No, There’s Not a Man on the Place


Yesterday, I took my old, dead tractor battery to an auto store to switch it for a new one. Adam had taken it out of the tractor and loaded it into the back of my Explorer a few weeks ago. It’s heavy–I can’t lift it. He told me to go into the store and tell them I had a battery in the back of my Explorer and ask them to come take it out. So I did. A man carried my tractor battery into the store and set it down to examine its replacement. He looked at the wall of batteries and asked another clerk to come over. They looked at the battery and looked at the wall of batteries. They asked me if it was the original battery that came from the manufacturer. I said, “I think so. I’m pretty sure.” They told me they didn’t have that brand, had never seen that brand, and showed me the closest they could come to its size. “How much wiggle room do you have?” The replacement they were suggesting was a couple of inches larger.


I said, “Can you carry that back to my Explorer?”

I’ve never looked inside the tractor and I have no idea how much wiggle room there is or isn’t when placing the battery. Feeling slightly frustrated so far, I stopped in at a farm supply store for a bigger water container for the horses. At first I couldn’t find any buckets bigger than what I already had, and couldn’t even find an available clerk who wasn’t manning a register. Eventually, I found someone to help me, texted for advice from a (male) friend, and managed to leave the store with a 110-gallon tank.

This morning, I’m going back to the auto store with Adam in tow, who does know how much wiggle room there is for the battery, and then we’re going to get lumber for the horse shelter.

Recently, I had a conversation with someone in which they came to a revelation, stating, “You’re running a farm and you really don’t know what you’re doing a lot of the time, do you?”

I didn’t take this as an insult at all (based on the conversation which led up to it) and neither was it intended as an insult, I’m sure. I felt myself beam. I said, “No, I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time!”

They said, “You like that. You’re smiling!”

YES. I like it. I love it. It’s an adventure. And I’m proud of it. Yes, sometimes it’s frustrating. I’m a single woman managing a farm. I am not mechanical or mathematical or constructional or tool-ish. I have to be shown repeatedly how to do simple things that I don’t understand and which don’t come naturally to me, and there are some things I don’t even want to understand, I just want to point to a hired man and say, solve that.

Am I proud of being dumb about some things? No. I’m not proud that there are many things I don’t know or understand. I’m proud that I manage in spite of it. No one can know everything, and there are many things I do know and do understand. And for what I don’t know, I find the will and the way to overcome. Those things still scare me–and there are problems today that need solved, that I don’t know how to solve, that scare me. But I will find the will and the way to overcome them–even if, and probably if–it means I need help, which is the hardest thing for me to ask for.

I do not run this farm alone. I run it on the wings of hired men, neighbors, friends, and family who help me. (Mostly hired men because I don’t like to ask for favors, or even take them when they’re offered, unless it’s an emergency or necessary for some other reason.) Over the past more than a year that I’ve run a farm by myself, I’ve adjusted and learned how to manage the seemingly unmanageable. That doesn’t make me feel any less as if I’m running this farm. I know how to get help when I need it because I can’t build it or lift it or figure it out, and I work to make it happen or, sometimes, give up a little pride. And every time I’m standing in a store and don’t know how to buy what I know I need, I know that maybe next time I will know better.

Or maybe next time I won’t.
But in either case, I will still be standing.


  1. Deezy says:

    Applauding your efforts Suzanne! True bravery to me is being prepared to step into unknown situations and make the best of them-kudos to you!

  2. Rose H says:

    I have nothing but a great admiration for you Suzanne. We all need advice and help sometimes regardless of if we are alone or with a partner. You are your own woman, which to me is a very important thing and life is a huge learning curve!
    Give yourself a pat on the back :yes:

  3. BunnyRuth says:

    If we waited until we knew how to do every aspect of something before we attempted it, we would probably never try anything. Life is a learning curve 🙂

  4. Old Geezer says:

    “As God is my witness, as God is my witness they’re not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again! And I’ll know the wiggle room of my tractor battery, too!”

    — Suzanne McMinn, “Gone with the Chickens in the Road”, coming soon to a drive-in theater near you.

  5. Goodnewsfarm says:

    Next time you are sent to the store make sure you have a picture drawing and all the info you can think of that they will ask. The most important thing is to have the cell phone handy with the number of the person that sent you to the store. That way when the clerk ask you a question you don’t knowm you dial the number and hand the phone to them. Been there done that! It will be ok you are doing just fine.

  6. easygoinglady says:

    No one can know how to do everything. And doing is the best way to learn. If we waited until we knew everything about it to get started….we would never get started!!

    The only way not to make any mistakes is to NOT DO ANYTHING.

  7. CATRAY44 says:

    Out of this kind of understand grows quiet confidence. :happybutterfly:

  8. CATRAY44 says:

    Make that “understanding”, lol.

    Haha, Old Geezer! That was great!

  9. pugwaggin says:

    Suzanne, how boring life would be if you took the safest and easiest way. You are amazing. Neighbors like your are a blessing. Hired help will teach many things. Have a blessed day.

  10. Sandra says:

    You are so brave and you do make a great role model for us. There are so many things that you do know how to do and you are so generous in sharing your knowledge. You are appreciated.

  11. Flowerpower says:

    Suzanne, I would have probably taken the man’s comment as an insult. There are tons of things you do on the farm that he would not have a clue about. I think you are one tough and smart woman who has accomplished a lot! You amaze me with your smarts and your “get er done” attitude! Ask him if he could raise 3 kids and do what you do? Trust me, he cant! I admire you! :happyflower:

  12. FreedomValleyFarm says:

    I’ll let you in on a little secret, most men don’t know what they are doing either. They would have to figure it out or ask someone as well.

  13. BostonSu says:

    You very well SHOULD be proud! Tackling something that’s over your head and experience, and SUCCEEDING….well, if that’s not something to be proud of, I don’t know what is!

    It took me years to accept it myself, but there’s nothing wrong in asking for help with things. Even experienced farmers will need that from time to time. I think you are amazing! :woof:

  14. doubletroublegen says:

    Suzanne you are completely capable of learning and doing anything you want to do in your life!! You have proved that over and over in the last year. Farming is a learning process- trial and error, men do the same exact thing but are not willing to admit when they need help or can’t figure out a problem. Sister, you keep doing what you do best- Inspire the rest of us to step outside of our comfort box. :heart:

  15. bumblebee says:

    You are such an inspiration to me. I was thinking about you this morning when I was out shoveling snow. LOL You amaze me with your energy and willpower to do as much as you do. You are one awesome lady!! I appreciate all that you share with us so we can learn more about everything.
    I feel it was a compliment when the guy couldn’t believe you run a farm and don’t always know what you are doing. A WOW moment!! COOL! He was amazed!!!!
    Thank you for all your wonderful recipes, the gorgeous pictures, and all the time you spend to make our lives better and happier!!
    Bless you dear lady! I’m SO happy to have you and your Blog in my life!!! YAY! :snoopy: :happyflower:

  16. Sue, a Florida Farm Girl says:

    And that’s the point, isn’t it? To still be standing at the end of the day and to be HAPPY. Nothing else matters.

  17. milesawayfarm says:

    “Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’
    ‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.”
    ― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

    I used to think, when I was young, that I needed to wait to stop being afraid before I could try something new. Then I learned that the only way you move forward is to walk through the fear and try anyway. You go girl!

  18. marrypoppinz says:

    I’m in the same boat….I’m proud of the fact that I can find the help I need when I need it.

  19. Lana says:

    Suzanne, even the President of the United States needs advisors!! You’re doing great!

  20. myheathenheart says:

    I give you a standing ovation! You’re the epitome all that’s good and entirely wonderful about us as women :sun:

  21. yvonnem says:

    You are awesome, that’s all there is to it! :dancingmonster:

  22. Rainn says:

    Love this post!!!!!

  23. Linda Goble says:

    Amen to you Sister!!!! Their is a lot of us women who are like you. And you know a lot of us admire all you have accomplish. I can say I wish I was more like you… A strong women and not afraid to ask for help when needed. :happyflower:

  24. joykenn says:

    I echo the previous comments. Until I retired I worked in a hospital and believe me everything a modern hospital does is a team effort. Don’t believe the TV. Surgeons do NOT and CAN NOT do an MRI. Doctors don’t start IVs or do most of the bedside procedures–nurses do. Dieticians know the ends and outs of complicated feeding a patient via a tube. Etc. If modern hospitals don’t do very precise teamwork everything slows down, gets fouled up and we get problems.

    Anything complicated like a farm (or a hospital) relies on many different special skills. It is HARD being a generalist. Farm people depend on neighbors, friends, relatives, the guy or gal who knows how to do something. In the past the skills you teach at CITR retreat were the specialized skills women traditionally provided–grow, preserve and prepare food. Make clothes, quilts, washing soap, and raise and run the kids. AND help out when needed in the fields. Yes, some of that is “obsolete” with modern stores but some is better the old fashioned way. (don’t get me started on store eggs as toxic substances).

    You’ve mastered so many old fashioned farm skills. You WILL, I’m sure, rely on those who know and can do, learn to do some new things yourself, and apply your considerable will and determination into figuring out what you can do and what you need to hire out. My longwinded two cents!

  25. banksiarose says:

    just one question – Can I be you when I grow up???

  26. cabynfevr says:

    As always, you are my inspiration!

  27. sunflowerdancin says:

    G’day Suzanne ! long time between my posts, but know I LOVE to read what’s been happening with your adventures. Perhaps those ill informed about what it is that you do, might like to explain the finer details of writing…? “you don’t really know much about writing do you ? ‘ I just could never imagine you would be so insensitive to make that remark. yet some small minds think it’s ok to do that very thing with a limited perspective of farming.. The thing is this… you don’t, and can’t, know what you don’t know, ignorance doesn’t dare venture forth, bravery does. You have such great insight and courage, be proud of you … we all are :wave: You will do more than stand btw.

  28. JoyS says:

    As grandad would say ~ that gal’s got Spunk. And ya gotta admire that’ … :yes:

  29. zteagirl71 says:

    Ha ha ha…i’m the same way regarding not knowing everything, but I know how to manage some how, until I can find someone to help me. As for going to stores where they sell tools and mechanical parts, I once dared to enter an auto parts store as a young woman of 19 in search of a bulb for my car’s cabin light, it had burned out. Instantly, dozen’s of masculine heads turned my way as I entered the door and the once loud din had become uncomfortable quiet. Then I smiled sheepishly, waved, and said, :wave: “Hi, I know I’m not supposed to be here, but I need a light bulb thingy for the inside of my car.” Then all of the men laughed and a nice young man rushed to my aide and helped me with the light bulb thingy. Whew!

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