I was driving around out here one day about ten years ago, on the hard road that is across the river (which is a far better road than ours), and we stopped in front of the house where my dad grew up. It’s about a mile from where I live now. At the time, I lived over a thousand miles away from here, in the suburbs. The road was blocked by geese. Big, tall, gorgeous white geese. I thought the sight was adorable and quite picturesque, these geese waddling in a flock down the road. But I imagined what that stretch of road must be like in the winter. Icy and narrow and curvy and miles, miles, miles from town. Yet, clearly, there were people who lived out here. The house my father grew up in is still occupied, and there are scattered homes and farms in the area. But, wow, the primitive hardship of it all! I mean, how did these people even survive?

I said, “I would NEVER live out here.” And I certainly couldn’t imagine it. I’ve said, or just believed, never about a lot of things. I never thought I could live on a farm.

I never expected to have goats.

I never thought I’d get to hold baby lambs every night while their mamas ate their dinner.

I never thought I’d have miniature donkeys.

I never would have believed I’d have a swarm of chickens at my feet every morning.

I never thought I’d know how to can tomatoes. Or be able to define a conserve. Or make my own cheese. Or grow my own grapes.

I never thought I’d quit writing romance novels. I never expected to be successful writing anything else.

I never thought I’d ever take a halfway decent photo.

I never thought I’d wear muddy boots caked in poop every day.

Or know the difference between hay and straw.

And be able to tell other people the difference between hay and straw.

Life is full of surprises, and the only never that is really true is that….

….you never know what will happen tomorrow.

Especially if you stop saying never.

P.S. Please excuse the mystery fluff scattered about the porch. You never know what dogs are going to bring back from the woods.

P.P.S. It’s okay to use the word never in the same sentence with things dogs bring in from the woods.

P.P.P.S. What have you thought you could never do, but did? And maybe more important, what do you need to stop thinking never about so that you can get something you really, really want?


  1. mommafox says:

    How many of us in this big world have said NEVER, before reading CITR? I could NEVER bake bread, I could NEVER make laundry soap, I could NEVER crochet,knit,make a candle, make my own soap, render lard, cook like a chef,tap a tree, raise animals. The list is endless and I for one am thankful that I don’t have to say NEVER near as often. Thank You Suzanne and to all who share your talents, big or small every day. :sun: :sun:

  2. Nancy in Iowa says:

    I never thought I would apply ointment to a 10 lb tortoise’s, uh, damaged “member”!!! But I did, and have also emptied a hamster’s pouch when he couldn’t do it himself. I never thought I would hand feed a 550 lb Aldabran tortoise! I’m sorry I can’t confess to making soap or cheese yet, but I have made candles. You, however, have opened my eyes to so many things I could be doing, even if it’s just relearning how to knit and crochet. And the important part of your message – what do I want to stop saying never about: I want to get my knees better so I can go hiking again!! :dancingmonster:

  3. CindyP says:

    I NEVER thought I would love frugal life! But I cannot see myself living with store bought bread, jams, tomatoes, laundry soap, bar soap, dish soap, dishwasher soap, butter, canned food not from my very own garden, or cream soups ever again! Some people may look at you as if you’re poor and WHY IN THE WORLD would you do all that?!? But I will continue this way even if I won a million dollars….. I take pride now in my day to day life of what I feed my family and what they’re bathing in or breathing. I know WHAT they’re eating, bathing in or breathing and I can pronounce ever single ingredient!

    I NEVER thought I would build my own chicken coop in TOWN to have my own chickens…..chickens will be here next month (finally!)

    Thank you, Suzanne, for getting rid of those NEVERS in your life and helping us learn with you :heart:

  4. KateS says:

    Man, Suzanne, not nice. This post made me cry. I have so many ‘nevers’ I’m working on getting past. Between my ‘nevers’ and my “one days”….
    Must work harder toward goals and wants.

  5. Jan says:

    It looks like another beautiful day in NEVER, NEVER land.

    As for me, I NEVER thought that I would start a blog and link to this wonderful blogging community!


  6. Carol Langille says:

    I NEVER thought the scales would be pulled from my eyes by a woman who wears poopy boots and makes drunken cornhusk dolls and yet, so it is!
    Life is a surprise, isn’t it? Limited only by the ‘nevers’ you place on yourself.
    You have been an inspiration, Suzanne…but you know that already. Thank you for being there every day for all of us who follow you.

  7. Andrea says:

    For years and years I said I would never learn how to drive a car. I didn’t see the point with great bus and train services for where I wanted to go. It was also way out of my league financially. Then when I was thirty nine I passed my driving test…first time.

    Another thing I couldn’t see a need for is handknit socks. I have knit a pair but I won’t be making another pair.

  8. Peggy says:

    When I taugh “never” was not the problem word, but the phase “I can’t”. My students quickly learned that “I can’t” was changed to “I can” in my classes. As a Vocational Home Economics teacher I taught many of the “nevers”, except those with the animals. We cooked “home made”, did crafts from “nothing”, made bread, canned fruits and vegetables, sometimes made clothing without commercial patterns and even fried bacon and eggs over a wood fire in a paper bag.

  9. Carmen Smith says:

    I never thought I’d come to terms with my son (only child) joining the Army and I have, of course he hasn’t left for basic training yet!!!! Never thought I’d teach myself how to make candles either and I did 😀
    Enjoy the weekend on your wonderful farm!!!!

  10. skippymom says:

    I never wanted children. Really! My family called me the great cat lady to be. [No offense to cat ladies – I was serioiusly going to have 10 cats and live in an apt. – alone.] Well…….

    25 years later I am the mother of six and I could not imagine my life without a single one of them. Beginning in the fall we will only have one left at home and I really don’t know what we are going to do. It will be so quiet! 🙂

    And your doggie in the middle? I laughed through the whole post of pics because you cannot tell which end of that pup is up! He is adorable.

  11. Angela Pierce says:

    :sun: I never thought Id move myself and my 2 kids over 6oo miles to live next door to my parents, build my own house, barns, pasture, put up 400 bales of hay a year, bake bread,grow and can veggies and fruit, render lard! Raise chickens, goats, horses, ducks and a Llama named Jeff. Give up manicures for short nails, hand me down clothes, wellies and be dirty. Most of all I will NEVER go back to life I left behind. IM the happiest I have ever been. I am myself. :airkiss:

  12. Mary says:

    Hmmmm. You really have me thinking.

  13. Nicolezmomma says:

    I never thought I’d own a Tree Farm. But now that I do, I think it is important to know the difference between hay and straw. Can you please tell me?

  14. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    I NEVER thought my husband could be happy living on a farm in the middle of no where (he was a Nashville city boy through and through) but he’s the one who found this house and land and now we have all kinds of farm animals and he’s building himself a pig pen for two new “arrivals” in May. We also said the man next door would NEVER sell the land he was hanging on to that adjoins our property but we are supposed to close on the 56 acres with the bank next week…..keeping my fingers crossed it all goes smoothly!

  15. Carol says:

    Never thought id stay married for 32 years, but here I am.

  16. Susan at Charm of the Carolines says:

    Where did the third dog come from? THought you only had 2. Amazing how things multiply when you live in the country. Animals just wander up and it’s like they’ve always been there. My sister in law went to the front porch to get her cat one morning and found 2 kittens in the cat bed. Her cat had been spayed years before, so where did the kittens come from?!?! Who knows? But they are well cared for and loved.


  17. Cathy Bendzunas says:

    I never in a million years, thought I would be building my own websites. I was such a technophobe, email was about as technical as I got. But now I have over 20 websites that I have built myself!

    I too have learned never to say never. You just never know what the future will bring, if you are open to it.

  18. beartwork says:

    I thought I’d never live on a farm and wake up every morning looking out at the land we own. I still sometimes pinch myself to see if it’s still true. I thought I’d never know how to take care of chickens and can mint jelly with wild mint. I thought I’d never watch my daughter skate on our pond this past winter. I thought I’d never bake homemade bread, by the way, your recipe for Grandmother bread is fantastic!! Just never say never.

  19. Melissa says:

    I never thought anyone would pay me for painting anything or that any of my art work would end up in a gallery (a mount Olympus to me). I am currently working on a large craft painting order, the funds of which are going towards buying prints of my photos and having them matted and for food for the reception at, yep, my very first ever photographic art show in April. My photos, on display in a gallery. Dei Gratia. I just got a little choked up writing this. I gotta go dab my eyes.

  20. marymac says:

    I never thought I would divorce my husband of 40 years, and get wrapped up with the most wonderful man I could know. This taught me to never say the word never, and to be more understanding of other people’s situations. You know the old saying, “till you’ve walked in my shoes…. “

  21. Barbee' says:

    Sorry to say that I cannot relate to the theme of this post, but I totally enjoyed all the doggy photos, thank you. Also, enjoyed reading the other commenters’ stories. Very interesting and encouraging. Thanks everyone! :hug:

  22. Rose says:

    I never thought I would see my kids off to war, and then welcome them home. I never thought I would have a web page, blog, or learn how to use the computer. I have learned that we can learn something new, sometimes we just need to slow down, and real understand what we where afraid of, and move forward

  23. catslady says:

    I told myself I’d never marry an only child (my dad was one) but I did and I’ve been married for almost 42 years but in a way I was right the first time lol so I never say never anymore.

  24. Christine says:

    I never thought I would learn to shear my own sheep, but I did this week. Now that I’m an expert I think you should let me have a stab at shearing Dookie. At first I thought it was part of him laying around on the porch. LOL

  25. joycee says:

    Life has a way of doing that to us, changing our plans and going down a completely different road. That’s what makes it so fun! I guess I never thought I would be writing a diary (blog) at my age! Hv a grt wknd!

  26. Anne says:

    I’m working on getiing rid of my nevers and this post is a good kick in the butt for me to do that. Angela’s post is awesome.

  27. Michele Messier says:

    I have said never a few times too. I used to work in nursing and never thought I would switch to law. I never thought I would be this broke at my age. I never thought I would be interested in so many things as I grow older. I would like to retire in the country so I will never say that will never happen because it may still come true. I never thought I would have such a fabulous son and a great dog.I never thought I would change religions. :yes: :yes: :yes:

  28. Abiga/Karen says:

    Thanks for the encouragement and sharing everyone. I was raised by a very overbearing and critical mom so it has been hard for me to think I can do anything very well. All you moms out there let your kids try and stop criticizing them so much so they won’t have nevers in their lives. Blessings!

  29. Julie says:

    Well, I said I’d never marry a guy in the Army. I didn’t. He joined three years AFTER we married!! I need to stop saying I’d never be able to farm since it’s the one thing I’ve always wanted to do. Your blog, your sharing your life and experience, is helping me to see that it really could be a reality one day (I hope so!) if I put my mind to it.

    So glad you are doing your “never”, and thanks for sharing it!

    Great post!

  30. kerri says:

    Life is full of surprises. I never thought I’d go from living by the beautiful ocean in Australia to living in the beautiful country in upstate NY, married to a dairy farmer.
    Those pooches look very content :happypuppy:
    And you sound very content to be planted where you are, Suzanne :happyflower: Life is good!

  31. Brenda Alward says:

    My never has turned into a maybe. My whole life I have wanted a nice piece of timber ground to build a small log cabin on. Just a small one to go to on the weekends. I’m now 57,my only child is getting married this summer and I have gone back to work. I have saved nearly $10,000 in a special cabin account. My goal is to have this in the bag in about 5 years. My husband is totally not on board with this, but five will get you ten he will love it once we get it. btw…I make bread, soap, jams, mozzarella cheese and live in the country, but on the wide open prairie. It’s just not the same as being in a hardwood forest.

  32. Yvonne says:

    I never thought I would be addicted to a blog!

  33. Arlene says:

    I learned a long time ago to never say never. The things I said I would never do, I did ! 8) So I am real careful about saying never. But I will say I have never flown an airplane!!! (Hey maybe I will)Thank you for your nevers! :purpleflower:

  34. Kathy in Lexington KY says:

    I’m still in the “never” stage of wanting a farm with animals, a huge garden, and a farm house – where I can live in contentment. I will hear soon about an application for Social Security Disability Insurance, if approved, I may look for a country home to rent, or start saving every penny to get my own place. But I have worked with farm animals in my adult life, something I thought I would never do when I was in my 20’s, and that is my life’s dream. Thanks Suzanne for all of your inspiration.

  35. The Retired One says:

    I loved this post, because it is so, so true. I am loving things now that I never thought I would. Only one rule in life: never say never!

  36. scorwin says:

    A great post. It made everyone think. Me for one, never thought I’d want chickens of all things! But I do and it’s from this blog!! I’ll never say I won’t finally have a farm because, you’re right, you just never know : ))

  37. Mariah says:

    Inspiring post! I never thought I’d live in Europe, but I did…for fifteen years. I never thought I’d live in California, but I do. I never thought I’d be married for 26 years, to the same man…the man I knew years before we got married and never thought he’d be the one. But I have been, and he is. Lots of nevers…mainly I’ve learned to never say never because you never know!

  38. farmershae says:

    I never thought I would find anyone to share my dream of living an off-the-grid sustainable farming life, but I did – and I am so happy to have found my husband!!!! (Of course, we still have to get there, but we share the dream and the path to it.) I still have things I say never about, things that seem insurmountable, but everyone is right – the first step is to stop saying never!!!! Thank you all!!!! :hug:

  39. Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm says:

    Great post! Hubby has said he would NEVER have a cat! Now we have two and he just adores the new little girl and she adores him too. She has attached herself to him and he loves her.

  40. Sarah says:

    Suzanne- I hate to put a link in the comments section, but I just wrote about the same thing in January. This life, the “simpler” life, is nothing sort of a blessing. Here is where I wrote about the same thing:

    I love being in the company of like-minded “folks” such as yourself! Keep writing about the good life! 🙂

  41. cgReno says:

    Really? You have stopped writing romance novels? If that was a goal, GREAT.
    However :no: for your readers! I love Boomer, he is such a brave fiesty little dog!

  42. Karen says:

    Great post. I never thought I could can, could bake bread, could start a garden, could be frugal and enjoy it, could make all our meals from scratch. I always thought that stuff was HARD. What an eye opener to realize that doing all that (and more) is easy, enjoyable, relaxing, creative, empowering.

  43. Cindy Latty says:

    Suzanne, the video of Boomer and Annabelle playing bounce and seek is by far the most funniest thing I’ve seen for a long time! Too, too funny! I’ve watched it I don’t know how many times and I laugh just as loud each time. Cindy L.

  44. pilgrimscottage says:

    How did I live without your posts? Love those dogs. I never say never. Nope, not never. 🙂

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