. Does that give them the right to post my work without permission? Suzanne, keep rockin’!

  40. Cheryl says:

    Suzanne you’re a wonderful person and a great momma with lots of love for her children and I admire you for that. Thank for the wonderful website that you work on tirelessly for all of us to enjoy each and every day!! I don’t know what I would do without this happy break every day. ๐Ÿ™‚

    P.S. I kinda miss the Sam-e days….sorta, kinda ๐Ÿ˜†

  41. Heidi says:

    I only have one thing to say, which my penguin friend here can summarize: https://cdn0.knowyourmeme.com/i/9994/original/633548450121624483-internetseriousbusiness.jpg?1250727037

    Or just do a google image search for “the internet is serious business”

  42. Miss Becky says:

    Reading Chickens In The Road is how I begin my day. And some days it’s later than others, but that is how my day begins. You and your family of lovely critters are my family too and I’m so happy to have the opportunity to share your life with you via this blog.
    Your photos and stories lift me up, and these past few days are again evidence of how many others are lifted too. And yes, those Sam-E days were not only trying at times, but fun too!!! I love the stories you tell, and the personalities you put to the faces you photograph. It’s a bit like that movie “Babe”, which is still one of my faves. Growing up on a dairy farm, I know first-hand how hard the work is and how long the days can be. And…most farmers rarely get a day off. But…the rewards are priceless.
    Suzanne, thank you for all that you do here at CITR, and that we, your readers, are able to support you and give back, well, that’s simply the icing on the cake. This river of gratitude runs in both directions. You really do rock my world. :yes: :hug:

  43. angela says:

    Go Weston!!!! Go Weston!!!!

  44. Bertie says:

    Suzanne, I don’t post here often but am a loyal reader. From the first day I found your blog two years ago, I don’t think I’ve missed a day! I don’t live on a farm or have goats or chickens, but I LOVE reading and seeing daily glimpses of your life. I love your style, honesty, humor, & integrety…I love everything about your blog. Thank you for doing what you do!

    Your LOYAL FAN!!

  45. rain swazey says:

    well suzanne-this is first i’ve heard about this-so sorry-but so glad u stood up for yourself & others also!! I had a crisis-my daughter had to have emergency c section-i flew down ur way-N.Carolina-from Maine :sheep: ! She and baby are doing great now-and i’m first time grammie!!!! it’s wonderful You have my support-as i tell my niece-who posts wonderful photos on line-ur a professional and deserve to be treated like ones!! :happyfeet:

  46. lost in IN says:

    Susan I have been fallowing you here for over two years or so and want you to know how much I enjoy it. I am just sorry you only write romance novels think you could branch out and do good(I read about 2-3 books a week). I would wish your team a win but since I was born and raised in the Point Pleasant area no can do, but we wish them a good game. I am sorry your not going to visit Point for all the nice things it has to offer like, River Museum, The Mansion house, The Farm Museum just to name a few. Maybe you could come back for some of the fun in the near future

  47. Gen-IL Homesteader says:

    I received a reply to my email from Countryside yesterday saying that the matter had been resolved. As a Countryside reader, I was glad that my image of them hadn’t been tarnished for good. We can all learn from our mistakes and I hope that Dave has. I LOVE both your blog and Countryside mag. Hoping you’ll be back to ‘normal’ soon!

  48. Nancy in Iowa says:

    I got back from my more than 4000 mile road trip Monday, but have been sick for a week – will catch up soon. I tried to see our darling Weston, but when I click on the article, I get only 2 small boxes with a red x where the photo should be! Aaaiiiieeee!!!

  49. Heather in KY says:

    We love you, Suzanne!

  50. Mz E says:

    So glad this appears to have have a positive resolution, but we’ll be even happier when the check shows up for you! Glad the mag and editor are doing the right thing.

  51. ScreamingSardine says:

    Thank YOU, Suzanne. We’re glad you could feel our support and how much you mean to us.

  52. Linda says:

    Go Raiders! Go Weston!

  53. DarleneS says:

    I am so glad things have been worked out for you. I hate thieves. Your blog ie column is a great way for me to live vicariously through your adventures on the farm. The animals and the kids’ everyday living are so fun to read and see the photos. Hope the team wins the game.

  54. Jane says:

    It was a drama filled couple of days, but thankfully, David Belanger was a good man at heart (and a smart businessman) and put it to rest. If you feel we support you, that’s wonderful, because we feel (that’s the Royal we.. I am of English blood;) feel supported every day by your wonderful posts. We’re well aware that you have a life however, so please don’t feel guilty for not posting! This isn’t the TV guide, there is NO set schedule. That is what RSS feeds are for.. to tell us when you’re ready for us to come back. Have fun and… GO WESTON, GO!!!

  55. BuckeyeGirl says:

    @ rain swazey Congratulations on the new grand-baby! :snuggle:

  56. LisaAJB says:

    Suzanne, if you wanted to do another SAM-e contest, I would vote for you everyday. You taught me that it’s okay to take a risk to follow your dreams, and to work for them everyday. And if your dream was to work for a website like SAM-e, then I’d vote to help you make it happen. Thanks. And don’t feel bad for not posting this week. What you did post was so engaging I didn’t even notice. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what would happen.

  57. Mother of a ROCKSTAR says:

    Kinda makes you wonder about how people are today. I would hope that this behavior isn’t the way of most people. Surely, I am not the only person that tells their children that be honest(no matter if wrong or right). Your word is just that YOUR WORD! It hopefully isn’t for sale, and I will take you upon your word. Suzanne, I just hate that fact that people act as if they can just do as they please, reguardless of RIGHT OR WRONG. Well, atlease we can only hope and pray that all parties at Countryside Magazines will have a lesson learned. DON’T TAKE CREDIT FOR SOMETHING YOU DID NOT DO AND SOMETIMES IT’S BEST TO SAY I AM SORRY AND TRY FIX THE PROBLEM!! Om the lighter side…more pix of Clover please.

  58. Barbee' says:

    Never fear. Your posts of the past three or so days were absolute cliff-hangers. Add to them all the wonderful comments, and it was a book I couldn’t put down. Whew! I wasn’t sure how it was going to end there for awhile. Glad to report: it had a happy ending.

  59. wvhomecanner says:

    WOOHOO! Congrats Roane County!
    Roane County 33
    Point Pleasant 28

  60. Janus says:

    On CSI: NY, Gary Sinese has said a few times, “Everything’s connected — we just have to figure out how.” That’s a pretty fair assessment of how I discovered your website.

    I stumbled across your site a few days ago by way of a comment on John Scalzi’s blog, the Whatever. The entry was a follow up on the Cooks Source fiasco, and one of the comments mentioned your own problems with people thinking that the Internet is public domain.

    I don’t think Monica Gaudio was well-known before this. I think she was fortunate enough that one of her friends on LiveJournal saw her entry, and was equally outraged that he wrote about it. That was when it caught the eye of John Scalzi, who IS fairly well-known, and I think it was when he wrote about it that things started snowballing.

  61. Ramona says:

    Hopefully he’ll honor his word.

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