The Farmhouse Year in Review 2014


The year in highlights!

It snowed a lot last winter. As in, a LOT. School was closed more than it was open, and it was Morgan’s senior year. Seniors don’t have to make up snow days, but she was upset anyway because she loves school! Looking back at posts from last winter gets me worried when I remember all the troubles I had with frozen pipes and all the times I had to carry buckets from the house to the animals. And that time that the water at the barn AND the water at the house was frozen at the same time. I had to haul buckets of water back from a neighbor’s house to get water to the animals. But since then, I’ve installed three new gas water heaters (in the studio, in the house, in the cellar–where frozen pipes has been a serious problem in the past and those pipes run to both the house and the studio), laid in tons of wood, and made various changes to help the animals get water, too. The new gas heaters and the wood will also prevent me from having the problems I had last year when my furnace went out twice.

I still don’t think I like looking back at posts from last January, though!


On to February! Wait, that was so much like January…..
In real life, you cannot skip entire months. However, in review, you can! Let’s just pretend February didn’t happen! We didn’t like it.


Glory Bee had a baby! My delicious little Moon Pie. I absolutely fell in love with Moon Pie and she helped me turn the corner in deciding I really wanted to start my own little beef herd. I wished I hadn’t sold Dumplin to my neighbor.

In April, I brought home Boer goats, having decided to re-start my goat herd in a different direction. The snow was finally gone, and it was green again. Time to start farmin’! And it was also the beginning of my workshop season. In 2014, I had more retreats here at Sassafras Farm than ever before–seven all together, from one- to five-day retreats, this was a big year in expanding my workshop business. (I’m planning more and new and different ones for 2015!)

Also in April, my father died. My mother died in 2010. I feel like an orphan now.

Weston surprised everyone by joining the Army and I took him to Pittsburgh for his swearing in before he was shipped off to Fort Sill for boot camp. Back at home, I learned to mow and weedeat the yard. It’s a really big yard, so this became my really big job for the rest of the spring, all summer, and into the fall. But wow, did I get in shape mowing this upside down hilly huge property!

Meanwhile, Morgan was finishing her final days of high school….and getting ready for–

I milked Glory Bee twice a day most of the summer, and on into the fall. With so many workshops going on, it took a lot of milking. I love that routine, but Dumplin and Moon Pie were often sullen with me over the separations from mommy. Morgan left to explore Morgantown (where she would start attending West Virginia University in the fall) and I wrote letters every day to Weston in boot camp.

I had a different kind of “mister” in 2014 for Glory Bee–I tried artificial insemination. It’s way past time to have her checked. I hope she’s bred. I had her AI’d to a black angus named Night Off.

And I went all the way to Oklahoma for Weston’s boot camp graduation.
This was his choice, and I’m very proud of him.

I also got a big delivery of two trailer-loads of round bales, switching from doing all square bales as I have done in the past. This was the beginning of a variety of adjustments I made with the help of my two hired men to make winter jobs on the farm easier for me to manage alone. I also finally got comfortable with driving the tractor! SERIOUSLY. As long as I’m on dry, flat ground.

Maia made several appearances in 2014, at libraries, and here (above) at this community bazaar. Have goat in tutu, will travel! Ross also had gotten a four-wheeler, which is living here at the farm, and following my success with the tractor, I learned to drive the four-wheeler! Which was even MORE fun!

A BIG project this fall was cutting down, hauling, and splitting firewood. After the winter before, which had been filled with disasters, I was determined to prepare better than ever. I ended up with enough firewood for two winters, probably, though that will depend on how this winter goes! I was also continuing workshops every month, and milking Glory Bee twice a day.

And…. Getting ready for–

–my book to come out in paperback!
And in case you don’t have your own copy yet, You can get it in hardcover, e-book, or paperback!

Amazon Button BarnesandNoble Button iBooks Button IndieBound Button

Not all was wonderful in October, though. My dear Georgia passed away–if you missed it, I wrote about her here

In other news, I was able to buy Dumplin back from my neighbor and I started planning my beef herd.

I purchased myself a 30-30, getting ready for deer season. I didn’t get one, but we did catch a poacher! I also got myself a 20 gauge over-under shotgun and started squirrel hunting. The creatures of the woodland are pretty safe so far, but I’m really enjoying the learning process.

Ross was home from the Navy for Thanksgiving, and we had a great time!

Weston came home for Christmas. I had Ross and Morgan home at Thanksgiving, and Weston and Morgan home for Christmas. With two sons in the military, it’s difficult these days to get all three home at one time, but I take what I can get!
And in December, I got a Chinese Crested powderpuff puppy. I adore her. She’s my “baby” to replace Morgan (I like to tell Morgan that because it annoys her) or she’s my therapy dog….or something….


2014 was…..a year. This is the part of my annual “year in review” posts where I say something about how excited I am about the year that I had, but I had a hard enough time just thumbing back through the posts to find something good to say about each month, much less sound very excited about any of it in summary, so how about I do what I do best when I do it. Say something honest. Those of you who are longtime readers here know already that something was off this year, I’m sure. It’s clear to everyone (most of all me) that my writing has not been regular or up to par in any way. I’m sure some readers got frustrated with me and wandered off. Others of you, bless you, are patiently waiting for me to get a grip. Me, too. (Where do I get this “grip” thing? Does Amazon sell it?) I was involved in a long-term relationship the last couple of years, and I spent most of 2014 being lied to, cheated on, and devastated. I survived this year, and that’s the best I can say about it. But, every year is a new opportunity, a new challenge, and a new page to write fresh. I don’t know what 2015 has in store yet, but I’m thinking it can’t be worse. Let’s turn the calendar page, shall we? I’M READY.

Go back in time:
The Farmhouse Year in Review 2013
The Farmhouse Year in Review 2012
The Farmhouse Year in Review 2011
The Farmhouse Year in Review 2010
The Farmhouse Year in Review 2009
The Farmhouse Year in Review 2008
The Farmhouse Year in Review 2007


  1. SarahGrace says:

    Not only did you survive, you DID find things to be grateful for and enjoy. That’s what a good life is about. It’s facing things head on. Knowing what the pros and cons are. Changing what cons you can, ignoring the rest, and focusing on the pros. You’ve got some wonderful pros in your life. Please bring the baby to see me soon! :hug:

  2. Mim says:

    Things happen for a reason….sometimes it takes years to figure out the reason or reasons… Always look for the positive side of everything you experience might not make it easier but it will make you feel better about yourself….. I really have enjoyed reading your blog, meeting you and attending your workshop..Can’t wait to see what you have to offer this year.. :sun:

  3. cabynfevr says:

    After my chores were done I always looked forward to my breakfast while reading your daily posts filled with critter antics, crafts, decorating and yes, even cooking! I have to say I miss it terribly but I continue to check every day in the hopes you will return. I’m very sorry you have had a tough go of it in the romance department. Hoping 2015 finds you happy, healthy and ready to blog away! :shimmy:

  4. alosyu says:

    Life is not always easy, all we can do is put one foot in front of the other and go forward. You have done that, without question. You have 3 wonderful children, are healthy and living the life you WANT to live. In addition, you have brought pleasure to all of us who follow your posts and I, for one, will continue to do so, as long as you put things up for us to read. I sincerely hope that 2015 is an easier year for you and I am looking forward to hearing all about it.

  5. Sarah T says:

    Wow, I thought something was ‘off’. Your kids are grown now, so feel free to focus on yourself. Be ‘selfish’ and take care of you for a change. :sun:

  6. blabass says:

    Been reading you for years. You are such an inspiration to me. Sorry you had such a rough year.
    Hang in there! Sending you lots of love from So. California.

  7. Backporchcarver says:

    God brings people into our lives for a reason, sometimes its a lesson we need, sometimes a lesson they need, and it will eventually reveal its self. Sounds like you came out on the other side a victor!Wishing you a much happier 2015.

  8. hotdogdee says:

    You got this!!! So glad you can find the positive in the year. Looking forward to more posts as I have missed you too. Happy New Year!

  9. denisestone says:


    May 2015 bring you joy, love, and happiness!

    Plus lots of animal babies on the farm.

  10. MousE says:

    Happy New Year, Suzanne, and good riddance to 2014. You had a lot of loss. I’m sorry about your relationship, I had no idea – I thought your fewer posts were due to being happy, and I’m so sorry to be wrong.

    You’ve accomplished amazing things, you know. You bought your very own farm, you raised three amazing kids, you take wonderful care of all your animals, you are obviously a fantastic caretaker of your land and structures, you’ve learned how to drive a tractor, which is quite the feat! –

    Suzanne, I am in awe of you. Very glad to know your got yourself a Precious. Here’s hoping your New Year is bigger and better. All the best to you and yours!


  11. MousE says:

    …”you got yourself a Precious,” not ‘your’…..

  12. beforethedawn says:

    I could copy and paste cabynfevr’s comment here. I have missed your posts, your farm animals, and your creativity. I have really missed the CITR that used to be. But I have to remember that we all change and grow as the years go on. I can’t expect the same “Suzanne” from year to year. And neither should you. We all change and grow each year, hopefully for the better. I hope 2015 recharges your spirit! :hug:

  13. Joell says:

    I have a friend that alway says “That what don’t kill ya, makes ya stronger” —-there is a lot of truth to that, good things like true love comes to us when the time is right, then and only then are we put in place to meet that person that is right for us.
    Your time is coming and you will meet that special person that is right for you, it may happen in the most quiet way, no flash or fanfare, just true love. It could be someone that you already know. Give yourself time to heal, your time is close.
    This is the start of a new year.

  14. yvonnem says:

    Suzanne, I check in every day and have wondered why you weren’t writing much – I assumed it was because you are always so busy. I haven’t even seen a post in the Daily Mail. Sorry to hear about the relationship. I hope 2015 makes up for 2014 – Happy New Year! :heart:

  15. Julieanna says:

    I have been reading your blog almost from the very beginning. Yours is the only one I read every day, wether or not you write something. I think regular readers knew something was going on but you let us know when you are ready. We do appreciate that. My husband doesn’t quite understand why I am so vested into your life and it’s hard to explain it to him. I have never met you but you have touched my life in ways you will never know and I love you for that. I have laughed with you an cried with you and always have admired you. I will continue to read you every day. May 2015 bring you peace and happiness.

  16. gingergoat says:

    Thanks for the review. Men can be such s__t heads. Don’t give up there are some good ones out there. Here’s hoping your have a great 2015. :sheepjump:

  17. quietstorm says:

    Happy New Year Suzanne!!! I think it’s been a hard year for everyone… I’ve missed your posts as well… I’m sure some of your “funk” is empty nest syndrome as well as the other losses. I’m ready to turn the page and start fresh too! Here’s to 2015! Wishing you a blessed, peaceful and HAPPY new year!

  18. beegeek says:

    I just recently discovered your site and book. I had a bad fall and broke my right leg and arm. I needed something to distract me while I’m unable to take care of my chickens and small farm. Thank you for sharing your experience with me. It was just the vicarious experience I needed. I’ll continue to follow your blog after I’m back on my feet. I hope 2015 is kind to us all.

  19. Mandys says:

    I don’t post a lot but I check in every single day, sometimes more than once a day 😛 I did notice posting was a lot less than it used to be but assumed you were just busy with the animals and book and didn’t have time. I hope everything settles down soon. I love hearing about your adventures on the farm

  20. connilu says:

    I, too, figured something more than usual was going on in your life. Missed you when you weren’t here but will always wait for you to come back because I love your blog. You have had a really hard year even WITHOUT the bad relationship going on that we didn’t know about. It’s been tough for you and we have been pulling for you.
    You may be tired of people saying to “count your blessings” but that’s the way to get through things.
    I wish for you….a much smoother and happier year….this 2015. Best wishes to you and your lovely family. God Bless You and Yours

  21. cinderbama says:

    You’re one tough dame. The “wonder woman” of West Virginia. You’d have made a great pioneering woman. But your life isn’t just this blog, even if reading it is all someone else does all day. Do what you need to do for yourself. Your private life isn’t our business, we just want you to be happy and healthy, successful in all things. Those of us who love you (even if it is “virtually”) will still be around when you have time for us. (((I’m sending you a virtual hug and a slice of homemade apple pie a-la-mode)))

  22. Canner Joann says:

    That’s right…turn the page and don’t look back. Focus on what brings you happiness and serenity. Happy New Year.

  23. Karo says:

    I,too,was betrayed in 2014…by my left breast. Also, my beloved dad died on November 29 so I am saying GOOD RIDDANCE to 2014 and I’d like to kick him on his way out the door! I wish I could join you in a toast to a cancer and heartbreak free 2015!

  24. Leck Kill Farm says:

    I did wonder what was going on. I missed your posts very much as your’s is my favorite blog.

    I had one of those years a couple of years back and it sucked. No words of advice except to say Here’s to a better year ahead!!!!

  25. bonita says:

    Missed your posts but assumed you were busy having fun. Nuthin’ worse than a lyin’, cheatin’ creep to put a damper on an entire year. Well, he’s more the fool for it.
    Best of wishes for 2015, sounds like you’re got some ambitious plans afoot. And you know, your wonderful cows will be true to you no matter what… the goats, too for that matter!

  26. elizainscotland says:

    Don’t you worry, Suzanne – just remember that you don’t owe us anything, and that we are all so thankful for the inspiration and entertainment that you’ve chosen to to share with us over the last few years. I’ve been reading your blog since 2011(?) and I’ve never commented but meant to many times. You’re a gem and we’re all thankful you’re a part of our lives. You keep on keepin’ on. Whatever you do, please don’t feel guilty about blogging less or not at all – it’s your life! Lots of love from an American in Scotland.

  27. melonhead says:

    So sorry you’ve had a rough year. Definitely noticed fewer posts. Just do what you’ve gotta do! Hoping and praying for a better 2015!

  28. Camille says:

    Had been wondering for months and months what was up. Figured you would let us all know what was hiding in the background and causing the changes when you were good and ready. Appreciate your honesty. Sadly, I suspect many of your readers, myself included, have been down that same road with a dirty rotten scoundrel.

    So, onward and upward right? There’s nothing like the turn of New Year to throw things into perspective and start anew. Wishing you great success and much happiness over the next twelve months Suzanne. :sun:

  29. Joell says:

    I was thinking about this post this morning and went back to read it again, love comes quietly and softly, hard work and a clear mind heals all wounds, I know.
    As for your readers, there is a candle in the window and the door is open, we are here. :snuggle:

  30. Pat says:

    Suzanne, I second Joell’s last sentence. Your April summary about being an orphan really touched my heart. Through the sharing on your blog, you have created a huge family out here, and we readers have come to include you in our families–more than you can possibly know. Here is a huge hug from the eastern NC part of the family along with wishes for a truly happy 2015. :snuggle:

  31. DeniseS says:

    Like others, I thought something was amiss ,but felt you would say something when you were ready. Just keep doing those things that give you joy. Then this bad relationship will become just a memory. I read C.I.T.R. every day. You inspire me with your courage to try new things, make me smile with the stories you tell, and I consider you a friend I just have not met in person yet. So, my friend, here’s to a better and blessed new year.

  32. ticka1 says:

    another who missed your daily posts. i check your website daily. Sorry to hear about your relationship – here is to 2015 and being “Suzanne’s” year.

  33. brookdale says:

    Thanks for letting us know, Suzanne. Sorry to hear about the romance gone awry. There ARE good guys out there, your turn will come.
    And, sorry about your bad year. Please know that you are loved, respected and admired by lots of us!
    I’ve been following your blog for a lot of years and have learned SO much; canning, baking, crafts, etc. In fact I just today made your apple butter.
    Do you remember your post years ago about the Happy Card? I’ve always remembered that. Maybe you could re-post it sometime for the newbies.
    Have a Happy New Year, the best one yet! Suzanne has spoken!

  34. glasslass says:

    I had a year like that and said enough I just can’t do this anymore and quit dating. On a job in another sate 13 months later I met the love of my life. I had been divorced for 20 years and ended up marrying him 10 months later. He’s gone now but those were the best 19 years of my life. So here’s to a better year and better times. Your young yet and life has not passed you by, it will get better and when you meet your special someone you won’t even be able to remember “what’s his name”.

  35. Glenda says:

    I hope 2015 is a wonderful one for you! I am sorry about all your losses.

    I think a bad relationship is worse that no relation ship at all.

    Hold that thought. You are a wonderful, caring person and should be appreciated to the fullest. If someone doesn’t realize that, they should be gone!! (I tell this same thing to my 19-year old granddaughter). Know your own worth…….

  36. Louise says:

    I also missed your regular posting. I had the pleasure of attending one of your workshops 2 years ago and plan to make it to one this year too. You are like family to your regular readers. I talk about you like you are a friend that lives down the road. LOL. Suzanne does it this way or Suzanne does that. We love you and think you are great!!! I hope you have a wonderful 2015 to make up for 2014.(Love your sweet Precious..)

  37. Charlene says:

    I don’t comment often but wanted to join so many others in saying we have missed you, you are loved and appreciated, and I hope 2015 is your best year yet! You are too good for that lying, cheating piece o’ crap and don’t you forget it. You hear? Seriously, all the best to you and yours! You have accomplished so much and I so admire your guts to pursue the life you really want.

  38. mema7257 says:

    So sorry for your year but you have God and he never leave you..And you have your children and the new puppy have so very much to be thankful for …I do pray you enjoy your year ahead..the nature you have there is just wonderful enjoy it..God Bless you and BE HAPPY :cowsleep: :chicken: 🙂 :wave: :snuggle:

  39. Miss Judy says:

    I knew something wasn’t going well for you…but figured you’d tell us when you were ready. The best of everything for you in 2015.

  40. cardiffcheryl says:

    I too noticed something was off. I thought you were bored with all of us. Like Louise, I always refer to you as “my farmer friend Suzanne.” I am sorry for your heartache and hope things get better for you. :heart:

  41. funraiser says:

    I just read your year in review and can certainly see why now you were not posting as much. I had also posted awhile back about your lack of posts. After reading this I can certainly see why. Some times we just need to take it day by day and hope for the best. I can sure relate to that.

    I also read your book and can say it was a very good read. You certainly have the gift of the pen or I guess i should say computer which I hope is a Mac. That takes a lot of guts to put all of that down for everyone to see. You are defiantly one tough little lady!

    Happy Trails from one West Virginian to another!

  42. PaulaA says:

    I hope that all these comments saying how we’ve missed you will uplift you, Suzanne. Isn’t it odd how we smart, independent, mature women can still get go messed up by men and love?? I’ve come to think it must be part of The Plan, but it doesn’t make much sense to me!
    Wishing you a solid 2015 full of smooth and happy times.

  43. CarrieJ says:

    Well this makes me feel bad. I dumped Facebook, which is where I got my notifications that you made a new post. Unfortunately, I got out of the habit of coming here every day, because I got lazy.

    Your blog recently popped back into my head, and I am ready to resume life as I used to know it. So, I’ll be checking in daily.

    Perspective…being cheated on and lied to and having your heart broken SUCKS! But, compared to what you went through at Stringtown, it seems less horrible. This will end up being another facet of your life that makes you the incredible person you are.

    Don’t give up. Your picker might be off though. Maybe you should have one of your close friends screen your next date :).

    I’m glad I’m back. I’ve missed your posts….

  44. Kieran says:

    Dear Suzanne, I often share your recipes & stories/photos with my Facebook reader friends, and I am a HUGE fan. You are a remarkable woman. Do you know how remarkable you really are? Girl, you say things that bring me to tears sometimes–of happiness, of wistfulness, of understanding. Somehow you get to the core of what it means to be alive–and to live with joy and abundance, in the midst of hardship and sorrow–and that is such a gift!

    What you said about hearing the horses clip-clop behind you as you led them to a field today (I’m checking in on February 17th) just brought me to a place I needed to go. It was a beautiful moment in my day. I thank you for that.

    Now to hell with wimpy men who can’t handle the goddess that you are. You keep shining big and bright and don’t let the suckers get you down.

    Big hugs,

    Kieran in Summerville, SC

  45. auntbear says:

    I think we are pretty dang lucky you find the time to share with us at all.Thanks.

  46. OLEF641 says:

    One thing our generation of women wasn’t taught as girls was the importance of being a whole person, not just a half looking for her “other half”. I had to learn it the hard way. Suzanne, I’m sorry you’ve had a couple of bad experiences.

    I’ve been gone from here for a good while (fell off the newsletter somehow) and after wading thru many, many posts I have to ask: What happened to Ross’ wedding, last heard of in the post of Jan 21, 2014, when he is mentioned as having bought tux and ring. Then nothing. I waded through every 2014 post (did I mention it’s been years . . .) but couldn’t find out what happened. I know you don’t relate your personal life, but this WAS posted about a few times. What happened?

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