Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay


This is me sitting on the porch (yeah, the title of this post is…..nonsensical) with bad internet, watching a page take 15 minutes to load.

To the left of my laptop are some of the sunflowers that were knocked down along with the corn. I took it as an excuse to cut them and I brought some of them inside. I love sunflowers in a vase over the kitchen sink. That is summer, perfected. Even if it is the result of a terrible storm. (Otherwise, I was behaving and leaving the seedheads to mature for the birds.)

If you live in the country, or have ever lived in the country, you know that rural high-speed internet is often an empty dream. DSL is, finally, creeping ever closer, and I remain ever hopeful, but it is not to our farm yet. And on days during and sometimes following heavy storms, satellite is slow if accessible at all.

I have been operating Chickens in the Road, a photo-intensive site, on intermittent high-speed and often on dial-up for the past year and a half. You can pat me on the head now.

In other words, I’m saying uploading one photo for this post (and slightly whining) was the best I could do with my internet connection this weekend, so please forgive me this short post. I did can 12 quarts and 2 pints of green beans, and 9 1/2 pints of salsa this weekend, though! (Taking my accomplishments where I can.)

P.S. The storm this weekend also tossed a tree down across the road in front of our farm, tearing out a section of fence. Luckily, Jack and the sheep were too busy eating the top off the tree to make a break for it before the fence was repaired.

P.P.S. I’ll let you know if the corn recovers!

(Do you live in the country? Is satellite your only option? Does the universe tease you with this-close DSL, too? Feel free to commiserate with me.)


  1. Kathleen in Michigan says:

    I am amazed that you have been working with dial up this long and maintaining this blog so well. My brief (thank goodness) experience with dial up was awful.

  2. Lynda Dunham-Watkins says:

    I’m in a rural area also, and yes, it’s the pits! We’ve had DSL for a couple of years now, and it’s wonderful. The house across the road may not get it though. Really weird how location, location, location is ever important for internet access! LOL

  3. Bev says:

    A photo based blog on dial up? You do get an “atta girl”! It must take you all day to get the pictures to upload. I do enjoy seeing them every day though.
    When are you doing another class? I completely missed the last one. I had my toes in the sand staring at the ocean at the time and could think of little else.

  4. Jayme aka The Coop Keeper says:

    We just got dsl about a year ago out here, so I totally commiserate with your dial up woes! I’ve become increasingly iimpatient with the internet. If a page doesn’t load in five seconds now I get fidgety. Funny how I could click on a page, go do some dishes, and then come back and check when I had dial up.

    I want a lap top so bad! I hate being holed up in this little room away from everyone when I want to surf the net.

    Hope the corn recovers! I just read a couple of days ago that it usually takes a few days.

  5. Beth says:

    Do you have cell phone coverage? That is how we get our high speed. For the first few years we lived here we had dial up. Then husband did some research and discovered we could get high speed via cellular broadband. From what he found out, this is faster and more reliable than satellite.

    Expense wise, I’m not sure how they compare. His employer is paying for it so he can work from home sometimes. (in the long run it ends up being less costly than sending him to sites every week.)

    I have noticed that it will slow down at certain times during the day or if all the computers are online at once.

  6. Lisa D says:

    Shmoopywood doesnt get satellite or cable or anything else 🙁 if it did, we would be living there!! Oh and also… I dont know if you have ever been to my blog but NONE of my titles for my posts match up to what they are really about lol

  7. Rebecca says:

    I can’t even imaging the patience you must have. I have been so impressed with your blog I read it everyday. Now I REALLY appreciate you and your efforts. I don’t even want to think about uploading the videos – my daughter’s favorite part. Keep it up, this is wonderful. And on the days you can’t bear to post a picture, I will still read every word.

  8. Christine says:

    We only recently received DSL. Trust me, I understand your pain. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed DSL gets to you soon.

  9. Nancy K. says:

    I also have a photo-intense blog ~ mostly pictures of my Shetland sheep. I’ve accepted my fate with Dial-up and have learned to make it work for me. I click on a photo or site ~ then go do the dishes. Click on another photo ~ go make the bed. Click ~ vacuum. If it weren’t for Dial-up, my house would be a lot messier!


  10. The Retired One says:

    We JUST got DSL last year…and now it even seems too slow when I go to load photos on Blogger…sometimes, though…blogger itself is to blame…it just loads them tooooo slow!

  11. IowaCowgirl says:

    I feel your pain. Dial-up cost me about a year’s work of business (I’m a freelance book indexer) because I could not get a decent connection. It was TERRIBLE. Finally we got a tower that can actually be sighted from our house; current problems are low efficiency”, meaning digging a trench and burying the cable, then erecting a pole with the receiver on it for a more “direct” view of the tower.

    Hang in there…hills and trees are culprits, though, are they not?

  12. Pete says:

    Ah, yes, the joys of country life! Yes, been there, done that. Until the local cable company was bought out by someone who provided internet service – and we finally had some options. Not perfect, but much better.

  13. Kacey says:

    That would drive me insane! I already told my husband that when we retire, the first thing we ask is if there is high speed internet available. Reliable high speed. Here’s hoping DSL makes it way to you soon…

  14. winifred says:

    Oh dear that sounds awful. I have broadband which is light years away from Dial up. However on occasions it just freezes.

    At work when that happened, generally at lunchtime, we used to say “Oh America’s gone online now”!It was always slower after lunch!

  15. Doris Rose Macbean says:

    Pat on the head!? Hell, you deserve the damn Medal of Honor! I guess no satellite either. Still, your photos rock, thanks.

  16. monica says:

    You go girl! :snoopy: You get extra points for using dailup! :heart: :turtle:

  17. Karen says:

    Suzanne, look into Verizon. They have more coverage in rural areas than most, and they also have a device that hooks into your computer via USB that connects to the Internet. It even has its own phone number. We use that at our farm in Kentucky, where other cell companies get spotty or no coverage, and it works great.

    Count me as one who also thinks you’re amazing, dealing with dialup all this time!

  18. Caryn says:

    Oh wow slow internet is the worst and then throw picture into the mess…bless your heart! :turtle:

  19. cranberry says:

    Oh yes. Mom’s a tv person and for – well, up to now, even with satellite, cannot get great tv out in the country! And forget the internet, I send something to Dad, (mom won’t even go there) – he tells me to send it to his computer at work – in town because it takes too long to open a picture file, or watch a movie, or whatever. Most of his time is spent sitting there – waiting. It’s not fair for the people out in the country! But if I asked Mom and Dad, they wouldn’t give up the Country for the world. I can’t see a wild turkey or deer while sitting in front of my computer like Dad can, and that’s a pretty beautiful trade-off like none-other. If I had my druthers I’d be sitting with Dad, waiting for the page to load! So Suzanne, all in all, you’ve got it pretty darn great and I KNOW you’ll agree! :snoopy:

  20. Carol Ann says:

    I too am shocked that you have been managing this site with satellite and dial up. I live in the middle of nowhere at the top of a mountain in the northeastern part of West Virginia. DSL is miles and miles away and may never make it up here since there are hardly any other people and I’m at the end of the line. We broke down and installed a satellite (for Internet ONLY; no TV reception desired here!) a few years ago and it was blissful compared to the 9 bps I was getting before on dial up. LOL!
    PS: Good luck with Frontier. I’m not really too pleased with them.

  21. EightPondFarm says:

    We are in the country too. No cell service to our farm (although it is at the end of our 1/2 mile driveway). We have to remind visitors their pagers will not work so they’d better call in for messages. Telephone service is spotty since the wires into the 175 year old homestead are so old the phone company is afraid to touch them (and the telephone works as long as the outside cable is hung just so over our neighbor’s fence). But we did put in a satellite dish for TV and internet. It has it’s issues but is better than nothing!!

  22. JenniferB says:

    I’ve been canning sweet corn this weekend. 😉 And yes, we live in the country and lucked out on DSL because our house is tall and they could put the thingy on top of our roof, and the transmitter is on top of the co-op tower in the nearest town and there is “line of sight”. Barely. ;)Still spotty service in storms though.

  23. Alexandra says:

    Way to go, girl!! I’m amazed to get anything uploaded at all!Living in Argentina, which is light years away from you guys (technologically speaking, at least)I can fully relate to your woes.

  24. Karen/Abiga says:

    I was also going to suggest cell phone internet or whatever it is called. We had Hughes which is worse than dial up, then tried dialup but phone charges were horrible. My daughter then heard about cellular coverage and got it but it only goes on her laptop so I don’t get it now. It is so fast. Thank you for persevering with the poor coverage you have so we get the benefits. blessings.

  25. Chris says:

    Have you thought of using Windows Live Writer? It won’t help your speed but it will give you the option of preparing the posts in advance WYSIWYG and click upload and go feed the goats while it does the work.

    For those who may not know, Live Writer is a free download, just google.

  26. Estella says:

    I live in a small town and we just got DSL about a year and a half ago.
    I honestly don’t know how you manage the blog on dial up!

  27. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    We couldn’t get DSL or Cable either out here. I checked into a company called WildBlue. It cost a pretty penny to get it installed and it’s not the cheapest monthly bill either but after using dial-up for 2 months when we got here I consider it worth every penny that we pay for it.

    There’s also another company that offers the same type service, it’s called Hughes Net. My sister lives even farther out than we do and she uses it.

  28. B. Ruth says:

    We live at the end of a line…electrically and phoneally..errr..
    phone lines…always having some type of problems…trees falling, lightning, sometimes wind, outages..etc…so sympathize with you.
    Finally, they put the phone line underground, electric company set new poles, ran new lines and put up safe transformers..etc..much better…
    Finally got cable, we were one of the last homes in the area…still occasionally have problems…but alot faster than dial-up..
    PS….Juat took that corn pudding out of the oven…
    PSS…just used what I had..Gyspy peppers, red and yellow onion, and only two large eggs…a smidge of half-half (left over from an attack of home-made ice cream over the weekend) finished rest with skim milk….Set beautifully….will taste it when it cools…thanks for the recipe…

  29. Sheryl (Runningtrails) says:

    We do live in the country but we have highspeed wireless, fortunately. Rogers wireless is just about eveywhere in this area. Our wireless internet is with another company, but it works the same way.

    I don’t use it that much, except in the middle of winter. I work to stay away from it so I can get some outside stuff done. If I let myself sink into the computer, I can be there all day. I gave my laptop to my daughter. Hubby is the big user.

    Love that porch swing!!

  30. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    I’m glad we went with WildBlue then because we almost went with Hughes Net. Ours does go out if it is extremely cloudy or raining really hard but most of the time the weather doesn’t effect it. I’d die if I had to use dial up all the time! Maybe they will get something better out to you soon! I have no hopes of cable getting to us anytime soon. We just got county water last year!

  31. anne says:

    I think we are lucky to have any internet anywhere no matter what it is.
    What an improvement over not having any internet
    Be grateful.

  32. jane says:

    What salsa recipe did you use

  33. Sandra says:

    I am amazeded how well you do with dial up! After having dail up for years now I have a dish thru Wildblue because they are the only ones that will provide service in my little corner of the world in West Virginia. Hopefully DSL will make it to the mountains soon…I waited on Verizon for 5 years but they stopped 120ft (air miles) from my home so I ditched my phone service and all with Verizon and went completely with cell phones. Love your blog!

  34. Kathy Lormand says:

    I had Hughes net for a very long time, when it first started. But after hurricane Rita, and how pitiful their manners and response times were, we went with Wildblue. What a difference. They are nice, patient, and speak English. My husband also has an aircard with Verizon for work, but Wildblue is faster. As far as expense, they, like cell phones, are all about the same. Not enough savings one over the other. However, Wildblue will offer you a service policy for reasonable, and as I understand it, it will cover all cost to get you back up and running. I had no idea you posted by dial up. I am most impressed with your patience, and as another reader said earlier, I’ll read everyday whether you post a pic or not. Love the pics, but love the stories even more. Regards.

  35. Sheila says:

    We live on a highly traffic county road which connects 2 state highways. Our road is only 2 miles long. Both ends of the road have high speed internet but all the companies say not enough houses on the road for them to run cable. So we are stuck with slow dial up connection.

  36. Lisa S says:

    I live in the country and have had dsl for about one year. It is through my phone company which is a co-op. I knew they had dsl in town and they kept saying everybody would be getting it but I figured they would let you know. They have a newsletter and was talking about it so I called to see when I would be able to get it. They say oh it has been available for over a year for you. (thanks for letting me know). It ended up being cheaper than dial up with the extra phone line. I love it just wish I would have done the wireless so then the other members of my family could have used the WII to get online and leave me alone.

  37. Angela says:

    I live in the country. :woof: And I’m sure you know as well as I do how hard it is to get anything done around here! Gee, it took me a year and a half to get our phone line off the ground. :shimmy: We had to get a satellite so my husband could work from home. Thank God his work pays for it! :snoopy:

    I’m glad that your :sheepjump: didn’t jump over the tree that fell! Can you tell I’m lovin these images!

  38. Ellen says:

    Yep, we did dial up for about a year and a half here before we got DSL. P A I N F U L.

  39. Taryn says:

    We only got DSL in our rural area last year. My brother, the 6’4″ redneck computer geek taught my children and his children to “praise the hub” whenever we drove past it. So, listening to five collective kids chanting, “All hail the hub! All hail the hub” every time we drove by it was priceless. To this day, whenever the internet goes does, my youngest gasps, “We forgot to praise the hub!”

  40. janet gordon says:

    The joys of trying to run a business and maintain a picturre heavy blog – don’t I know it. Many of my friends have cable hi-speed u=but I amk in a short pice of road that doesn’t have cable – maybe 4 or 5 households, none of whom are computer owners. But one morning late this winter I was able to look out the window from my work station and see a bobcat pass within feet of my house!! Sort of makes up for it, doesn’t it?

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