The Farmhouse Year in Review 2009


January. It snows. A lot. We have serious issues with water as keeping our well pumping all the way up the hill to the house proves to be a bigger challenge than had even been expected. Repeated periods of days and days without water nearly have me ready to head back to the old farmhouse. But we love heat and insulation. We love our new farmhouse! We persevere and the water situation is finally resolved.
We also build a goat house and meet the newest member of our farm family. It’s our first wonderful winter on the farm!

February. It snows. More. We can’t get up the driveway and sometimes can’t get down the road. I worry about supplies on days we’re snow-stuck. But, we have a bottle baby! Plus five more sheep. And we have our first experience with shearing sheep (and trimming their hooves). (Poor Mr. Cotswold.)
Never mind the chasing them around the yard for an hour because we don’t know enough to herd them into the pen first. We’re learning! In other excitement, Clover takes a trip!
We’re hoping for babies! (Not Admiral’s!)

March. It’s still snowing. And I’m tangling with Mean Rooster, who has risen to king-like dominance in the chicken yard. It is just the beginning of a battle that will go on for most of the year.
I learn to knit and Coco has an unfortunate affair, which thank goodness does NOT end in babies.
We bring in mounds of compost. We’re ready for a garden and ducklings and chicks and everything that is SPRING.

April. We have a fencing party! Fencing the meadow bottom completes an effort that was begun even before the first block was laid for the house. I am as helpful as can be expected.
It feels like a real farm now. We move the sheep down to their new pasture growing with green, green grass. We lose our dear little Nigerian Dwarf wether Honey, but will soon gain a new fainting goat buckling, Pepsi. We also have a little bit of fun with Annabelle’s tail: Part One and….
….Part Two. And! I also appear in a feature story on West Virginia Public Radio.

May. The leaves are finally on the trees! Spring is so beautiful here!!!! Winter? What winter? We have new chickens and ducklings….
….and a new dog (Boomer!) and a new kitten, who eventually settles on the name Kitten.
We plow the garden and plant by the moon. Life is good!

June. We have piglets! And a miniature donkey. (Poky!)
And another miniature donkey. (Jack!) And I keep wondering if Clover is pregnant and SHE WON’T TELL.
I put the ducks on the pond and move more chickens into the chicken house. Our farm is growing by leaps and bounds!

July. It’s a strange summer, almost cool.
The little hen that couldn’t takes over my heart when she tries and tries to sit on a nest.
We lose her in a raccoon attack and I don’t take any prisoners. We finally accept that Clover isn’t pregnant and plan our next move, a new Nigerian Dwarf buckling. Our garden grows! Let the canning begin. I won’t face another winter in the boonies unprepared.

August. Kitten, and our new “little kitten” Little begin an enduring love affair that continues to today.
The last of this year’s chicks graduate to free-ranging and we lose all but one of our ducks on the pond.
But wait, there’s a happy ending! At least, for now….. Keeping ducks is harder than I expected.

September. We lose Pepsi suddenly. It’s a hard blow after losing Honey earlier in the year. I consider establishing a goat nunnery. We have two new fainting goat does, Sprite and Fanta, and no buck.
Preparing for the winter ahead takes over the farm. After putting up everything I can from my own garden, I’m putting up all kinds of fruits and vegetables scored for free from the farmers market. (I tell you how to do it, too.)

October. I love autumn! It’s my favorite time of the year!
I tell you how I spend an ordinary day. You all name our new fainting goat buckling Mr. Pibb! And my eldest child prepares to leave the nest as he joins the Navy’s nuclear program.
Change is in the air! And some of it is hard.

November. I’m feeling the pressure as the last fruit of the season is put up for winter.
In an unusual turn of events, Clover actually helps me. In other news, Mean Rooster passes away, leaving our battle of wills unfinished. I also head toward the end of the year with just one duck. And in final preparations for winter, we bring in a wood stove and I learn how to use it (or not). Good thing because winter comes calling early. I still dream about a barn.
Some things just have to wait till next year….

December. It’s another homemade holiday as simple crafts and recipes I’ve been working on all year save the day.
Winter arrives in force, and this becomes my photo of the year.
It’s been a year, like every year, of ups and downs. Some hard losses, and some joyful gains. We have sheep and miniature donkeys, and we’re on our way to completing our mini-herds of Nigerian Dwarf and fainting goats. My goal is to keep two does and one buck each. We have more chickens, and fewer eggs. WHICH MAKES NO SENSE. But we keep trying. Perhaps the staff just needs additional training. There’s always hope. There’s always next year. We learn more all the time, and hopefully get better all the time at this simple, complicated, beautiful thing called farming. In the coming year, I hope we will finally make our own farm babies We have spent the last year and a half laying in our breeding stock. Next year is the year we will breed. It’s the next stage in the farm. There will be more ups and downs, more joys…and more sorrows.

But we will triumph over the downs and celebrate the ups. And today? Today is good.
This is my now.

Go back in time:

The Farmhouse Year in Review 2008

The Farmhouse Year in Review 2007


  1. Jennifer S says:

    I was googling for a cinnamon swirl bread recipe and came upon your site! What fun! I love your country life!!

    We made the swirl bread tonight – YUM! I like that it isnt too sweet. I over-rose it and it fell a little – and I did half white sugar and half brown – it was YUMMY! Can’t wait to try it as toast in the morning!

  2. 5kathleen2 says:

    What a year! I’ve had a wonderful time with you and look forward to 2010. Hopefully it will bring a barn and lots of babies. :shimmy: :shimmy: :shimmy: :happyfeet: :shimmy: :shimmy: :shimmy:

  3. Runningtrails says:

    The “Year In Review” is a great idea for a post! I really enjoy reading all your posts.

    I hope you get a barn next year too. I so want a big barn! My small one is full of vehicles, tools and machinery. No animals 🙁
    Big barns are great things!

  4. Runningtrails says:

    And if the blue ball book thing is still going, I would love to get it.

  5. Tracey In Paradise,Pa. says:

    :sun: Your blog is one of the bright spots of my day!! How wonderful is your life. Thanks for sharing!! I am hoping 2010 brings me a goat and barn. Again thank you for your great blog!!
    Hugs Granny Trace

  6. Marla says:

    Another year…hope 2010 is a great year for you!!! :chicken:

  7. Diane says:

    You accomplished so much in a year. It so nice to look back to see what happen. I know I get to this point in the year and like to look ahead and make plans for the next. It gives me something to look forward too. 🙂

  8. Camille says:

    :smilerabbit: Nice post Suzanne. So happy I found your site this year! You are such a bright spot in my day. Smooches to all the fur-faces.

  9. Patricia Herman says:

    Awesome life to live! Even with all the ups and downs – you are living a dream! But how could you forget about the drama of the tin foil! Make sure you store enough for this upcoming winter!!!!

  10. Mim says:

    Hope 2010 is as great as this one.. “There’s no place like home” :pawprint: :pawprint: :pawprint:

  11. Johanna says:

    Wow! I came to the party late, just around the end of Mean Rooster, so I have a lot of catching up to do. The handy links back helped me get started.

    You have made such major changes in your life over the past year! I hope you get a few moments (like when you wrote this) to reflect and feel proud of all you’ve accomplished.

    Congratulations and happy new year!

  12. carol says:

    What a beautiful year, Suzanne…even with the sorrows and the ups and downs. If we didn’t have sorrows, how would we recognize the joys we have? But, I have to admit, a few posts this year made me cry and one or two I avoided altogether. But, that’s life. ‘
    I don’t know what this coming year will bring but I do know that as long as you write us every morning and share your life with us, I will open this blog and get my daily dose of Chickens in the Road.
    Thank you…Merriest of Christmases and Happiest of New Years.

  13. Kelly Walker says:

    Thanks Suzanne for sharing your year with us. I look forward every morning to your blog starting my day with a smile. Love the stories about the animals and love the recipes. Thanks again.

  14. CindyP says:

    Even with the downs, this has been a great year! Thank you for taking me on the journey with you! It’s to a big and better 2010! I’m looking forward to it! :snoopy:

  15. Carol says:

    I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed reading your blog this year. I love your willingness to share your knowledge about crafts, canning and living the simple life.

  16. wkf says:

    I can’t wait for you to find where the motherlode of eggs is. I have found eggs in the weirdest places. The best has been under the grill. another has been in the hay barn, move a bale and there is a nest.

  17. Angelena says:

    Great photos and great post! Love the pic of the rooster- he even looks like King of the hill!

  18. ChrisUK says:

    Suzanne, Thank you from the bottom of my heart.Your skill as a Writer,Author,Photographer enable us all to vicariously live your triumphs and pitfalls of the “Simple Life” on a daily basis.Your stories have become a essential part of the of our lives too.God Bless you and Yours.May 2010 be a Happy Year.Your hopes and expectations fulfilled in large measure.

  19. Rose says:

    I wish you and your family health and happiness in the new year. I will pray for your son (this Army mom of three) understands what it is like for our kids to leave home. He will be a better man for doing this. Keep writing I love this blog!

  20. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    I too have lots more hens and fewer eggs. I have been keeping mine up just to make sure they aren’t laying in hidden places but I think some are molting and the newer hens just haven’t started yet. They should get going when the weather warms up some.

    Love your yearly summary and look forward to the next year of reading your blog!

  21. Judy@daily yarns says:

    I’ve enjoyed the year with you!

  22. JOJO says:

    :woof: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman:
    What a lovely trip down memory lane.
    It is a pleasure to read every day about your wonderful country life. I, like so many of you readers, have learned how the simple things can make like so happy, and you have taught us how to do so many of those things.
    “Thanks for the memories”.
    :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman:

  23. Jo says:

    Suzanne, I found you about 5 months ago or so and oh, what a blessing! I love reading your year in review to see what I missed out on.

    Looking forward to enjoying next year with you, also, Lord willing. :o)

    God bless and Merry Christmas!!!


  24. Box Call Charleston WV says:

    Thanks for the review and I must say I have laughed and grieved with you this year. Farming is hard!

  25. Claudia W says:

    How fast the year has gone by! Here’s to a Happy and Productive New Year!
    I have enjoyed every moment of this year with you, and I am so looking forward to the next year.
    Thank you for everything Suzanne!

  26. rain says:

    morning- :snoopy: -you’ve motivated me to do a brief “year in review” :shimmy: of my own–I loved this :happyflower: -it was great as usual Suzanne–have a wonderful holiday season !! :heart: Rain!

  27. Miss Becky says:

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane Suzanne, I remember most of those delightful posts. There were some sad days but many more joyful ones. I thank you for a wonderfully entertaining year and I look forward to tagging along with you here at Chickens in the Road during the coming one! :wave: :heart:

  28. Anne says:

    Hi Suzanne, What rich and beautiful year, even with the downer times. I believe chickens need 14 hours od light to trigger something in their brain which tells their bodies to lay eggs. Since the days are so short now, you can use a heat lamp(they’d probably like the extra heat, too) to get them to the necessary 14 hours. I recommend the lamp in the Premier fencing catalog. As always, be careful to secure it well to prevent fire. Christmas blessing to you and yours!

  29. wheezay says:

    All I can say is I LOVE your blog !!!!!! :heart: :snoopy:

  30. kerri says:

    Life in ordinary splendor, indeed! :sheepjump: You’ve settled into a pretty spot and made it a beautiful home, Suzanne. I’ll enjoy looking back through the year with you via these links, gradually as time allows.
    Thanks for sharing your family life on the farm, and for all the wonderful photos or your funny and fascinating “gang” :chicken:

  31. Michelle Natale says:

    This is a beautiful recount of what your year has been like. Thank you so much for being out there and for sharing your journey!
    Happy Yule and Merry Christmas! May you and yours be well!

  32. Janessa says:

    Here’s to hoping to a blessed 2010 for all of us. I know I could sure use it after this year. I started a blog this year and then so many craptastic things kept happening that I didn’t care for the world to know about and I felt like my inspiration to write about anything else was just zapped, so I finally gave it up for a while. Maybe next year will be better…

  33. Gini says:

    You always make an ordinary day into an extraordinary one, and I love it. 🙂 I can do that too!

  34. Carol says:

    The little chicken that couldn’t still makes me cry.

  35. Yvonne M. says:

    :wave: What a busy, busy year for you. I was there for every post and will continue for as long as you write it. :duck:

  36. Angelia May says:

    Love your year in review.

    Thank you so very much for all your posts. I look forward to coming and seeing what is happening.

    I wish for you all the best of holidays and a wonderful new year. Look forward to more 🙂

    Thanks for the recipes also, have used quite a few so far 🙂

  37. BuckeyeGirl says:

    I’m reading all these comments and laughing and smiling because people are saying all the things I thought while looking through the ‘Year in Review’ … I would love for you to have Morgan or someone take photos when you follow Camille’s request to give “Smooches to all the fur-faces.” Especially Clover, I know Jack and Poky will be thrilled and their velvety muzzles will be no hardship to smooch, but I’m not so sure what Clover will think!

    As wkf says, I can’t wait for you to find where the motherlode of eggs is either! (though I agree they’re really probably just extending their molt time to avoid cold weather laying… you’re much too generous to your staff, but come spring, I’ll bet you’ll be baking 10 egg cakes twice a day)

    As so many have said, we all look forward to your blog every morning and we’re all grateful to you for bringing us along for the ride! As Gini said, “You always make an ordinary day into an extraordinary one” for all of us!

  38. Wendy says:

    Is there a way to start from the beginning and read day-by-day to the present? (Other than keep hitting the ‘previous posts’ button ’til I get to the beginning?) I enjoy your blog so much and would like to start from day one, if I can find that much time! =-) I read from the beginning of the “Chickens” category, and some other stuff, but I’d really like to be able to not “chop it up”, but read from post one…
    I hope I’m coherent enough for you to understand what I’m asking…
    Basically, I’m saying
    “I love your blog!” And I envy your Farm Life…
    I keep threatening to buy a few chickens, but we live in the city and my husband keeps reminding me of the law about no poultry in the city limits. Whatever. I’ve seen chickens in other people’s front yards!
    Anyway… It’s just beautiful, Suzanne! Thanks for sharing.

  39. Susan says:

    Suzanne, I found your blog mid-year, around the time you lost your favorite chicken. It still breaks my heart. I want chickens,too, but know I’ll make them into pets and know how vulnerable they are. Enjoying living the country life vicariously through your pictures and stories.

    Looking forward to the adventures awaiting in 2010.

    Susan at Charm of the Carolines

  40. Nicole says:

    I have recently started reading your blog. I used several of your recipes this weekend to start my holiday baking and they were great. Being from PA I especially loved your pepperoni rolls recipe! I look forward to making you a regular part of my daily reading!

  41. Julie Harward says:


  42. Sarah says:

    Great post! I was beginning to wonder if we were the only people living on a farm that lost animals, like multiple. Poor cats meet their demise in the road or end up missing (finding a mate and running off???), had 2 little chickens which I loved dearly, pass on… Hopefully no more! I love our animals!

    I love coming on everyday and reading about someone just like me! Maybe I’m not so crazy after all! Or AM I??? :sheepjump:

  43. catslady says:

    ahhhh I remember it well :yes: Most people just keep on dreaming but you have accomplished so much! I can’t wait to see what happens next year :snoopy:

  44. Nancy in Iowa says:

    What a wonderful review! And you did stock up on tinfoil this year, right? Good luck through the winter and enjoy – thoroughly – the Christmas season you have prepared so well for.

    :reindeer: :heart:

  45. Blessings says:

    Love your yearly summary and look forward to the next year of reading your blog!

  46. Mary says:

    Great summary. Your blog is the best!

  47. Myrna Mackenzie says:

    Suzanne, I think I first found your blog when I was doing one of those “I wonder what kind of interesting websites other authors have” searches I do periodically. At that time, about 2 years ago, you still had your author website, but had switched mainly to your Chickens blog.

    What I found was the story of a life, and a really fascinating one at that. I’m not even a chicken person (not meaning that I have anything against chickens; more that I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I had one, and where I live, having one isn’t an option). Other than the writing and my family’s country roots, my life today is very different from yours, but I enjoyed reading about your journey to being a farmer so much that I kept coming back. And in recent weeks and months, I’ve also started coming for the warmth and the comments and the sharing of all the other readers here, too. This is, as I and others have said so often, a fun and friendly place to start the day. (Or end the day–I often come back to read the comments that have been added throughout the day).

    I’m looking forward to next year.

  48. Angela says:

    Hey Suzanne!

    Sounds like you had a great time last year! :happyflower: Can’t wait to see what next year brings! :happyflower: I too have to go back and read some of your old posts that I missed before I found your blog.

    Merry Christmas! :grinch:
    Angela :wave:

  49. Estella says:

    Am looking forward to next year on your blog.
    I love it!

  50. jan 'n' tn says:

    ChrisUK – Wrote at 8:09am
    Suzanne, Thank you from the bottom of my heart.Your skill as a Writer,Author,Photographer enable us all to vicariously live your triumphs and pitfalls of the “Simple Life” on a daily basis.Your stories have become an essential part of our lives too.God Bless you and Yours.May 2010 be a Happy Year.Your hopes and expectations fulfilled in large measure.

    If we didn’t have sorrows, how would we recognize the joys we have? …. a few posts this year made me cry..

    I must DITTO those feelings. It’s been a journey that I look forward to each and every morning. The DH always knows where he can find me and the first cup of coffee in the AM.
    We all love your posts, or we wouldn’t be here.
    Lets all pray for Suzanne to get her BIG BARN this coming year.

  51. trish says:

    I love this blog. The year in review was great! What I love most is that you are here for us every. single. day. You never miss a day. I really appreciate that.

    I read other blogs and they either write when they can or take holidays and weekends off. Your hard work is so appreciated. Thanks Suzanne.

  52. Valerie says:

    Such a heart-warming post. Looking back, don’t you feel wonderful with all you have accomplished? Wishing you all the best in this next year! More fur babies and a nice big barn.

  53. Cheryl says:

    Every year has its share of mountains and valleys. In 2009, there was no haiku ~ about frozen pipes nor did we find posts like: “I wonder if we can pay somebody to do all this crap.”

    2008, there was that day your car went in the river (…“She didn’t think it was that deep!” ~ RIP)…not so in 2009!

    So all and all, (with the exception of a few setbacks and DS#1 leaving the nest)….2009 was mighty fine!

    May 2010 be the best yet! Love it!

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