The Farmhouse Year in Review 2008


January. The year started here, in the slanted little house. It was cold, very cold. Our new farmhouse was under roof and while real work continued there, I spent many shivering hours at the old farmhouse working on my fantasy farm in my head.

Oh, and driving my car into the river.

February. I wondered if the house would ever be finished. And what it was like to have heat and insulation as it hit zero back at the old farmhouse.

I was interviewed for an article that appeared in the local county paper. On that icy day, I was scared to drive up my own driveway at the new farmhouse and fell off my chair during the interview. I was calm, cool, collected, and ready to be a farmer.

March. We moved in!!!!!

And I promptly lost half my cats. Cats are so difficult to move.

The house wasn’t really quite finished. It was stressful and exciting and stressful. Did I mention the stressful part? But–I live on a farm!!! And there was heat and insulation and everything.

April. We took a trip to a chicken farm and I came away with dozens of eggs to hatch. After an incubator overheating incident, I got a fresh supply of eggs from the chicken farm, but couldn’t quite bring myself to throw out the ruined eggs. I was stunned to see one hatch, which was quickly followed by more from the second batch. After a month of turning, candling, waiting, hoping, I ended the month with my little flock, my first chickens.

And, thank goodness, lost cats became found cats as we settled into our new house and our new life on our new farm.

May. We built a chicken house so the chickens could finally move out of my office, and took a trip to a goat farm, preparing for the next step. Goats! And we started our first garden on our new farm, challenged by the loss of top soil from grading during construction. We perservered, determined to grow something even if it was only weeds, as spring burst into the lush beauty that is West Virginia.

I love spring on our farm.

June. The chickens grew and grew and even got a little scary.

Prepare to die.

And then we got a giant puppy!!!

How did I ever live without her before?

July. We finally named our farm, just in time for ducks and a duck pond.

And then we were, finally, joined by our first goats–Clover and her two babies, Nutmeg and Honey.

I was immediately obsessed with Clover’s magic udder and the dream of fresh milk.

The month closed with a feature story about my blog in the Charleston Daily Mail.

August. I started milking Clover.

Yeah. I can’t really explain that picture. But I did eventually go from a few scant tablespoons to a pint a day!! I was determined. And so was Clover…..

Meanwhile, the garden proved more abundant than expected. I love summer on our farm.

September. Clover thought up five thousand different ways to to foil my efforts to milk her. I perservered and threw a Chickens in the Road party, where I learned to make cheese. Take that, Clover.

After canning apricot, peach, and blackberry jam all summer, we picked apples at the old farmhouse for apple butter.

My pantry was filled with jams and butters. I love living in the country.

October. The chickens finally earned their keep and started laying eggs just as Clover and I signed a truce, agreeing to live to milk another day.

Or, you know, I agreed. Not so sure about Clover……

I was an honorary grand marshal in the Black Walnut Festival parade. I learned to use a pressure canner, adding green beans and tomatoes to our stocked pantry. And most of all, October was about the stunning show of color all around us on our farm.

I love our farm in the autumn.

November. The chickens gave me a a pink egg.

And then quit laying because they were just messing with my head anyway.

We started building a goat house and I started dreaming about sheep again as we saw our first snow on the farm.

December. We got snowed in and went sledding on our farm for the first time. The boys cut down our first Christmas tree for our new farmhouse and much of the month was spent in fun and frugal gift-making. 52 came out of the shadows at long last, and Clover dreamed of a man of her own.

Winter on our farm is wonderful. (I’m really digging the heat and insulation.)

This new farmhouse has already seen new friends and old friends and family from near and far. Good times and hard times. Tears and laughter, despair and hope. I’m looking forward to the next year and dreaming new dreams–new chicks, ducklings, baby goats, and, yay, little lambs! Oh, the farm babies we shall have! And maybe, just maybe, a barn…… Who knows what else. There are so many things left to learn, so many experiences, so many surprises.

Life is a bold adventure.

This is my now. And whatever happens next…..

….I know it’s gonna be fun. Come with us?


  1. Laney says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your farm, your family (animals included!) and your wonderful writing with us each and every day. I look forward to your daily post and daily picture each day (and often will peek in late and night to see if I can catch what’s new before anyone else). I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful 2009.

  2. Patty says:

    You know, I can’t remember exactly when I started reading Chickens daily because I went back and read from the first of the year onward to learn more about how you got where you are now. Now I can’t wait for each new one to get posted! I read them while I work online early in the mornings. This has really been a HUGE year for you! 2009 should be such a wonderful year. I can’t wait to read and watch each day! Thank you so much for continuing to let us share a little of your life – a life many of us dream of having ourselves someday.


  3. SkippyMom says:

    I swear you suffer from insomnia the same way that I do. Do you ever sleep? It is amazing that you can keep up with all the things you do.

    Your casserole [our version of it] was delish…thanks for the starter.

    Now go sleep. I promise if you will.

  4. beekudzu says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the new year. I hope it’s all good. I told my husband last night I wanted a goat and some chickens. I think he’s going to need some convincing. I’ll j ust have to let him read your blog and I’m sure he’ll come around.

  5. Heidi says:

    I’m here for the ride baby – aint getting rid of me that easy!!!! LOL

  6. Amelia says:

    :biggrin: Where has the year gone…in reading back thru the month’s review the happenings seems like just yesterday.I so enjoy your daily posting and the pictures.

    May 2009 bring you all the Blessings you can handle.

  7. Sue says:

    Great review! May 2009 be the best yet.

  8. jane says:

    I think I have been here for over a year – I remember it all. Love the drunken orange cakes too. Great gifts. I will be so excited to see the cookbook – 2009 project – So looking forward to the year ahead with all the gang!!

  9. Cheryl S. says:

    I wouldn’t miss it! This is one of my favorite places to be. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  10. Becky says:

    I have been here for most of the year. And have enjoyed every post of it. Through all the triumphs and set backs. You have come a long way in just this year. I wish for you that next year will double all your triumphs and lessen the setbacks.
    I’ll be here, with bells on!!

  11. Heidi533 says:

    What a wonderful and exciting year you had. I can’t wait to see what the next one has in store.

  12. Terry says:

    Happy Holidays! Thank you so much for allowing us to enjoy your life on the farm. I come over almost everyday, and sometimes more. I have used your recipes and I have to tell you how much we enjoyed the bread/egg/bacon casserole. It was my honor to make Christmas day breakfast, so I put together the casserole the nite before and WOW, every one raved on and on about it. Nuttin left but a smell, for the cats, LOL, thank you again for being here and have a great 2009. Terry

  13. sc says:

    What they all said…
    Sharing in your excitement and your journey is truly wonderful!
    Thank you for opening the windows.
    Cheers and best wishes for the new year!!!!!

  14. Robin G. says:

    2008 was awesome, and yes, I will be here to see what 2009 brings you (and to see what recipes work better with duck eggs!).

  15. Jen R ( says:

    I can’t believe I’ve been reading Chickens in the Road that long! I absolutely love following your journey and I am so proud of you for following your dreams (please don’t take that as me being condescending). I’m in awe of what you’ve accomplished.

  16. CATRAY44 says:

    Just try getting rid of us! Looking forward to the New Year with you all!

  17. Nancy in Atlanta says:

    It’s all been said here already! Except that today’s post is like a wonderful calendar with a story. This is a fabulous journey that the kids will always remember. Thank you so much for sharing it all. I can hardly wait for your column to start!! I wish 2009 brings to you and yours (and that includes the critters) the best of everything. :catmeow:

  18. shirley says:

    It’s 11:46 am.I got up at 6am to look at Chickens in the Road. No internet! Did I feel like crying? Oh YES! Morning coffee and your blog. That’s the way I wake up.
    Your year in review allowed me to reminisce with you. Thank you for the gift you’ve given me without even being aware of it. The sharing of yourself.
    Remember the old view masters? You put a disc in and looked through binocular like things at a 3-D image and felt like you could just step into the picture?That’s the feeling I get when I look at your pictures.
    I love your stories, and have made several of your recipes.
    Have a very happy new year

  19. shirley says:

    Oops! Forgot to say the minute the internet came on, I went straight to your blog.The drunken orange cakes look divine and now I’m hungry. :hungry:

  20. Mim says:

    Really enjoy reading about your adventures..I also have my husband to check out your post…(Power of suggestion)
    Currently have 3 alpacas, 1 llama, 2 rabbits, 2 cats & 1 dog… (Power of suggestion is working – He is convinced that I need 2 pygmy goats…SO I am looking for 2 pygmy goats for this spring.. if you know of any pygmy goats for sale please let me know. I live in Malden (5 miles east of Charleston). Thanks
    Happy Holidays to you & yours. :treehugger:

  21. Amy Addison says:

    What a wonderful year, Suzanne! Best wishes for 2009.

  22. Christine says:

    Wow, it’s hard to believe that I’ve been reading your blog for over a year! It went by so fast.

  23. Melanie says:

    Thanks for the review. This is my favorite site and we appreciate you keeping up the blog and sharing with us. : ) :clap:

  24. BethAnn says:

    Wow, have i been reading your blog that long already. I look forward to sitting down every morning because I know there will always be a post! Thanks for sharing your life.
    Blessings in this new year!
    BethAnn :butterfly:

  25. tillie says:

    May 2009 bring you exactly everything you hope, wish and dream for! Thank you for sharing your 2008 adventures…

  26. Kris says:


    I first found your blog with your water witching post. I thought it was so funny, I’ve been hooked ever since.

    Made the citrus potpourri…didn’t have pine needles, so I stuck in some bay leaves–pretty. My mil, sil and niece loved them…stepmother gets a basket next week.

    I started the bourbon balls (except I used rum). They had soaked overnight and then, Christmas Eve, I discovered I had no powdered sugar–and the stores were closed!!

    So, I made the cracker candy and used my soaked rum nuts with that!

    You’re a peach, Suzanne. Thanks for all you do!! I hope you (and your readers) have a wonderful 2009!

    Working hard at

  27. robin says:

    :snoopy: Happy Holidays! It has been a real joy to spend a year on your mountain and new farm. Thank you for sharing
    your family, friends, hopes and dreams.

  28. Deserthen says:

    I loved reading your year in review. I found you sometime this past summer and have enjoyed reading almost daily. I don’t comment often, but I enjoy every one of your posts. I hope you and your family and a very Merry Christmas down on the farm…. :woof:

  29. Claudia W. says:

    It is so amazing all that has gone on it this past year. I can’t wait to see how your farm grows this year coming up! I’m in for the journey!
    Happy, happy new year to you, the kids, 52, Georgia, and all the critters great and small!
    Thankyou for all your sharing this past year too, I know I have learned so much from you!

  30. Estella says:

    What a wonderful year you had. I am looking forward to riding along in 2009!

  31. Brandy says:

    Sounds like a fantastic year with more wonderful things to come!

  32. Susan says:

    So much has happened in 2008! I will be here to follow you through 2009. :thumbsup:

  33. Kacey says:

    LOL, I just LOVE that last photo!! You have had a full year, haven’t you? Thanks for sharing it with us!

  34. catslady says:

    Time flies when you’re having fun :mrgreen: I can’t wait to see what is coming next year!

  35. Darlene says:

    We’re coming right along with you!

  36. Carolyn A. says:

    I’ll be here every step of the way as you bring in 2009. Loved all of 2008 with you too. xxoo

  37. Becky says:

    Thank you for sharing your country life with me. It just makes me long to live in the country even more than I usually do. I cried when I read the post about finding Sugar. I love cats as well…oh, and your giant puppy! She is adorable! Blessings to you in 2009.

  38. Deanna says:

    Suzanne, the courage you have shown in actually changing your life and living your dream instead of just day-dreaming about it (like most of the rest of us) is so inspiring. You truly uplift and entertain as well as inspire. Thank You. Deanna

  39. Angie says:

    I found your website earlier this year, and like a lot of other commenters, look for new posts daily! I do live in the country, but had to get rid of my chickens this past spring, and my dh grew up with goats, so we love to read and chuckle at your animals antics. Thank you for such an uplifting place to come and relax in this crazy world! We are looking forward to the coming year and all it brings.

  40. gwen says:

    I just found your blog, and am loving it.
    I will come with you for the year 2009…..let’s make it a good one, or rather a magnificent one :flying:


  41. Fern says:

    Hi Suzanne,
    Hope your holidays were really special this yr…mine sure was. My daughter Sarah was married the 27 of Dec. Beautiful girl, beautiful wedding. We really like her husband…he’s a very nice guy…rare these days…

    Christmas was great…enjoyed watching the smallest of our grandchild open their gifts. Dinner was good and all was well at the Boylen home and hope yours was the same.

    I really enjoyed your last book…can’t wait for the next one.

    Fern…of course it’s snowing here in Ohio…nothing new there. :weather:

  42. Norah Rice says:

    I have been enjoying your site for over a year, thanks to my cousins David and Betty in Spencer, WV. They are big fans and now, so am I! My father and his family were from WV so I am fascinated. What an inspiration you are! I can’t thank you enough for sharing your life, home, children, animals, recipes….all of it!….with us! Your words bring much joy, hope and encouragement and are greatly appreciated! I can’t wait to see how 2009 unfolds. Looking forward to the sheep!

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