The Neverending Story


When I opened the chicken house door to check on my little banty last Friday, she was off her nest. I immediately went back to look closer at the chicken yard I had zipped by in my rush to see my little banty first. A crowd of chickens flocked the yard. No little banty. I went back to the chicken house. I must have missed her. But, no, she wasn’t there. Back to the chicken yard. Back to the chicken house. Back and forth, disbelief and slow reality sinking in as I found the evidence.

She was just a chicken.

But she wasn’t just a chicken because I had made her real. Not just to me, but to you, too.

I used to watch Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. I adored him. He was so hokey and so sincere at the same time. Everyone was special in their own way. I think that extends to animals.

I tell their stories. I wanted the little banty’s story to end differently. And if I was Beatrix Potter, I could have made that happen. When I wrote romance novels, I could control the outcome. This blog is the storybook of a farm. It’s a “neverending story” set in a real world where life’s sometimes random harshness can wipe out a moment of innocent charm. It’s a world where you can love a chicken and care if it dies.

And I think there’s a little teeny bit of what makes life worth living in that. I feel a responsibility when I have made you invest real emotion in an animal by the stories I’ve told. I hope that the good moments will always outshine the bad. I hope that I can make it worth your while to take the risk that comes with caring.

I was amazed by the outpouring of real emotion in comments and emails about the little banty. Whatever animals qualify as “the least of God’s creatures” –the little banty would surely be in their company. She was small, even for a chicken. There are millions of little chickens all over the world just like her–and all of them special in their own way. I like to think she was representin’.
And our story goes on…..

Thank you for your support and just for being here.


  1. Michelle says:

    Love is definitely worth the risk! Thanks for sharing your heart with us … it shines through your writing.

  2. Box Call says:

    There is nothing easy about farming. The sweat, blood, the pouring of your heart into an effort to subsist off the land is excruciating. For some reason we always hope that nature will help us instead of hinder our efforts. Then the inevitable happens. Mother Nature just up and slaps us. So sorry. By the way watch out for more coons as there may well be another nearby getting in the Chicken Coop again. Even Mean Rooster is no fight for a crazy coon and this life on the farm is really not a Disney movie.

  3. Jayme aka The Coop Keeper says:

    The good absolutely outweighs the bad. There truly was something special about that little banty bird, and I do think she was representin’ too!

    Living out in the country, the circle of life is so pronounced. When I lived in the city, I never even noticed the suble changes of the seasons. I see changes daily now, and also witness the circle of life daily it seems. I know racoons are just trying to survive, but…..

  4. CindyP says:

    It’s always wonderful seeing you bring the animals to life for us and I will always expect it. But like Box Call says, life on a farm is not a Disney movie, we would just like it to be. With the good comes the bad. We will be with you in your joy, as well as in your pain — because I for one, am living through you vicariously as a farmer. Farming isn’t always joy….and I can deal with that.

    :woof: :cowsleep: :sheepjump: :sheep: :duck: :moo: :clover: :heart:

  5. Diane says:

    I enjoy your stories. I will miss hearing about your little chicken. Nature is so nasty sometimes. But look ahead there are more little chickens to tell tales about. More animals to bring onto your farm to tell stories about.

  6. Nita in South Carolina says:

    I look forward to visiting here everyday to see what silliness ensues. But I do understand that in “real” life, there is bad along with the good. But hopefully it will just make us appreciate the good a whole lot more. RIP, sweet little chicken. I’ll bet you would’ve been a kick-ass mommy.

  7. Granny Trace says:

    :snoopy: Thank you for sharing real farm life stories with me and others..It does not take away the pain but helps to know when others feel true love for a sweet chicken. I lost my precious to a skunk. My Caddy!!I look forward to your blog everyday after my devotional time. Great job!!
    Hugs From Paradise Pa.

  8. annied says:

    I admit when I started reading today’s blog, I was a little hopeful you were going to announce you found the little banty (I don’t know, hiding or doing some sort of chicken thing.) We all want the underdog to succeed, to come in first one time, to rise above. I was so looking forward to watching her and her brood!!

  9. wildcat says:

    Suzanne, thank you for sharing both the good and the bad. It makes your farm more “real” to us.

  10. Amy P says:

    I sniffled and snuffled all day long over that little chicken, after a good downright cry. Who she was and what she represented meant so much to me. Thank you for the good with the bad because the good is so very, very good.

  11. Kelly says:

    That is definitely the sad part about having animals. So sorry!

  12. Pete says:

    Yes, we all know that loss is part of this deal we call life. That knowledge doesn’t make the actual experience a bit easier to get through at the moment.

    But, there is a silver lining. Those friendships, and the memories of our lost loves (yes, even pets and farm animals)are what defines our life, making us so much more than just being here, existing in the world.

    Me, I’ll take the living, with all the hurt,and aggravation, that comes with caring. The valleys of sorrow can be very deep this way, but those peeks of joy that go with it are some days indescribably good.

    Hang in there, friend. One day, but probably not this week, the sweet memories will replace the hurt completely. At the very least you now that you are not on this journey alone.

  13. wvnurse1 says:

    She reminded me of my “pet” chicken named Erma. I had her when I was a kid. Yes some chickens ARE special. My heart goes out to you.

  14. Connie in Texas says:

    It is true. I was emotionally invested in the little banty. I admit it. It still brings tears to my eyes to think of her today! But that is a good thing. When words can bring something to life and show emotion. That is the very reason I do read novels and what not. Some are more real! I can also relate more to your stories. I love this site and these stories. We lived on a farm is my past marriage. We had a goat. His name was Oreo. He looked like an oreo cookie, shite in the middle. He was such a character and so smart. He would go out and open the handle of the old chest type freezer we keep all the feed in. He opened it with his horns! He would then help himself to his favortie! The oats! One day my son went out and a stray dog had come over and ripped his throat out. Farm life is not easy. You have to take the good with the bad. There is bad. That was one sad day!! Believe me!

  15. Susan Mitchell says:

    I love that little banty, too! It was heartbreaking to find out she was gone.

  16. Jessica says:

    I read your blog every morning before I go to work and it always makes me smile. But the other morning I cried a little b/c I loved the story of the little Banty and I wanted her to be a mom as much as you did. It says a lot about you as a writer and as an animal lover how you can put her story in words and make us as readers love her just as much. I am sorry for your farm’s loss and I know those raccoons will get what they deserve!

  17. Doris Rose MacBean says:

    Dear Suzanne,
    Thanks for sharing the good times and the bad, for keeping it honest.This blog is a bright spot.

  18. diana sullivan says:

    i cried when the little goat died, and again for the little banty. nature can be as beautiful as it can be cruel. just shows us once again to enjoy every minute of every day. there’s a special place in heaven for all well-loved critters.

  19. Shelly says:

    We will never know if she would hatch those eggs. Your story was touching. I made your ultimate breakfast casserole for dinner last night, but I used hamburger. It should last a few days. I used whole made bread like you do. Thanks again for such a wonderful website, I look forward to it each day. Everything will be ok on your farm.

  20. Mary says:

    :hissyfit: R.I.P. little banty. I am sure you are now in banty Heaven. My neighbor and I liberated a little black snake who was caught in netting. It was a group effort,and we all felt good about saving one of God’s little creatures. A farm, though, IS a neverending story, and sometimes the story does get sad. I know he had a good life at your house. Feel good that you did the best you could do. That’s all we can do!! Have a great day, Quick question…Where was Coco when this happened????????? :purpleflower: :snuggle: :happybutterfly: :ladybug: :turtle: :shroom:

  21. Leah says:

    I have been reading your blog for quite a while and enjoy hearing about your burgeoning farm and the exploits of your animals. I come from a long line of farmers on both sides of my family and I guess I feel a draw to these stories. I don’t, however, have the constitution to be a farmer. It breaks my heart when one dies, especially one so intrepid and loved like the little banty. I know on one level this is nature and life on the farm, but I can’t help it. Thank you for caring so much.

  22. Penny in little town P.A says:

    I lost my Peyton to the hunger of a stray dog. Through my tears I picked up what I could find of his fluffy black feathers and laid him to rest in his favorite dusting place. Your story reminds me of my own. Even now months later I still feel the sadness of his lose and the guilt because I was not there to save him. He wasn’t just a rooster he was friend.Thank you for your stories and for seeing the least of God’s creatures for who they are. know that there are others who share your sorrow and your heart.

  23. miss becky says:

    i loved the little banty too. killing the coon however, didn’t bring her back to life. there are thousands of coons out there and it just isn’t possible to kill every one. each character in this neverending story was doing what was natural for them. i’m simply not sure what is natural for people though. revenge? eye for an eye? love? turn the other cheek? our intelligence is a burden at times. may your farm be a place of peace, at least for most of the time! :heart:

  24. redmountainmomma says:

    I am sorry to hear about your sweet little banty. :snuggle: k

  25. Jo says:

    I guess to comfort myself, I figure on seeing all the animals close to my heart that I have lost, waiting for me in heaven….Bandit, my pet racoon (oops! Sorry! lol He was a little baby, young and innocent.), Bandit my little puppy (guess I liked that name), Mama Kitty, Sassy, No Name, Greasy, and Mopar. I think little banty hen will be waiting for you too. :hug:

  26. Cindy says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while, and it usually leaves me with a chuckle or two. Your little banty had a place in my heart – I was rooting for her to hatch those eggs and become a mom. She reminded me of myself. After years of waiting to become a mom through adoption, I/we were blessed to welcome a baby boy into our home over 16 years ago. Thanks for sharing your stories, and thanks for caring about the little banty. I bet that you have some of the happiest farm animals around.

  27. cgReno says:

    Suzanne, I begin each day with ‘Chickens in the Road”, and the comments. What keeps me (and always will as long as it exists)comming back, is the comfort of “knowing” that there are so many like minded hearts out there. Your words are the gathering place for people from all paths who share a common experience every morning provided by you. Most days I dont comment because someone has already said exactly the same words I would use. That very fact makes my heart lighter. I truly give thanks for all that you provide and the readers that join me every day, you provide an experience i get no where else. Again, Thank you.

  28. JC says:

    I too loved hearing about her and when you said she was gone, well I was very sad. I told my family about her. Maybe you should write a book about her …

  29. shirley says:

    Dear Suzanne
    There is so much I want to say, but I just can’t find the words.Your other readers are more eloquent than I in expressing the emotions we feel toward you and your animals.
    When I was a child, I found a baby pigeon with a broken wing. I nursed him back to health and fed him bugs and worms.I loved him. He grew up to be a happy pet and his name was Tweety.When we went someplace in the car, he would ride on the hood until he felt he had to fly back home.He woke me up for school every morning by pecking at my toes.
    We had to leave home and stay with relatives during a flood. When the water went down and we could return, I found my Tweety on my bed, dead.We had left a window open for him so he could come back in when the water receded, but he must have been looking for me to help him and he drowned.
    I’m 63 years old and I’ve never gotten over it.

  30. MissyinWV says:

    Goodness….I love reading the stories tell. And it is amazing how far they honestly reach….this week my famiy and I are on vacation and during the drive I was telling everyone in my family about her….I have thought about her more than a may like to admit….weird….hmmmm I dunno…..I do know I love the way you bring your stories to life…and invite us to be part of it…Thank You!!! Rest In Peace Little Banty :heart:

  31. Barbara says:

    What you’re doing is giving us the opportunity to share in that experience with you, by our choice. And we all know the potential pitfalls of risking our hearts in one way or another, whether it’s with a chicken or another person. But that is what makes it all worthwhile, and I guess if we never felt the pain, that just means we aren’t risking enough. Thanks for letting us share this interesting world with you. The good, the bad and sometimes, the sad. I will miss that little banty hen, too, but most of all, I’ll miss her spirit of never giving up. I think that’s why she touched us all.

  32. j.netnpets says:

    :chicken: It is amazing how even the smallest of Gods creatures can wiggle into our hearts…I have 8 chickens and the 3 roos have niched out a place in my heart with their antics, as well as one of the little hens. The rest are just my pet chickens but these 4 are my babies. Now 1 of my roos is down and can’t walk and I am worried sick!!

    The little banty carved a spot in my heart as well, with her determined little spirit…may she rest in peace…. :ladybug:

  33. BuckeyeGirl says:

    Thank you for sharing it all with us Suzanne. Your take on “Life in Ordinary Splendor” including both the good and the bad, runs the gamut of funny, sad, interesting, instructive, helpful, bitter and thanks to those fantastic desert recipes, sweet.

    I’ve been around livestock and pets all my life, and though I’m really down to earth about the reality of keeping livestock, I also enjoy the caring part of keeping animals. You bring all that to us your readers, and your humor leavens the tales, like the yeast in Grandmother’s Bread, keeping things in perspective for us all.

    Thank you again!

  34. jane says:

    At the risk of being outside the loop here – Iknow the racoons are bad and kill animals but they too are just hungry it seems to me. I wonder if there is a way to better secure other animals or trap the racoons and move them somewhere else or fix the animals so they dont breed.

    • BuckeyeGirl says:

      Jane, I understand your wish to be more …kind? But no matter how far you move that raccoon, you will be moving a problem animal that has habituated itself to human food opportunities, and putting that problem into someone elses lap.

      In cases of endangered animals it is more often attemped, but raccoons carry disease, destroy property and livestoc, and breed rapidly and easily, teaching their young the same habits that make them a liability. The ones who teach their young to avoid humans, live longer… ones like this one, not so much. Farm life is often harsh on several levels.

      I’m speaking only for myself really, but even though I love wildlife AND my farm animals, and I have called the Division of Wildlife to handle some things, this would not ever be one of them.

  35. Victoria says:

    :chicken: Your stories enrich my life on a daily basis. Thanks so much. I am trapped in city life for now…but one day I will be in the country again. And when I do, I will be better prepared after reading your stories. So sorry about the Banty. I was sad, then mad, to hear of her demise. Dang ‘coons!

  36. catslady says:

    Life is such a dilema and at times it can drive you crazy. We loved that little chicken because you made it real but on the other hand – except for the vegetarians, we eat chicken. I feed raccons and possums along with my feral cats but I’m sure that would be another story if they hurt one of my cats. I wish I was a vegetarian but I’m far too lazy. Cats have to eat meat to live so you can’t even say everyone and everything should not eat meat. Life is such a dilema!

  37. Angie says:

    Animals teach us how to love unconditionally, without motive other than just our affection. There are some that just seem to bring out the best in people, and teach us lessons, like that little banty was all about perseverance and believing in your dream even when it doesnt seem to be coming true.
    Having said all that mushy stuf, making them a real individual part of your family runs its risks, not just emotionally when something happens to them, but , like for example, the way my 1200 pound quarterhorse got stuck on my front porch last weekend after climbing the steps to knock on the door for more doughnuts. Oh yes, its true. I have a video and pics of the great horse rescue if anyone wants to see them. It was quite a debacle. I cannot tell you how embarrassed I was.

    • BobbiSue says:

      \Angie, I cannot imagine having a horse, no matter how loved!!!, get stuck in my front porch. I’ve awakened to find rabbit, coons, bugs of all kinds, and I even found a bog ole groundhog aka whistle pig dozing on my kitchen porch in the sun. He almost landed in my stew pot but didn’t.

  38. Estella says:

    RIP little banty.

  39. Alittlediddy says:

    Are you sure it wasn’t a weasel that got into the the chicken coop? Many years ago I lost a few of my banty chickens & they can get into the smallest of cracks. Broke my heart, but found the small place it had entered & sealed it off. Sorry for your loss. D

  40. Kathleen H from Bloomington IN says:

    This breaks my heart. 😥 I understand things like this happen but I feel very close to all the animals (pets) you have taken in. I love your blog and the wonderful way you make everything come alive. Keep up the good work. I never miss a day visiting with you.
    Kathleen H :sun:

  41. Ms E says:

    You have true gift for bringing the balance of life forth in your stories. Please keep up the good work and always know you’re appreciated… 🙂

  42. Susan says:

    I save your blog to read every night just before I go to bed…it’s like the dessert at the end of my day. You are a gifted writer, and you brought that banty to life in such a way that touched so many people. Keep on doing it; we’ve got your back.

  43. Judy L. says:

    Susan, she was very real. I was spending time with my parents and had read to them about your switching eggs so she could hatch them and then had to read them the story of her demise. Our chicks have not yet moved into their new coop but I called DH to tell him we do need a latch on the door for collecting eggs, even though we thought it was too heavy for coons. So, maybe your loss will help save other chickens.

  44. Lanie says:

    I just read this, and then I read all her other stories…poor dear little hen. So pretty and sweet and dedicated…I love that close-up of her sitting on her eggs with her feathers all fluffed out, keeping them warm, and the one of her standing at the fence looking at you so pretty. She could tell you loved her extra much, I’m sure. 😥

    Whatever happened to the little kitten Fuzzball rescued from the car, by the way? One of my very favorite stories, the ending at least…and how is Fuzzball?

    • Suzanne says:

      Fuzzball wasn’t actually my cat–she belonged to my cousin. Some time ago (over six months ago, I’m not sure exactly) she went out one day and didn’t come back, so they believe something happened to her and that she’s dead. The little kitten that had gotten in my dash is alive and well and sitting on one of my dining room chairs right this minute. He turned out to be a he, not a she as we first thought, and he is an enormous cat. His name is Killer because he’s so incredibly shy. (He ended up named Killer as a joke, of course, because he’s the opposite of aggressive!) He’s still my son’s favorite cat and he is really the only one Killer likes to have pick him up. I’ll have to do a photo of him soon to post! He’s a HUGE cat!

  45. BobbiSue says:

    OHHHH How sad…. I’ll try to post on here oneof the days. I have a very funny story to tell about my sister’s pet banty, Pet.Just not tonight.

  46. BobbiSue says:

    OHHHHH HOW SAD. I’m a farm gal and know what it’s like to have a pet die no matter what her genealogy may be.

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