The Slanted Little House


It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die.” Products of suburbia, my three children wondered why there was no cable TV or Target, not to mention central heat. My daughter, hungry from the trip, tried to call Domino’s. My cousins explained gently (and without laughing) that they don’t deliver pizza out here. I think it took her a good thirty minutes to believe they weren’t making that up.

I was at a turning point in my life, a crossroads where for the first time I could choose where I would live, not simply be carried along by circumstance. I was born in Texas, grew up in Maryland, Alabama, and California, and had since lived everywhere from Idaho to the Carolinas. When people used to ask me where I was from, I would go blank, like a foster child passed around to too many families to know which one was home. Where did I come from? I longed, deeply, to find a place to call mine. And as a writer, my office is my laptop. I could choose anywhere. So why did I choose West Virginia, a state that has notoriously lost population in the past century?

When I was a little girl and we lived in a suburb of D.C., my father took us every summer to an old cabin in West Virginia that stood on the last family-owned piece of a farm that once belonged to my great-grandfather, a farm once spanning hundreds of acres on the banks of the Pocatalico River. My father was born and raised on that farm in what was then known as Stringtown, a gas and oil boomtown in the early 20th century. Back in his day, what are now wild woods were cleared farm fields. There was a church, a school, a store, and even a hotel. The gasoline plant employed 50 men. There were wooden sidewalks down the dirt road and a public walking bridge across the river. The one-room schoolhouse where my grandmother taught still stands, but the Stringtown where I played during those long-ago summers was much different otherwise. It was like some kind of lushly-forested alternate universe filled with the ghosts and tales of my ancestors—the now-overgrown hills and meadows they once farmed, the caves where they hid their horses from Confederate soldiers, the graves in hidden cemeteries where they were buried. I loved those summers in West Virginia. I loved the trees and the quiet. I loved swinging on grapevines over the river and learning to skip rocks. And most of all, I loved that sense of history and place. My father clearly felt enough sentiment for it to share it with me by bringing me to visit here, yet despite its charms he–like so many of his generation in West Virginia, drawn like moths to the flame of cosmopolitan life beyond these simple hills—grew up and moved away, never to return but for those brief times. He used to say about West Virginia, “I got out of there as soon as I could.”

But when I stood at that crossroads nearly two years ago now and decided to move to the boonies of West Virginia, to a tiny town just over the hill from my great-grandfather’s old farm, I took a deep breath of the clean air, looked up at the sky littered with stars you could actually see, felt the far-reaching pull of my family’s roots, and said, “I got here as soon as I could.”

We live in the countryside outside the cutest little town that takes, oh, a minute and a half to drive through. Most people might think there’s not much here, but there’s all we need. If we actually want something from the city, we can drive the winding road to the interstate and get it, but that doesn’t happen too often. We have a cute little library comprised of one room, a cute little grocery store with five aisles, a couple of small churches and a bank, all flanked by country roads so narrow you have to pull off to pass. The school is so small, when my eighth grader graduated and I asked him who his friends were, he looked at me as if that was a stupid question and said, “There are only thirty-six students in the whole grade. I have to be friends with everyone.”

And he’s right—everyone is friends with everyone. The whole town is like one big “Cheers” bar. Everyone knows your name. At first, I found this disconcerting. Why are these strangers in the grocery store talking to me like they know me? And how do they know my name? When my oldest son totalled my car two days after he got his driver’s license, all the kids at school knew about it by the time he got there the next morning. When I arrived at the accident scene, a paramedic I’d never laid eyes on before was calling to me by first name. My cousin’s wife (a nurse at the nearby hospital) ran down to the emergency room in case we needed to come in. My cousin heard about it at his office and drove down to the scene. It’s like everyone knows everything by some kind of osmosis here. Everywhere I went for the next month, people asked me about the accident. This is a world away from the anonymous suburbs. Here, people are connected—to the land, to the history, to each other. People know—and care—about their neighbors (and they seem to know everything approximately five minutes after it happens). I watch my cousin drive his tractor down the country road every spring to plow his neighbor’s garden. I see my cousin’s mother take food up the hollow to a friend who had a farm accident. When a kitten climbed in and got stuck in the dash of my car, neighbors came over to try to get it out. No matter how big or small the problem is, people don’t just care, they help. People keep walking when a woman is being attacked in broad daylight on a public street in some parts of the United States, but people will drop everything to help a kitten here.

My kids eat sandwiches sitting in apple trees. They jump fully clothed in the river if they want to. They skate on frozen creeks and they know how to pick a hoe out of the shed. They know what a low-water bridge is, and how to set a turtle trap. We don’t worry about burglars at night but raccoons. They eat corn on the cob and know they planted the seed. People around here don’t have much if you compare them to suburbanites. Even if they can afford it, they don’t buy granite countertops or designer clothes, and there’s not much competition at the high school for the swankest car. As my son likes to say (in his exaggerated teenage way), “They’re all driving cars their grandfathers bought in 1950.” But for all they don’t have, what they do have is each other, along with that deeply-held pride in community and family and plain living that has been largely lost in the contemporary world.

And that’s exactly why I wanted to bring my once-pampered suburban children here, to grow up knowing what matters, what is real. West Virginia is still an alternate universe from the rest of the country. Here, you don’t call for pizza. You call your neighbor.

Other people may have chosen to leave, but I chose to come, and I choose to stay. When people ask me where I’m from now, I have an answer. I’m from West Virginia. And my children, who once wondered if I brought them to this slanted little house to die, have bloomed like flowers taken from a sterile hothouse and put out in the natural sun.

We didn’t come to this slanted little house to die. We came here to live.


  1. Alice Audrey says:

    Beautiful, Suzanne. Everything from what you said to the way you said it is beautiful.

  2. Kim A. says:

    That truly was a beautiful, deeply moving piece of writing, Suzanne. I am deeply envious, as my childhood years in Gaspé, Quebec (small, isolated) were vastly different, perhaps because we (mom, dad, me) were outsiders in the very closed community.

    Yet my soul still longs for the land, and sometimes a sad-sick feeling will sweep over me, with the words “I want to go home” coming unbidden to my mind. It’s not a longing for Gaspé, per se, but for wide-open spaces, forests, and room to breathe.

    Then I have to remind myself of a Chinese (I believe) proverb that says, “Bloom where you are planted.”

    Sometimes that’s the best you can do.

    Wishing you Blessings and Joy on your next steps, Suzanne.


  3. pearl says:

    What a wonderful and special place you have found for your children to value. It is admirable and I enjoyed your writing about how this new home has affected you and your children. Memorable and unique.

  4. Kelly Parra says:

    Wonderful, Suzanne! I’m sure your kids will always remember home!

  5. MARY says:

    Suzanne, what a fabulous summary of a very special place… the Farmhouse! Can I still come visit? LOL!! At least you won’t be far when you move. I know the Farmhouse enjoyed you, the kids, and the cats as much as you enjoyed living there. Now you guys are part of the legacy!!! Best of luck creating a new one at your new farm!!!!!!! :treehugger:

  6. Karen B says:

    :flying: Wow – I truly admire your strength and convictions and for sharing them with us. :hug:

  7. Biddy says:

    Suzanne that was wonderful and I have seen from your blog how much happier you all are for the move.

  8. Susan says:

    This is very special and heart touching! :heart:

  9. Tori Lennox says:

    In some ways I hate living in rural Arkansas, but sometimes I wish we lived even more rurally than we do. Beautiful post!!!

  10. leanne says:

    Wow Suzanne. I am so happy for you and your children that you have found a place of peace to live and grow up in. I hope the best things for you and your family. God bless you and them. Hope everyone has a great day today.

    Leanne :snoopy:

  11. Marianne says:

    I forwarded this to my DH… to explain why I’m so anxious to move. I grew up in the boonies… it’s an experience I’ll never forget. I want to raise my DD the way you’ve just described.

    Great post.

  12. Heather Harper says:

    That was lovely. (And your son is a card.)


  13. kacey says:

    It’s a good thing my office looks out into the woods, or I could be VERY jealous of you right now. And why is it that people who grow up in places like that can’t wait to leave? I think a simpler life sounds heavenly. Where people care and stop to help.

  14. catslady says:

    Very poignant! Maybe people can never see where they are until they are away from it. I think making the choice instead of it be chosen for you makes all the difference. I love your son’s comment too.

  15. Estella says:

    I admire you for taking your kids to the “country”.

  16. Nicole Reising says:

    WOW… touching, wonderful and… just wow. :butterfly: And people wonder why I want to move back to the country… I think from now on I’ll have to send them to this posting!


  17. Dru says:

    That was a beautiful post.

  18. Ellen says:

    I finished reading your words and realized that my eyes were moist. What a lovely post.

    As a country girl who moved to the city, then back to the country once again, I can relate. I love that my kids enjoy the rural way of life. Your own kids seem to be thriving, and clearly you love it too. :treehugger:

  19. Michelle Willingham says:

    Lovely post, Suzanne. And wonderful photographs! I’m glad you’re enjoying West Virginia so much. :wave:

  20. Fannie M Wiggins says:

    I admire you for making the decision to “go home”. I am sure a lot of people would like to do that but can’t. I was born and raised in a small town and am still here. Of course,our town has grown over the years but you still can’t get pizza delivered. We expect a pictoral diary of the new home as it is being built. Have a great day and :hug: to all.

  21. Brandy says:

    A very moving post. I would love to live in an area like that. You found a home, not just a place to live.

    I hope you are having a fantastic week.

  22. Bonnie Ferguson says:

    That was lovely, Suzanne. Thanks for sharing it :clap:

  23. Lis says:

    Lovely post!! Love the picture of the house in the snow.

  24. Danica/Dream says:

    Wow! Wow! Wow!

    I want to move there too!

    Beautiful stuff, Suzanne. Beautiful.

  25. Crystal G says:

    What a beautiful story. I too live in wonderful WV and you couldn’t have described it any better. I love your farm house. I’m glad your kids are enjoying life in the country. :treehugger:

  26. Lori says:

    Wow. Beautiful. You made my soul sigh.

    I am so glad that you and the kids found a place to heal, to grow, to thrive. I have enjoyed all of the pictures of your new world. I look forward to pictures of your new house!

  27. jaq says:

    What a wonderful, beautiful post, Suzanne.

  28. trish says:

    Suzanne, that was beautiful! And it makes me a bit teary-eyed to realize that the little town where my kids go to school is losing so much of what made it special as it grows and grows. :friday: Here’s to your next step!

  29. Toni Anderson says:

    That was beautiful Suzanne, you found home :mrgreen:

  30. ginger deG. says:

    beautiful piece………..sent a link to “uncle conrad”.

    your sixth cousin(i think), ginger

  31. Beverly says:

    I loved hearing the story of the “slanted little house” this summer in Dallas. I’m so glad I got to read about it, too. Good luck with the new farm house.


  32. Sonia Sergent says:

    Dearest Suzanne,
    You don’t know me, but I am your Cousin Michael’s wife, Sonia – we live now (as I’m sure you’ve heard) just south of Cleveland Ohio in the house I formerly shared with my late husband. I have stayed at the farmhouse – and I, too, had many of the feelings you so beautifully expressed here. I don’t belong there – as although I attended schools in St. Louis, Denver, Oklahoma City,and Kansas.I was “born” in Akron Ohio and at not quite 18, I returned to Ohio to attend Kent State and have been here ince. This is my home; it was the home of both my parents. But – West Virginia reminded me of my “growing up” spent in a town of 4,000 in southern Kansas. It was peaceful, beautiful, relaxing and I found great calm and contentment there. I’m glad you and your children have found a sense of belonging and have gone back to your “roots”. I hope to meet you sometime next year. Always, Sonia L. Sergent (Mike Sergent’s wife)

  33. MIKE SERGENT says:


  34. Madeline says:

    :biggrin: AAhhhhhh..Suzanne, I love your story. I want to leave the city too– we have a small cabin in the Az. woods, for escape, alas, DH’s work causes us to live here in the valley Monday-Thursday..I long for the kind of life you are leading in W. Va.

    WHERE do you grocery shop??

    Love the blog, the kitties, your stories and pictures..

    Happy Holidays!

  35. Ellen says:

    What a lovely transition home. You’re giving your kids a wonderful life there in W.V.

  36. Dancing Shoes says:

    I know we’re not to covet our neighbors, but I truly envy where you live. What a wonderful life you have made for your family.

  37. Jean Morford says:

    The website listed above is my daughter’s. I just found your site today. I lived in WV for eight years from 1973 to 1981. It was the best time of my life. I lived on the 14-acre remnant of a once-larger farm, in the old farmhouse that was started in 1836 and added on to over the years. The picture on your site of the old farmhouse you lived in was much like the one I had, with huge maples in the yard. I have missed it every day of my life. I am happy for you and your children. Be glad, you have made the right choice. By the way, I tried to rate two of your pages but I wasn’t proficient in it so they came out as one and two stars when I meant to leave five. Thank you for the glimpse of a wonderful life.

  38. CG Walters says:

    Congratulations, Suzanne. Many continued blessings to you and your family.

  39. Janie says:

    You are one of a few that understand the true beauty of living in a rural West Virginia town. I grew up in a rural area about 45 minutes east of Morgantown [Terra Alta] and it was at times hard knowing that there were modern conveniences in the larger towns that we didn’t have. I now look back and truly appreciate the life that I shared with my parents and sister in our farming community.

    I now live in Austin, TX and yearn for that childhood for my son. Unfortunately, we can’t move back to WV but I am determined to give him the smalltown experience one way or another.

    I miss my home among the hills…….the rugged beauty and the aboslute quiet on a cold winters night.

    Thanks for the post!

  40. Renna says:

    After reading your story, I’m ready to pack up the house and move to West Virginia. Seriously, you do have an awesome way with words, and how very fortunate for your children that you got them there before it was too late!

  41. Diane says:

    Wow! You are so very blessed! I’d love to live in a place like that.

  42. Summer says:

    My sister moved her family to 5 acres near Seattle. They are far enough out that they are in the country. They also enjoy small-town like relationships through the small church they attend.

    She was telling me a story about someone coming to visit and as soon as the car doors opened all the kids disappeared. She said that always happens.

    She sent me a picture the other day and her kids had built a fort. I asked if she told them about the fort we had built. There’s something about being outside, running and playing and imagining what could be. It’s the best way to raise kids.

    Thank you for your story.

  43. Linda says:

    Just reading your story makes me want to go find a little out of way town and settle down.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

  44. Shelley says:

    :rotfl: “you’ve brought us to this house to die” made me laugh out loud so much that I woke my kid up, and she said MOMMA!! WHAT is wrong with you??? I love your blog!

  45. Vonda says:

    I agree with all you say. I was raised like that in a small Eastern Oregon town and to me that is home….Lovely piece. :chicken:

  46. Trishia says:

    Wow. What a gift of words you have. My husband and I are currently working on finding a home in the small town my father grew up in and our friends are asking us why we want to leave. Why leave all the social groups? The stores in every neighborhood? Etc. Etc. Well, after living in this house for 3 years now we don’t know our neighbors names, and they like it that way- there’s one reason. We eat food that comes from who knows where, and I want to eat food that comes from our land or from my uncle down the road- there’s two. But people don’t seem to get that. From now on when they ask us “why?” I will send them to this blog. thank you for sharing that story.

  47. Annie says:

    We have a ranch at a place like that in Taylorsville, CA and I always feel soo great there! I love this site because it reminds me of that ranch and I am envious that you get to live in the country all the time. Keep us posted!

  48. SuzieQ says:

    Just found your story and enjoyed so much..most people nowadays will never know the joy of small town living..will keep up with you now..

  49. sara hardaway says:


    I love your site!!! TAkes me back to another world. My father too grew up in War Eagle WV. Never been there though. I cant wait to make the pumpkin butter. Can you send me the chocolate pudding care recipe – my mother use to make it when i was little. Thanks for letting us in to your home, your farm and your life. It is so refreshing these days. I live in Lancaster, Texas. Where were you born in Texas?

  50. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Hi, Sara! I was born in San Antonio. You can find the chocolate pudding cake recipe here:
    And if you click on the “printable recipe” link at the bottom of the post you can print it. :woof:

  51. Linda says:

    I found your site and I love it! I,too, live in WV in a very small town and I LOVE it!!!! Lived here all my life. Will check back daily to see what new things you are up to. Love how you describe WV people, we are a caring and loving sort!

  52. Linda~ says:

    Just found your site and love it. I dream of one day living somewhere like “Mayberry”. With my husband’s job, I think we could relocate, but I have two beautiful grandchildren that I would miss. I go through withdrawals if I don’t see them for two weeks!

    I look forward to reading your past and future posts.

  53. Lacey says:

    Life in a small town is truly wonderful. I’ve never lived in a big city. I’ve always lived in a small town. I now live in an even smaller town than the one I grew up….although they’re only about 12 miles apart. I love the atmosphere here. You go to the gas station and everyone asks how you’re doing and whether or not your dog’s managed to get loose again lately LOL. I don’t think I’d ever want to leave here, but if I had to leave I’d want to find another small town somewhere in the country. I like living in a place where people actually pull over and make sure you’re okay if your car breaks down on the side of the road. I love the “nosey” little neighbor ladies….they always have such wonderful stories. I like the eccentric guy that lives up the street and fixes lawnmowers. It truly is a community. People care for each other and are always willing to help if they can. Yes, I love my little town just as you love yours. All I can say is….”It’s a Wonderful Life.”

  54. Sharon says:

    If this is duplicated, I do certainly apologize.
    I read the “interview” in the Times Record, and enjoyed every word, but when I went to your site, I enjoyed that even more.
    I’ve been a country girl all of my life, except for brief intervals. I’ve had a taste of the “City Life”, and want no part of it. I was away for 8 years and moved back to WV, and vowed never to leave again.
    As a child, we also had a cellar door with a big chain, and when you opened the door in the winter to bring out a big pan of apples or pears that had been picked and stored earlier in the fall, the aroma was unforgetable, just as were those fresh fruits. As is yours, the shelves were always filled with black berries, and all sorts of other goodies which my mother had worked hard to preserve in the Summer.

    I enjoy your excellent writings, and your photos are very impressisve. Keep up the good work, and I’ll certainly spread the word about your wonderful web site.


  55. day says:

    Nice blog and story ,I quite understand and feel your happiness in the new slanted house .

  56. Nancy says:

    I also live in West Virginia and in a slanted farmhouse. I wonder if I know your slanted little house? It sure looks like the Sergent’s old place. We go there every first Saturday in June for the annual Sergent dinner.

  57. Kathy Russell says:

    I’m finally “home” in WV where my mom’s whole family still lives. I was born into the only little piece of the family that moved away. I’ve spent my life doing things I had to do, just so I could retire and do what I need to do — come home.

    My home in California was a little transplanted piece of WV. After I retired I moved in with my son (a bachelor) while I searched for my WV home. I promptly dug up his entire back yard and planted a vegetable garden. I grew enough beans that I canned three cases of quarts that summer. Every fall I make apple butter…well you get the picture. Finally I’m in a place where I really fit in.

    I read your piece about the move from the city, and tried to read it to my DH, but I was sobbing so I couldn’t get the words out. I forwarded it to friends and family in CA — they think I’m nuts for leaving. (I think they’re nuts for staying. :chicken: You said what I feel so much more beautifully than I ever could. Maybe they will understand after they read it from you.

  58. margaret says:

    :wave: What a wonderful story you have written!I have “been there done that” and it sure brought back alot of childhood memories.Foot bridges with crawfish underneath,spring houses with butter,milk,ect to keep cool. Outhouses,(very important)and so on and so on………Thanks so much!

  59. MIKE SERGENT says:


  60. Mindy says:

    I found your blog on Google – I was looking for articles on old farm house floors. I too am currently living in a very old farm house in rural New Hampshire. The draft from the basement into the first floor is chilly to say the very least…and yes, all the floors slant here as well!

    Your blog wasn’t the information that I was on the hunt for but it was on the other hand, a delightful surprise. Best of luck with your writing! I will look for your books.

  61. Pamella says:

    :cattail: I also live in West Virginia…my parents were from Lincoln county. I live outside the city of Charleston in a quiet community. I miss the country and often just hop in my car and I’m Sod, WV-bound! I have one cat (Teddy) and I have a deep passion for my backyard birds, their habitat and beauty. I found your site when I Googled “Dolly Sods”. You’re a wonderful mother and your children are fortunate to have you guide them down the path of what is right and best for them. God Bless and Welcome to West Virginia!

  62. wonderer says:

    Wow. I am so jealous. Great post, especially interesting that I found it the day after posting my hatred of city life …..

  63. Kieran says:

    This is such a beautiful essay about the slanted house, I wish you would publish it in some magazine. Thanks for letting me “in” to your world in West Virginia for a brief, shining moment.

  64. Susan says:

    I love your blog and your story on the Slanted House. My dream is to move to the country in a small town and live in an old farmhouse. I’m so jealous. You have the life that I want!

  65. Donna says:

    Beautifully said..and so true. No wonder you are a writer.
    Having grown up as an Air Force brat, then retiring to a small town, I have likes and dislikes about small town living. One, yes, it is wonderful that people are connected – I found out how wonderful that IS, when most of my family died and I felt orphaned. If my husband is deployed, I always say “I can be dead two weeks before anyone would know”….
    The flip side, is that I hate the “pecking order” of a small town – certain kids get the BEST summer jobs, because of WHO their parents are and WHO they know…or working as a dental assistant – we could fit in IMMEDIATELY the well to do, but schedule the unknowns, or not take “certain ethnic groups as patients”…type thinking. OR, what you did in 1st grade is NEVER forgotten – you are marked. If you say “Joe blow is a very nice man”…you may hear “yeah, but when he was 6, he was so wild..he smoked a cigarette” – you are marked for life. Plus, it IS annoying to have all the gossip/busibodies…ect. ect. ect.
    But, overall, having lived both ways..I have to agree, it sure is nice to have a big old family, who cares – you can overlook many of the other annoyances…just to have caring people around to help and love on, have fun with…

  66. Karen says:

    We lived in Spencer, WV for a time in the 70’s–when it was an All-American City! We always considered ourselves better than those who lived in Walton (LOL); but after reading your entry, I can see perhaps we were wrong! I thoroughly enjoyed your story…look forward to reading more.

  67. Sabra LeClaire Mugnolo says:

    I was just looking for some photos of chicken houses that my girls and I might attempt to build for our banty chicks that will arrive soon and hey here you are! I’ve never read any of your books but I sure did enjoy your description of moving to W. Virginia. It was a comfort to read. We’re in rural upstate NY, near Lake Ontario – the Finger Lakes region. We love it. No pizz delivery here either. I think I’ll add your site to my regular ones to check back to from time to time. Kind Regards, Sabra

  68. Theresa Parker says:

    Suzanne, I know just what you mean about choosing to live here. I lived in Marietta, Ohio for eight years and couldn’t wait to come back. Even today when I go on a trip, when we cross the mountains into West Virginia I get tears in my eyes every time. You are also right about the caring community we live in. The whole county is like the people of Walton. If you hurt, the community hurts with you. If you are happy, the community shares in that happiness. It is indeed a GREAT place to live and raise children. Theresa

  69. Pamela says:

    A friend shared your blog post with me and I’m so glad she did. I enjoy your writing very much. And can relate so much to your moving with kids to the country. We did the same thing when mine were young and they adjusted fine, altho they thought their lives were over. I’ll be back to visit again. Thank you for sharing. :wave:

  70. Linda says:

    Wow..Loved reading that!
    I used to live in a small town that to this day still has no running water. Had a small barn and chickens and learned to garden and tell when it was going to rain by how close the train sounded.
    Learned to really ‘feel’ each season..time to plant, time to harvest, time to get everything ready for winter, then watch for the first stalk of rhubard to peep through the earth.
    Fishing in the creeks, hunting for raspberries and blackberries and collecting black-eyed susans for the table.
    Oh what memories you stirred up.
    You have taken me back to the most beautiful time in my life. Thank you!

  71. Carole says:

    I think I want to move in with you too!

  72. David says:

    I’m jealous. Sounds precisely like my childhood — since then I’ve been traveling around the world only to end up in Toronto of all places. We don’t even speak to our neighbors in this area for fear of what could and might happen. Everyone is anonymous.

    Dehumanizing to say the least!

  73. Mom and Livvy says:

    Hi me and my daughter were reading your website and tried your banna bread pudding and it was great and easy to make :hungry:.I’m talking now livvy and i wanna grow up and be a vet and live on a farm and i tried to get my mom to make the grandma bread but she said it will take too long because its late but i think its gonna be great when we make it.I love this website and i want to make a website when i grow up one that tells how much i like horses and all kinds of animals.I’m going to third grade and im a A student.I’m eight going on nine in January 14th wish me happy birthday

  74. Niki says:

    Amen! We did the same thing. A move from Toronto to the eastern part of Ontario, very rural, very good, where we have a small hobby farm. Our children thrived as did our lifestyle (if you can call it that, I guess most just our LIFE thrived)

    • Rose says:

      :heart: Hi nikki,

      you did good. i m still in toronto and believe me I hate it. I have 3 small children and would love to move to a smaller town. Where are you in eastern Ontario? I love small cities and towns in the east of our beautiful province. God bless you


  75. HeatherHH says:

    “West Virginia is still an alternate universe from the rest of the country. Here, you don’t call for pizza. You call your neighbor.”

    You may want to clarify that this is true of RURAL West Virginia. I lived in West Virginia from the age of 3 until my early 20s (just a few years ago). I grew up in Bridgeport, which has a population of about 10,000 and is kind of a sister city to Clarksburg, which has a larger population. In the area where the two towns meet, there are a ton of restaurants, shopping, etc. I lived there until I was 15, and I never had the experience you’re describing, because it wasn’t a rural area.

    I then spent 7 years in Morgantown as a college student and a few years after. Population 40,000 or so. Tons of pizza places, etc.

    My husband grew up in the eastern panhandle in the Martinsburg area. He grew up on 30 acres outside of the town, so that gave him an experience more like yours. But, again, Martinsburg is nothing like you described.

    Just thought some clarification might be good. None of the three towns/cities I described have that neighborly sensation, all have pizza places and plenty of grocery stores and restaurants, etc. They’re like any other town/city of population 10,000-50,000 in the United States….

  76. Theresa says:

    I cannot tell you how many times I’ve returned to this post. I love how you describe your town and the relationship to everyone. My town has never been like that, however, the town my grandparents lived is was. I loved being there every summer with her, and I so wish we could have brought up our children in a place like that.

  77. Amy Queen-Edge says:

    Hi! I loved your post! We sound very much alike, how funny!

    My name is Amy, and I was born in D.C., grew up in Maryland to age 11, then moved to TEXAS, where I still live. My summers were spent on my great-grandparents farm in West Virginia. They lived between Wayne and Hamlin (closer to the Huntington side). I have 23 acres near Wayne, that has been in my family for over two hundred years, and that is for the most part pretty much abandoned. I have planned to move my family there, but everyone has balked, including DH. It is still my dream, but I have put it on hold, and started our little farm in South TEXAS on 10.5 acres.

    Cute pictures!

  78. Minna says:

    Oh yeah, the way everyone knows everyone elses business is very familiar to me.
    Mind you, small school is no guarantee that kids would be friends with each other. The one where I had to go… Let’s just say I consider myself extremely lucky I had a friend who stood by me no matter how much everyone else bullied me.

  79. Barb says:

    Hi my name is Barb. I found your site from watchthesky’s site. I want to tell you that reading your blog was like a breath of fresh air. It brought back memories of my childhood days growing up in the country on a farm in Nova Sctia where everyone also knew everyone and were ready to help one another so many times. I will be visiting again soon for updates on the quietness and peacefulness of country living:):)

  80. Gabi says:

    Just found your blog and read this wonderful post- what a lovely gift to give your children- this connection to a life that is real and grounded in your history.
    I know exactly that look you describe- I ,too, get it when someone asks me where I grew up- but my happiest times were living at my Grandparents farm/ranch in rural Southern Utah. There is a freedom and a connection in such places- truly granting you roots and wings. I am happy for you that you have the opportunity to make this life for yourself and your family. I look forward to reading more of your adventures.

  81. Barbara Hickman says:

    Glad to hear someone talk about Walton it’s hard to believe all the excitement that use to be there High School, homecoming parades, school dances, basketball games. I was a cheerleader and the big treat was walking the worn out path down the hill from Walton High School to the store or to hang out in front of the gas station. It’s hard to think now that the entire community and school let out early for the opening of the library. When I tell friends stories like this now they can’t believe them.

  82. chantelle says:

    This brought tears to my eyes….good for you ! I applaud the decisions you made and the strength to follow threw.


  83. Kay says:

    In one of the comments posted above, someone stated that clarification was needed so that readers are aware that your article references RURAL West Virginia. I just wanted to kindly point out that you did make that known.

    “It was a cold fall day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia.”

    I’m not sure if you edited the article after the comment was made, but I thought I’d point it out.

    I truly enjoyed this article and look forward to reading more about your quaint little town! Take care!


  84. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Thanks, Kay! The reference to “rural” was always there. I figured she must have just missed it. And I suppose every small town isn’t like the one where I live, but many of them are, and I wish it for everyone!

  85. Patty Fowler says:

    Like my grandmother used to say, “like a breath of fresh air”.

    You are an inspiration!


  86. Dave Castleman says:

    Great read in the Daily Mail! I too am from some where else but truly find WV Almost Heaven. You sound like a great Mom and I love you insight in your blog. Keep up the great work!

  87. Connie Leonard says:

    Suzanne, it looks and sounds like you are living the good life. I’m glad you’re well and happy.
    Connie Y., Linda P., and Mr. M retired this year. Cathey H. retired last year. I can retire in a year and a half.
    May God continue to give you success and happiness.
    Connie Leonard
    Granbury, TX

  88. Sandra says:

    This is such a touching post. I don’t live in a hugh city, but this post makes me want to move to an even smaller town. It sounds wonderful, and I truly believe your children will look back and be so thankful that you moved them there.

  89. Sandra says:

    I’m a native West Virginian now living near Houston, Texas. I grew up in a rural area and cherish the memories. Thank you for telling people about the wonderful reasons for living there. I wish you success in all that you do.

  90. Barb Wilson says:

    :clap: you will always look back & cherish the memeries by deciding to pick w,va to live . I know I done some moving around after I was married but the more more I thought about it I was detmined to head back to the hills So I am back & enjoying ever min og it as they say COUNRTY ROADS TAKE ME HOME welcome to w,va you & your children :wave:

  91. The FringeGirl says:

    Wow, this almost made me cry. Your life in WV sounds amazing. I moved from the city (NYC) to Maine about 9 years ago and it was culture shock for me. I soon got used to everybody knowing my business and I loved my chickens. I miss them. We are back in the burbs and life is just not the same here. I don’t want to keep up with neighbors and all their money. I want my chickens back. It’s my first time visiting your site, but I think I’m here to stay for a while. I must go read on.

  92. angie nicholas says:

    Wow, as I sit here looking for a lava cake recipe, I stumble upon your site. West Virginia caught my eye and I decided to sit a spell and read. I am 45 y/o native and I was one of those who couldn’t wait to leave that God forsaken place. Now, as I sit in Stockton, CA, ground zero of foreclosures, I wonder how my life might have been had I stayed there. Granted, I have traveled and lived in foreign countries. I moved to Silicon Valley and worked for a start up (Invisalign braces) and saw the power and money of Wall Street up close and personal. I have a master’s degree now (2 college degrees from CA universities.) My one and only child, Joey, has joined the Navy. I am proud of him and wonder what his life would have been like in those hills. He would have had his cousins, aunts, and grandparents there. Instead, he was raised with a step family of inlaws who loved him as though he were blood. I’ve thought a lot about West Virginia this year. I guess I’m just a little home sick for some reason. My mother died several years ago, but my father remains alive at the age of 84. You can’t go home again. I did try several times, but being a “hillbilly” has made me fierce, loyal, and most importantly kind and concerned about my country and fellow man/woman/child. Can’t we go back to that simplier time?

  93. Bill says:

    I found your site after looking for information on whether or not I should complete my purchase of a 100 yr old home in North Carolina. Im leaving Orlando Fl for a simpler place…a better place. Ive found tons of sites that describe the amount of money, patience and fortitude you’ll need but yours is the only one that talks about what will be gained. Im impressed with your understanding of human nature as well as with your heart. This nation and the world are better having you in them. Thank you for your thoughts and for reminding me that most times, the means are worth the end.


  94. Robin says:

    You are a very good writer and this is an excellent article. I agree with one of the other posters that you should try to publish. At the very least, keep writing such great stuff!

  95. Teresa Marie Staal says:

    Thank-you so much for your story and site. I deeply needed you today for encouragement. God told me to look for organic seed papers today and I found your site. He told me to not forget the book He asked me to write, illustrate and share the lessons He has taught me and continues to teach me. So many obstacles keep getting in the way of His Vision, but you have given me hope. Thank-you!

  96. Eric D says:

    WOW. What a great story. My family is from West Virginia and like most West Virginians they could not wait to escape and see the world. They were married in 1954 and my dad joined the air force and off they went. I came along in 1959 in North Carolina. For the next 17 years we lived everywhere from 10 years in Europe and from coast to coast in the U.S. Rarely did we go back “home” to WV. When dad retired after 20 years he finally went back to Fairmont WV and took a job selling mining equipment and the first opportunity to leave they and me were off to western Kentucky. I did graduate from high school in WV and have fond memories as a kid. I have only been back to WV 2 times in the last 30 years.

    I went back last year for my 30 year high school reunion and much has changed except one thing. The unbelievable natural beauty of the state. I took a drive across the mountans on old route 50 to Cheat Mountain and Cool Springs then down to Elkins on route 219 then back up to Fairmont. I had forgotten what it was to be someplace quiet. As I sat at an overlook on a mountain top looking off into the distance I realized maybe this is the place to be. I have been all over the world thanks to my dad’s air force experience and my 2 tours in the navy. From Europe to Africa, From Asia to Alaska, From Australia to the U.S. and everywhere in between and now at 49 I find my self humming the song Almost Heaven and trying to convince my wife that it might not be a bad place to live.

    Her comment……. can’t you go more than 50 yards without turning or going up or down a hill??? So you can see I have a lot of convincing to do.

    Thanks for this website………what a great place. Cheers……..eric

  97. Billie G says:

    I haven’t read a romance novel since I stopped writing them but I will buy and read yours. Your ode to the slanted little house was absolutely lovely.

  98. Karrine says:

    I have to say I am in AWE of you. I would love to purchase the neighbouring home with slanted floors to bring my three children 🙂

  99. stickhorsecowgirls says:

    I LOVE your site – just found it–Check us out at if you get a chance!

  100. Kit says:

    Hello.. I enjoyed your story. We moved to a small town in Maine on the Canadian border. We were expecting to have nice neighbors and friendly people. Wished we had picked West Virginia. The people here are cold and clannish..Maybe in the spring we can see about West Virginia, it sounds GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  101. JBarwriter says:

    This is really an inspiring blog, heart-felt and filled with warmth. :sheepjump:

  102. Rose says:

    :woof: I am so happy for you suzanne, I live in Toronto and I truly hate it here. My husband is a city guy and never likes to live in small towns,but I am opposite and just cant stand this city. I pray that God will touch his heart and we can move to a smaller city in Alberta.

    God bless


  103. Becky G. says:

    We have been contemplating a camping trip to WV this spring/early summer. Once I make my hubby read this, I think he’ll really want to go! Thank you!

  104. Ceres says:

    I loved reading this! My husband and I had the luxury of living in WV for a couple of years. I still miss seeing the mist cling to the sides of the hills in the morning and the long summer days we spent swimming in the Ohio River. :sun:

    Thank you so much for reminding me of the wild and wonderful times I enjoyed while living in the valley!

  105. Heather Bott says:

    Greetings, Suzanne.

    I was drawn to your website by your recipe for burnt sugar cake. I am going to make it this afternoon as a trial for the cake that I will be bringing to my dad’s 80th birthday celebration. He wants burnt sugar cake for that day. Twice, at least, I have made a burnt sugar cake for him. The last one I made tasted good, but was very dry. So, when I saw your recipe, and the photos, I decided to give this one a try. I will write back to let you know how it went.

    I appreciated your story here. It is moving and well-written. I hope your family continues to thrive.

    Thank you for the cake information. I will write after the big taste test.

    With warmest regards,


  106. Daisy Cottage says:

    Oh how wonderful!
    My parents were born and raised in West Virginia..


  107. Rose M. Young says:

    Thank you so much for your delightful website! I love your humor and observations of the animals and kiddos. I will be back often to visit. You have strummed a cord in my heart and have inspired me to write if only in a journal. I was born in Washington State but all the rest of my family was born in Texas. My husband and I came to Texas to be close to my folks. Now that they are gone I feel a tugging to head back up north. I know the lost feeling of looking for your roots. It was great to come back to Texas and hear some of the stories of my family.(Part of the Old 300, “Fighting Tumlinsons”)but I do feel a connection with rural, cowboy, down to earth farm folk in WA. Life is to be lived in connection with the good earth God gave us! I lived in West Virginia for a time (when we came back from Japan) and I loved the woods there! Thank you again!
    Rose :wave:

  108. Sherry, Imperial Missouri says:

    I came across your site by chance, and I’m so happy I did. Your writing makes me long for small town life. I grew up in the city of St. Louis and couldn’t wait to leave it. Even though I do not live in rural Missouri, I’m a comfortable distance from the city. I’m looking forward to reading your other posts and viewing your photos.

  109. brookeamanda says:

    This sounds a lot like the town I grew up in, only in Central Illinois. My town’s population was 2,700. We had one grocery store, a small library and no fast food resturants or brand name ANYTHING. I graduated with 40 kids in my class. Even though I haven’t lived there in over 12 years, there are still times when I miss the simplicity and feeling of community that you can’t get anywhere but in a small town.

  110. Ali Clarke says:

    What a wonderful story you have! Good luck with the farm and enjoy each and every day. What incredible adults your children will become because you helped to show them what really matters in this world.

  111. SusanBarnes says:

    I also live in West Virginia and you have summed up my feeling and love for this state and the people in it more adequately than I could ever say! Thanks

  112. musegourmet says:

    I just happened upon your blog in search of ideas for a potted plant. I liked the design and decided to stay a bit and read. I loved the slanted house photo and post. Thanks for the clever comments.

  113. Mrs Snow says:

    WOW..You have found an oasis in the middle of a desert…Perfect utopia in a cold, uncaring world..Your children will thank you for making the decision to move there..When they are older of course *SMILE*..

    Love, Light & Blessings,

    Snow 🙂

  114. Flora Thompson says:

    Suzanne, Thank You, Thank you, Thank You.
    I will be back.

  115. Stephanie Jordan says:

    I thank my friend Robby McCormmic for showing me your blog. And I thank you for writing it. It was so heart warming and touching. I grew up in a place like this and have ever since I was 16 and had to move away due to reasons I wont go into, have felt that lose in my life that Ive been trying to regain some how. I’ve never lived in Virgina but you really make me want too. I hope to some day find that peice of paradise that you have regained, for me and my family.

  116. Brenda says:

    Born and raised in “West Virginia” and feel really blessed to be able to say that. I’m glad you love it here.

  117. Judy says:

    What a wonderful story. I yearn to do what you did, so I’m trying to make do with what we have.

  118. Michelle says:

    This is absolutely one of the best introduction posts I have ever read. The sincerity, the descriptiveness, the love. It’s all there. I feel honored to have read it. Kudos to you and your family … and your town. :pinkbunny:

  119. Cora Woodward says:

    I loved your story and I am very glad you have found “the good life”. I was raised on a farm in upstate New York many years ago. WE traveled all over the USA and finally settled in Tennessee. The 13 children all all married and have children of their own. Forty- some grandchildren and 13 greats bless our lives. We still live in the country but never attained to the farm life that we would have like. We moved to TN to farm but didn’t have enough “know How” to make it work. My husband had to go to work for TVA to make a living. Some of our children still crave the country life but haven’t made it work yet. Hang in there. With the blessing of God you have chosen the best. Best Wishes to you and yours. Cora Woodward

  120. jacki says:

    wow, what a moving story. Be glad you were able to find that perfect niche in this world. Some never find it. I love your website

  121. Amy says:

    God has a way a keeping us check. Your heartfelt story has hit home. I too recently moved here, lower Lewis county. We live just a few miles from Upsher, Webster, and Braxton counties. Born and raised in the Ohio Valley 30 minutes form the West Virginia border. I was used to having the country life being a farmers daughter but also having all the conviences of Athens, Marietta and Parkersburg. If one didn’t have it the other did, the drive time no different. So when my husband and I moved our family of four children here, June of ’06, I was questioning why I did. It has been an adjustment for me, a hard one I’ll admit but one that now looking back I see has put me in check. Thank you for you story.

  122. Connie says:

    Hello! I too was born and raised in “Almost Heaven” West Virginia. I had a wonderful childhood and would not change a minute of it for anything in the world! I live in Alabama now, we retired here when my husband retired from the Marine Corps. But I still love going “home”. There may not be any jobs there but it is still one of the most beautiful places in the world to me, so many good memories. I grew up about a mile from the New River Gorge Bridge, I remember when they were building the bridge and Rt 19, used to go up there and play in the rock and sand piles! Just wanted to say that you made a wise choice moving to WV, I’m hoping one day to move back also. Connie

  123. Sara says:

    I ran onto your website totally by accident and now I’m very homesick for that Wild & Wonderful state that I grew up in. Thank you for sharing your story and hopefully stories to come. :snoopy:

  124. Deanne says:

    What a wonderful story and life. I envy you.

  125. Robbin says:

    Amen to you sister :)!!! I live in a small town, although it sounds a LITTLE bigger than yours. I live on a farm about two miles, as the crow flies, from where I grew up. My kids has “drive your tractor to school day” and our annual festival is the “Turkey Festival” ’cause so many folks, including us, raise turkeys around here. We have parades and bonfires. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Lots of kids have left, and that’s fine for them. Me, I hope my kids stay right here. I love my life. Sounds like you do too. May God Bless You!!!

  126. Eve Davis says:

    Good morning, just stumbled upon your site and it was meant to be. We share many of the same qualities about life. I love it when I find other soul mates. I live on 27 acres of maily wooded land in NC. We too have a small town where we are all friends and look out for each other. What is unigue about this town is that they are accepting of new comers! I too have goats, mini la manchas, chickens, peacocks, and all of the usual farm cats. I try to take daily walks in my woods, I meditate amongst my trees which I consider old souls of those who have passed before me. I do hope to continue to stay in touch and check in often.

  127. Rhonda says:

    How absolutely WONDERFUL!!! My husband and I are going to start our farm from scratch in IVYDALE, WV! We feel that WV is truly a piece of heaven. Thanks so much for sharing.

  128. twyla byrd says:

    Loved your story on the slanted house. I grew up in Northern Ark – a small community near Clinton. I was a preachers kid, and we were outsiders — everyone else had lived here for about a hundred years, and we were considered “furriners”. It was real tough growing up, no friends in school, etc., always getting cheated by the locals, etc. I couldn’t wait to get out. BUT—-I am thinking of coming back! My brother took over the farm my daddy had, and he loves it here (I am visiting this weekend). A lot of new people have moved in from around the country, and a lot of the locals have died out, or their kids married “furriners”. One could actually have FRIENDS here now, because there is much more of a sense of community since the isolationists have been out numbered. I am widowed now, and I love to write, and I love the mountains. I’ve lived in Dallas Fort Worth for 20 years and hated every second of it. I lost my job, and there is nothing there for me anymore, with no job and no husband. My heart cries out for HOME!!! You have inspired me anew — to come back, write Christian romance novels, raise chickens and goats and a garden, and quilt with girlfriends! I am truly envious.

  129. Amber says:

    I too understand your feeling of wanting to live somewhere where people matter, and not things…I have had a similar awakening in Iowa…a little town called Eldora, with one stop light, and all but a minutes drive from one end of town to the next….but you never make it in one minute, as you are nodding and acknowledging people left and right…people greet you, and are sincere in wanting to know how you are…If you never experienced this you are missing out..

    Thank you for sharing your story, you have inspired me this morning. :happyflower:

  130. Becky W. says:

    I really enjoyed your story. I felt like you were talking to me. I am from a “smaller” town-not as small as yours..but I know what it feels like for everyone to know of your business. I guess I kinda like it that way…We just moved a little over a year ago to a 1900s farmhouse and I love it…
    Just wanted you to know that I enjoyed reading your blog post.

  131. Wanda says:

    You are definitely a writer! I loved your story and felt I could envision being there and wanting to live in your little town. I live in one smaller. It has a very small grocery store, but they do have pizza! They have two churches and a post office. No gas station, no bank, but it’s a 15 min. drive to the next town to get that. There is a great deal of charm living in a small town.

  132. Janean says:

    Just found your site. Absolutely enjoyed every word of your post. It’s our heart too. My husband had roots; I none, but adopted his’. Wonderful story & sweet slanted house.

  133. Shirley says:

    I was the farmer’s daughter in Indiana. I understand everything you say about your neighbors; they are always there for you. I have not lived on the farm for almost 40 years, and when I get out to the country and hear the stillness with just the sound of birds singing, I have such a longing to live there again. Thankfully my children spent summers at their grandparents farm, so they did learn how to work. They, too, have an appreciation for the land.

  134. Robin Feltner says:

    I love your son’s response when you first moved in, you brought us here to die. ha! It’s so beautiful there! Love it.

  135. Laura says:

    This blessed my soul more than I can tell you. How I would love to take my family and live this life. My husband is a family practitioner and he has the personality of a country doctor. Oh how I wish we could do what you did. May God Bless you for this wise choice you have made for your family.

  136. melissa stone says:

    My father is from Kenna,WV. We would go visit in the summers when we were kids and it was so much fun.We would pitch a tent and us kids would sleep in it if we wanted to. Grandma always made fried apples for breakfast. She is still alive but in a nursing home. I wish I could afford to go see her again. They always had a garden and everything we ate was fresh or canned by grandma.John Denver was right, it is almost heaven.

  137. Sunny says:

    I just found your blog (looking for a yellow cake mix recipe). Reading your story, Oh my! I’m quite sure we are kindred spirits. My husband and I live in a 100 year old house in North Idaho. We put insulation in the walls last summer (you’d think in 100 years SOMEBODY would have done it). We have a sweet 1 year old boy who we want to raise on our little urban homestead in the town of “If you blink you’ll miss it”. The nearest mall is 40 miles away and if you actually want any stores with a selection you have to drive another hour beyond that. We are in town, but it’s a quirky little town that swells from about 250 to about 500 people in the summer. I love our quiet quirky small town life. Everyone knows everything going on. Our house is one of the original buildings in the town. Everybody we come across is so excited that we have taken on the remodel. We are updating making it more energy efficient while doing our best to keep the old-cottage charm. Actually restoring the old cottage charm because it was remodeled in the 1950s.

  138. Kippy says:

    This was really beautiful! I love the story. I grew up in a town of 2,500 people in very northern Michigan, and much of it sounds like your little town there. My greatest hope is that my fiancé and I will be able to buy property in a nearby area and have a home there, ourselves. I really miss warm, friendly people. 🙂

    Lastly, I think you are doing your kids a great service by having them grow up in this environment. I never REALLY appreciated it enough until I was removed from it for a while. They’re going to thank you someday, if they don’t already. 🙂

  139. Tina says:

    Thankyou for sharing your city mouse country mouse journey! What a wonderful thing it will be to go back to the country when it is my turn. I enjoyed seeing it from your end of the pasture.

  140. Andi says:

    I grew up in rural Oklahoma…26 miles from the nearest town. I loved it. I never dreamed I would move away, but God had other things in store for me. I feel sorry for my kids that they will never experience the true farm upbringing that I had where everyone cares for everyone else, because everyone depends on each other to make it all work. Thanks for a beautiful story!

  141. beth aka confusedhomemaker says:

    Wow, this is a beautiful post! My Hubby & I have been trying to figure out where to live next. Land is what is calling us, it’s those wide open spaces to appreciate what’s real that we can’t shake. Different from what we once thought which was big city life, now we’re in suburbia, but the dream of the land still calls.

  142. mia says:

    Yup.. those are the reasons to move to the mountains. My dad has about 75 acres in Linn (near Glennville) with free natural gas. I plan to retire there in 5 years, 10 months and a few odd days, but who’s counting. AT 74 he’s trying to stay alive till i get there. He says he’s got a few things still to teach me.. and does he ever!!!

    Of course, the plan was always to move their with the now ex mister (after 23 years) and now I plan to do it alone – although my mountain man dad (a true legend in hiw own time AND his own mind) tells me no woman can live there alone in them kind of mountains – I just said “watch me”.

  143. Kathy Rose says:

    What a beautiful sentiment about “coming home” from another West Virginia girl.

  144. Jessica B says:

    Yes, I to live in the country with my chickens, dogs, cats, horses and 3 kids that think this is Gods country….I have to agree with them….It is! This is where real life lessons happen!!!! My neice and nephew live in Atlanta and think my kids are deprived. Oh how wrong they are 🙂

  145. Sara says:

    Make me laugh and cry. I miss West Virginia. Wish my kids would have had the chance to grow up there.

  146. Ellen says:

    :snoopy: Your life and life change seem a dream to me. As a child summer vacations spent on the farm of my father’s best friend called to me like nothing else. My husband is a strict suburbanite for whom even camping is a horror.

    Thanks for giving me a glimpse of what may have been.

  147. scorwin says:

    I love this story. It was sentimental and honest and achingly real. It made me cry for lack of time( I’m 67), to do the same.

  148. stacy says:

    :sheepjump: bRAVO! i WOULD LOVE TO JOIN YOU some day and let my children breathe! Until then….(I need to put on my big girl pants and grow up) I will live vicariously through you! You rock and I bet your children feel that way too!!!!!!
    I adore all your recipes and am watching my 18 year old peel oranges for marmalade! You really inspire us! I am anxiously awaiting a published cookbook for our family to enjoy!!!??????? Soon?? I hope!!! Take care and happy farming!!!!

  149. Jenn says:

    What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing it. I love reading people’s (even if I don’t know them) stories of where they’ve been, where they are, and where they hope to be!

  150. Alex says:

    As soon as I read that one of your children said that you had taken them to the slanted little house to die….. I was in stitches! The things kids say! Absolute classic! :o)

  151. JoPi says:

    quote from above….”Why are these strangers in the grocery store talking to me like they know me? And how do they know my name?” I live on the east coast in the suburbs. I sometimes try to speak to people in the market while shopping and they will look at you like you are from Mars, like you have have something on your face that you don’t know is there. Why are people so afraid to talk to someone they don’t know? I would love to live in your town. Where I live, no one comes out of their house, let alone go across the street to talk with you. What are people afraid of?

  152. Miss Mae says:

    I’ve just found your blog and read this post. You’re so right, THIS is the way it’s supposed to be, where people are friendly and FRIENDS. I grew up in a very small town in east Tennessee (coal mining town), and now live in Georgia. I remember days like you describe from my girlhood. It was wonderful, and I wish I could go back. Enjoy your new life. It’s simply awesome!

  153. Cathy says:

    What a beautiful solid foundation you have to teach your children from.
    I spent my summers with my grandparents in a tiny N. Michigan town where I could ride my bike for miles even as young as 5 or 6. We had a “dinnerbell” at the cabin that my grandma took from the farm where she grew up. Whenever she wanted us, she would just ring the bell. You could hear it for miles (it seemed), and in this way we were never out of earshot for the call to come home. Once when there was a small medical emergency, she rang it longer than usual and many of the neighbors came to help. Also, the lane we lived on had been part of a huge tract of land where my grandfather and friends had deer-hunted for years as a wilderness in the 1920’s. It was split in the ’30’s, and these were our neighbors; his old hunting buddies. They all bought together, and helped build each others 500-600 square foot log cabins. It was like having this great extended family because by the time I came along they were friends for 40 years. Our parents had grown up together too. At 5 years old I could freely walk for several blocks and just stop and visit anyone I saw. I made friends of a quiet old man, I visited often, who told me about his whole life. You certainly would never let your kids do that today. The other old man I remember well was the guy at the corner “filling station” who would ask that I stop and park my bike, so he could take my hand and walk me across the 4-lane road over to the store where I was sent to get some milk or bread. It was the only road around that was paved. I would wait for him on the other side on the way back, until he wasn’t too busy pumping gas. He also fixed every kids bike around. I have said this to my kids all their lives: “If there is one thing I’d give you, it would be my childhood at the cabin”; many experiences that are important life lessons.
    You can be proud of all that you are “offering” to your kids, as their lives will be more memorable where you are now!

  154. Michelle Jamieson Interiors says:

    Oh I LOVE your story! You sound so much like me and your town sounds so much like the one we chose to raise our kids in here in Massachusetts. I can’t wait to follow your blog and look forward to more of your stories! Michelle / Michelle Jamieson Interiors

  155. JenW!~ says:

    It’s my dream to someday live just as you described it. I would love to live in a small town like yours and have such wonderful neighbors. Until that day happens if it ever does I’ll keep reading your wonderful blog and dreaming of such a life.

  156. Brandy says:

    I was a country girl and now live in the typical suburbia…how sad! My children miss the quiet, open spaces and yearn to go back. You are completely right about finding and living what is “real.” I hope to return some day! Unfortunately we must go where life takes us at times…even if only temporarily. Thank you for sharing your inspirational story!

  157. mary wiltjer says:

    I really enjoyed reading about how you came to live in West Virginia. When you came to a big crossroad in your life, you made an improvement that changed your family’s life for the better & would draw all of you closer to each other. Getting back to the more peaceful way of life is wonderful. It’s a LOT more work, but it is all about spending time as a family & community. I wish more people had the courage to try it. Thank you, Mary

  158. Larry Eiss says:

    We bought a place in Newton last spring for many of the same reasons. While we can’t yet be there full time, the day is approaching when we will. Thank you for this wonderful insight into what makes West Virginia so very special.

  159. Lindsay says:

    I love this.

    My husband and I started out in a slanted little farm house and some of our best memories are there!

  160. Langela says:

    I just found your site. I love your story. We, too, live outside a small town on a farm. This is the dream I share with my husband. We put up small square bales of hay with old equipment that we are learning to fix on our own. We have chickens that we love raising. And our kids can run around without fear of human “predators”. They discovered our creek this year and enjoyed it as well as our flooded pond. They check our garden for ripe veggies and weed the flower beds. They are learning about hard work instead of entitlement. I love this way of life!

  161. annie says:

    Just love reading your story, and new to your site but love it. love it, love it and sharing it with friends!

  162. Sandra says:

    Lovely post and welcome to Appalachia! When people have no roots, they are discombobulated, anxious, fretful and have no idea of the cause of their problem. It takes courage to stay in one place long enough to put down roots, to become friends with yourself, to make a house into a home. It takes courage to live but so few seem to realize it.
    Sandra @ Thistle Cove Farm, just across the line in southwestern VA.

  163. Maggie Carraway says:

    Your children are blessed.

  164. Wendy Curling says:

    I love your story in so many ways for so many reasons. Thank you for sharing!

  165. Jackie Haas says:

    We are preparing to put our house up for sale in New Jersey, so we can embark on our journey–which will be in West Virginia! I can’t wait. I have only been to our piece of land once, but every time I picture home, I see the old house and barn that sits on our property (these buildings are in really bad shape, and they need to be torn down), but I can’t wait to start our lives down there and truly live the simple life. You article was so beautifully written, and it gave me chills as I read it–as I could picture my future through your article.

  166. Robin In Washington says:

    I love your blog Thanks so much for letting me be a part of it :sheepjump:

  167. Pat Newbrough says:

    What a beautiful story! I just wanted to crawl into that little farmhouse….it reminds me of my grandmothers. We moved to Canada 43 years ago. My husband is retired from a university where he coached football. When he was coaching, because he is from WV, the song that was played over the pa system was “Country Roads”. Even though hes retired since 1997, before each game, they still play that song. Wv is where our roots are, and it will always be home.

  168. JOJO says:

    Hi Suzanne, I read this post last night, and tought about it all day, and just have to add my 2 cents worth.
    Everything you wrote about West Virginia, is so rich in history and family ties, as in many parts of the country. I dont know if it is me as I am getting older or just the world we live in today, but I think so many of the young folks starting out today have such high expectations when it comes to buying their first home. I watch a House Hunters program on tv–so many of the young walk into a house and right away they want a huge kitchen, stainlees steel appliances, grante counter tops, and one of the gals couldnt tell if the range was gas or electric! They want spa like bathrooms with jetted tubs, and 2 to 3 bathrooms are a must, I guess I was born in a very different time, or just didnt know what I was looking for, I was just thrilled when I purchased my first little cottage home and to me it was a palace. You can buy a house, but you make it a home, no matter how quaint or how grand.
    Thanks for listening.

  169. Dorothy says:

    I really enjoyed reading this story. It so aptly described the people of this beautiful state. I was born & bred in the coal mining fields of W VA and the community feeling is exactly the same, so much so that through our old high school, which has been closed since 1964, a group of alumni (close to 800 strong)still keep in touch and have regular reunions. Every 3 years we go HOME and this will never change. Most people just don’t understand the fierce loyalty that we have for our home state. But you conveyed the feeling beautifully. Thank you.

  170. Dalyn says:

    Great story, and I can so relate.

  171. Sharlee says:

    I stumbled across your website trying to find out how to remove seeds from a Cushaw squash..(or pumpkin…or whatever the heck it is)! My seven year old granddaughter is helping me make a pumpkin pie. We looked at your website to learn how to remove the seeds and strings! I have lived in WV all my life and had family who lived “out in the country” to visit…but I lived in the big city of Huntington. Well…actually it’s outskirts and it is not a large town either. If it weren’t for Marshall University our town would have been dead years ago. (I have worked at Marshall in the Yeager Scholars program since it began (now a part of our Honors College) almost 25 years.

    As I was growing up in WV…my girlfriends always like playing with Barbies, other dolls and girly things. (I do like girly things but at heart I was a tomboy.) I climbed trees, I swung on the grapevines, I walked through the woods, I explored many neat hiding places, and I loved riding my bike and swimming. I loved anything that took me outdoors. I also played the piano and sung and did some things inside. My grandmother taught me how to sew and she also taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Salem,WV (graduated from Salem College). My three sisters, my daughter and I, just took our mother to visit Grafton, WV, where she was born. Mother’s Day originated in Grafton and we visited the Mother’s Day Shrine there.

    I really enjoyed your story about moving back to WV (I have not looked over your entire website yet) and will look at it now and then as I have time. I currently have five grandchilden (I had one boy and one girl myself) and hope to retire in the next year or so to spend more time with them.

    It was very good to hear that your children settled down and enjoyed living in WV. I always wanted to leave and never did but I have roots here as well. Maybe I’ll travel more when I retire.

  172. Becky Lemm says:

    :pinkbunny: Hello It is always good to meet more good neighbors.

  173. Diana Shrome says:

    What a BEAUTIFUL story!! Lucky kids!! Ahh, that has got to b e the life, I long for it, I truly do! :happyflower:

  174. Happy Anderson says:

    Suzanne, I sure enjoyed your story! I’ve been gone from West Virginia for over 50 years but still miss it. I grew up in one of those little towns. One of my favorite memories is going down to Grandpa’s farm and riding his old work horse “Maud”. Thanks for sharing your story. What a lovely family you have!

    Best regards,
    Happy Anderson

  175. Happy Anderson says:

    I think Sharlee and I would have been good pals as kids. I also did all those “tomboy” things….climbed trees, swung on grape vines and explored the woods. I wonder if she ever caught “June bugs” and “Lightin’ Bugs”? 🙂 Also attended Marshall University.

  176. Lynn says:

    It looks like you live in paradise. We moved from Ft. Lauderdale Fla. to a small town in N.C. It’s getting bigger every day. I keep saying to my husband…..I want to move to Podunk….no one ever heard of it and no one wants to live there. O well, I just turned 65 so I guess I won’t be moving to the country. I’m glad you made it.

  177. Bob Mueller says:


    I know this is an older post, but it really struck a chord with me. Thanks for reminding me about what’s important. I linked back to this from a post on my blog.

  178. Pam Smyth says:

    My mothers family is in West (By God) Virginia, and I went to visit the first time a few years ago. you could not have described the feeling better, it was like I was home for the first time in my life.

  179. Darcy Ludeman says:

    Your story has moved me,& touched me in such away that I long for my country roots. Our family (several generations ) come from a long line of dry land farmers/ranchers. All on the prairie. Where winters could be so rough that it would “winter kill” most of the trees we planted & tried to nurture along.
    I hungar, (scratch that) am starving for my place in the country.
    It’s where I could breath, actually HEAR what I was thinking, & know with out a doubt, no matter what side of the fence you were on, people would drop what they were doing to help a neighbor in need.
    And actually our people started out in (West) Virginia, before the civil war, now of course since the war, came from the “West side”….as my family would be very clear on that. 😉
    So my heart goes with you on this wonderful journey…. I only hope & dream that someday I to will be walking down that path of Knowing & living where I belong.
    Love your site! Your “gathering of the english language” brings a sense of peace & joy to my soul. Thank you,for sharing your adventure with the rest of us, those longing to be on our own piece of land.

  180. Sheila says:

    I wanna live on a farm 🙁 , but hubby thinks I’m just being silly 😥 (I really dislike when people laugh at my dreams). But ahh well. (btw suzanne love your story , I guess I’ll just live vicariously through you LOL).

  181. carmeno says:

    Wonderful post. I grew up in the military, so I never felt I belonged until I moved where I now live. My town is a bit larger but I can relate. It took me a few minutes to figure out how someone that I’d just met knew my life story. I love that people wave when they drive by. I don’t have a farm, just a 1/3 acre lot but I have turned it into a “micro-farm”. I even sell at the farmer’s market two blocks from my house. I wanted to buy a small farm but I decided it’s more a state of mind. This the home I was meant to have. I even have a small, very pretty cottage in the yard, formerly known as the “Carriage House” which how people identify my house. (Good thing as other houses are known by the first owner’s last name.)

  182. mika says:

    I love it, I love it all, especially the story of the slanted farm house, and your children’s reaaction to it! I am a former Army wife,and as a child traveled from country to country overseas with my parents. I was born out of the USA and even though my parents were from NY I had little experience growing up there. I also long for a place that speaks to me still! I prefer the coutry and feel at home looking at your pictures!

  183. Heather says:

    Very well written. I grew up like that and it is wonderful

  184. Cynthia Robin says:

    Like so many others who have commented, I, too, live in West Virginia. I’m on the edge of Huntington, having transplanted here from Florida 21 years ago. My son recently bought his first home (a duplex)in Huntington, and one of his ongoing projects is trying to fix the slanted floors! He’s wanting to get that done and fix up the other side of it for me to live in. Yes, he’s learned the values of caring for our families (he’s a single parent raising his 2 children) and earning every dollar he spends. Much of the credit for this goes to life skills he’s learned while growing up here in our beautiful Mountain State! There is no better place to raise children! Thank you for sharing your story…I’m bookmarking your site so I may visit you often. And if you’re ever planning to be in Huntington for any reason, drop me an email and we’ll get together over a cup of coffee and learn from each other! Hugs, Cynthia Robin

  185. Marcy Haggerty says:

    Just found your site after being lead here by your blog on Gouda. Congratulations on your cheese making skills!
    My husband and I have moved recently to a hollow in Virginia, and though our experience has been quite different than yours, I do love our little spot in the hills. It seems you have gained great benefit by moving to a locale that has a memory of your family stamped upon its community members. In contrast, when we moved into our little country home, our neighbor stated, 3 times, all she really wanted, “was to be left alone.” Well now. There is a fine Howdy-do.
    We have never felt quite so alone in any of the areas we have lived before; however, we persevere.

  186. Beverly says:

    I have only recently been visiting chickens in the road and have only today read your story of the slanted little house. It brought tears to my eyes, not only because you and your children have come home but because of where home is. How right you are about people in suburbia vs. non-suburbia. You live my dream life and for that I must say “Thank you”

  187. Susan says:

    Love your site so far. Your move sounds amazing; I am anxious to read more.

    Although we live in what is probably considered “suburbia” – we live a rather primitive life. My husband and I always say that we were born in the wrong era. We like the simple life and try to do things as simply as possible here. Many of the ways we do things are looked down upon, but it makes no difference to us. We homeschool our children and our expenses are low; for that we are proud.

    Many blessings to you and your family.

  188. Patty says:

    What a lovely story. 🙂 We just (finally) bought a big, drafty old house on 10.5 acres. The land is empty fields, just waiting for us to plant, grow and raise living things on it! We are very excited! But now after reading your post, I want the creek for my kids to jump in. Ha ha. Okay, I’m happy with my man made pond that apparently gets water and ducks in the spring.

  189. Patti Jarrett says:

    I found a link to your blog at Calico Paint. The first twenty years of my life were spent in W.Va.; and reading about your farm makes me a wee bit homesick. I enjoyed my visit here, and will be back.

  190. Annie says:

    Hi Suzanne,

    Please take a look at the link I am sending you. This appears to be one of your you tube videos but under a different name… With the trouble you have had in the past, I thought you would like to know…


  191. willowmist says:

    I think that is a wonderful story! I too, have moved from the suburban city to a very small town. I met my husband who lives in the house that he grew up in, both of his parents are gone and we are building a farm from scratch as well, it’s alot of work but we love it. My 15 year old son has moved with us and now goes to school out here. I’ve seen a big difference in him too! I love your website… as a “newbie” to country living, you have so many informative articles and recipes as I learn to live a more simple down to earth life! Thank you for creating it!

  192. Jessica says:

    I love your story, I found you cause I searched for homemade hamburger helper. I found yours first and love it! We are trying to eat healthier and cheaper. Our story is in a lot of ways similar to yours. My husband and I grew up in California, moved to Hawaii, then Colorado, then Florida, then Maryland. We Chose to end up in West Virginia, like you did being so many places and knowing we made the right choice. We have a young family and moved to a 90 year old house on acreage. It is our dream come true. We will also build a new house in about three years on the land. We are trying to live cheap because we can, not because we have to. Cheers kindred spirit.

  193. Karen says:

    Wonderful reading…. I am glad someone made it out…I talking about what we call society out here.. You are so blessed!

  194. Jessica Hansen says:

    Oh no! Now I’m going to have one more thing to read weekly – YOUR BLOG! I can’t wait to get to hear more of your stories.

  195. Kimber says:

    Love it! Look forward to following your blog!

  196. Pat says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your story and love of living in a small town. I was one of those young folks, like your Dad, that couldnt wait to leave the hills of West Virginia behind me. Since that time, we have moved to three states and as many countries. I dont think we ever missed a Thanksgiving or a Christmas returning “home” since we left in 1961. I went from “Thank God we no longer live back here” to “wonder what it would be like to..”,and now approaching seventy, “I cant wait to return to my mountains”. We are working on my husbands one hundred and forty year old family farmhouse, and yes, it has no central heat, air nor cable t.v. or even cell phone reception. And you have to drive thru the creek to get to it. So, I suspect I will be reading your blog frequently to see how you endured and persisted to enrich the lives of yourself and your boys in a small town in the mountains of West Virginia. This grandmother hopes to learn a lot from you.

  197. diane allison-stroud says:

    Your intro. post made me laugh….i too, left the city and ‘dragged’ my 12 year old son to a small town in the n.c. mountains…as we walked into our ‘new’ home, that was in need of love and fixing…he said ‘what have you done to me???!!!’…all is well now, years later, he loves it here and finds this small town to be his home…we too had traveled around the country for so many years before being able to finally ‘choose’ where we are from…

  198. Sandra Reaves says:

    Just beautiful! Beautiful!! Thank you. And now I really, really, really want a chicken coop here in suburbia. I miss living on a farm. 🙂

  199. Melody says:

    I laughed so hard! Had to leave my comment and also to let you know that I have subscribed to your blog. Can’t wait to really sit down and read some of your posts!

    Oh…I was searching the net for a decent pie crust recipe and that is how I came across your site. I am sooo glad I did!!

  200. CMHValex says:

    There were thirty-three people in my graduating class. I have known most of them since kindergarten. I definitely understand the small-town feel.

  201. macaria says:

    Lovely story. You inspire us to be brave and true. I may live in a tropical country thousands of miles from you where my summers were coconut, mango and banana trees, hectares of rice fields and warm waters on fine beaches but your story brought me back nonetheless and I am determined to bring my son more and more to see our country outside the city. I found your site searching for a good burnt sugar cake recipe. It was in an old cookbook of my mother’s that I had misplaced. Your cake looks scrumptious! Look forward to reading more…

  202. Cher says:

    This is my first day here,I came while looking for a cheese press plan. I saw the picture of your home and I said awesome porch! My significant other looked at the picture and said too much snow. Oh well….not everybody sees the same things LOL. I looked through the website some more and registered. This looks like a fun site.

  203. keppers says:

    Wow, this is such an inspiring story.

  204. blahblahblacksheep says:

    Truly beautiful story! I wish I had the guts! 🙂 You are an inspiration!

  205. lilynkillian says:

    This is inspiring and makes me believe that I can make it to the country also. Makes me strive to have that life for my children too. Thank you!

  206. MommaG says:

    I just stumbled across your blog, and read several posts before I realized you are “from West Virginia”. I am a West Virginian, born and raised in one of the small towns that take less than a minute and a half to get through, and love everything about it! Glad to have you as a neighbor! The more I read here, the more I want to read!

  207. Eyes says:

    This is a wonderful story. I shall be back for more. My daughter graduated from Sissonville High and now lives between Sissonville and Pocatalico, off White Oak Drive. It’s so nice that you had the opportunity, and took it, to go back to the finer way of living. I used go for drives and sit on the bank of Poca River at Sissonville just staring at the water and listening to nature. I know the area well. I love your house, slanted or not. 🙂 I’ll take an an older house any day -they were built to last. I wish you all the best; you already have it though. I can identify with that. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  208. Shirlee says:

    I saw your blog about the Navy Boot camp graduation and couldn’t agree with more about attending one if you get the chance. Our son graduated in March of 2006 and a nephew in July of 2006. We were able to attend our son’s and were so impressed by the whole thing!We also developed a whole new appreciation for our military!
    I’m proud to an AMERICAN!

  209. cjwflowergal says:

    I really LOVE your story!!! It sure did make my heart yearn for a friendly visit on your front porch! :snoopy: It even prompted me to do a search for Stringtown, WV!!! It looks and sounds like a wonderful place! At the moment I’m forced to live in a small city, but my heart, lives in the backwoods country of somewhere! I was wondering the current population there? Thank You again for shareing your story and for what you did for your children. Your bravery inspires me to reach out and change my circumstances! :happyfeet: Have a Blassed Day!

  210. lesliedgray says:

    Your post brought tears to my eyes.. I desperately wish to do the same and get back to a simpler way of life.. I,too claim a couple of places as “where I grew up”.. I do have family ties to a very small Louisiana town, but do not care to go back there.. I spent part of my growing-up years in Virginia, but the cost of living is so high there, that buying property is prohibitive.. We currently live in a south Texas city. I would love to have some mountain property, or at least be where I can see them and have room to ride my horses for miles. My husband promises that we will move as soon as he can work up enough retirement, but I am despairing of that actually taking place….I have the option of tearing my family apart and moving with my 2 kids to someplace where i will enjoy living and can live as I like, or staying and waiting it out. I have 2 teenagers and wish that I could teach them about simpler pleasures. I keep a few “city chickens” and garden in a limited way, but would love to be more self-suficient.

  211. Maybeth says:

    Loved this story, Suzanne, and shared it with several of my email contacts whom I know will also enjoy and appreciate it. I’m afraid my DREAM country property will remain just that …

  212. Maybeth says:

    Hmmm, I thought I was successful in changing my pic – what is it called “avatar” ? I did see it earlier, but not now … 😥

  213. Wife2Dan says:

    I love this, thank you for sharing. I am quite envious! I especially love the pictures. This is how life was meant to be lived. :sheep:

  214. fabtab says:

    This is an amazing story… So BEAUTIFUL….. So truly… You had a very hard crossroad….

    I live in tabasco, mexico….

    I’m so glad to find you…


  215. pberry49 says:

    What a magical way you have with words. As I read this, I felt like I was there, part of the scene, and I certainly wished I could be! Thank you for sharing your life and your amazing and heartwarming talent.

  216. GraceC says:

    😀 Hello to you from Texas, on this great day of Dec. 13, 2012… I’m so happy a reader on another blog posted info about you! Loved the name, and just had to check it out. I loved all you described in your intro above, and so I eagerly look forward to reading everything else you have shared on your blog. I love the way you ‘talk’ and describe and explain things..your words flow with an easy smoothness and makes your blog a joy to read. Thank you so much for opening up your life to others, especially those of us who are stuck in the city and need a breath of country air to make our days brighter.

  217. myheathenheart says:

    Such beautifully crafted words about finding ‘home’, the place the soul knows and lives before we consciously find it, where everything feels ‘right’. I felt every word and hope my own search leads to a similarly happy, contented, outcome 🙂

  218. denisegabbard says:

    Love this post:) Found your blog today looking for a way to make homemade firestarters….too darn cold and wicked out to go buy any. My “city boy” husband that I’ve kept around for 32 years for no reason other than love just smoked up the whole house showing me how to start a fire, lol. I moved him to the country (Tennessee) about 20 years ago, and he kicked and fussed so much we came back to the frozen tundra….been working on Florida ever since. THAT is where I feel home is:)
    Glad you found an awesome place to call home and for your kids to grow up…Tennessee was that for ours.

  219. Sarah Gifford says:

    I stumbled on your site when looking for a good cream cheese recipe. I’ll try just about anything to make for myself at home and on a lower budget…and I could go through cream cheese (along with other cheeses) like crazy!

    I so enjoyed reading your story about how you moved to WV…in fact, it gave me goosebumps, as if to say that I belong there (small town setting, etc.) as well. I grew up in the suburbs and loved my life there and near the bigger cities, but have also always loved the fact that where I grew up (and where I live now) I was just a couple of minutes away from a drive in the country, if I so chose. My favorite descriptor of myself is that I’m a city girl with a country heart. It’s been interesting seeing how that has played out, especially as I’ve moved to smaller and smaller cities and towns over the last couple of years. Thanks for sharing your story! It was very inspriring for me to read!

  220. AmandaW says:

    Wow! I came for a recipe for homemade yellow cake mix and have decided I may just move in with you! Your little area sounds absolutely delightful! The husband and I long for something more simple, just as soon as we pay off this darn student loans!

  221. windowdave says:

    I found your site quite by accident and I am SO glad I did! I grew up in West Virginia farm country. I live in Seattle now but I can still “Feel” the West Virginia air. I will be making pepperoni rolls tomorrow! And yes, I have Oliverio’s peppers shipped here. 🙂
    Thank you for the wonderful site and touching story!

  222. highlandvoyager says:

    After my husband passed away, friends and families urged meto sell my farmstead and move to a town or city. I considered this option, but chose to stay on this land that I love. The gentleness, the peace, my animals, my neighbors, my memories and connections to nature cannot be found in an urban setting. If I moved I would continue to exist … but my spiritual connection to the world would suffer greatly.

  223. janelle3love says:

    What beautiful and inspiring writing! I completely relate! Super pumped for your book 🙂

  224. Mrs C says:

    Wow! My husband and I fell upon your article on drying up milk cows. Thanks for the help from all who wrote in. I’m not one to post but reading the article on you moving to WV brought me to tears. We moved to SW Virginia for very similar reasons. Most people think we have broccoli growing out of our ears when we explain our move. I’m so happy to see someone else understand. I couldn’t have said it better. Your words pulled at my heart because they are exactly how we feel. Looking forward to hearing more of your adventures!

  225. damorrison says:

    What a beautiful account of making West Virginia “home”. I grew up in West Virginia…in a little community that was much like what you described. Went to a 4 room school house for the first 6 years of my education. Grandparents living just down the road (a dirt road) on either side of where we lived. We didn’t have a lot, but we always had all we needed and I grew up feeling like I was the most blessed girl in the world…living on a piece of heaven on earth. I grew up hoeing a garden, playing in the creek, riding my bike on the dusty road, walking through the woods and playing in a tree house my father made us. We never locked our door…and everyone in the little community we were close to knew everyone else. It was the BEST. I married, left with my husband who was in the Air Force and we have lived all over the world…and in many states…finally settling in Maryland 20 years ago where we still work. We have family and still visit WV. Where we grew up is not as innocent today as it was 50 years ago. But in all our “adventures”….those days growing up on Hastings Run are the best memories a little girl could have. There is no greater gift that you will ever give your children…than taking them “home to West Virginia”. Your article was so touching as it reminded me of my blessed roots. Thank you.

  226. Vicki Lynn says:

    I found you by accident and am so glad I did. Your story about the slanted little house had me in tears… remembering the good times when we would go back to my Grandad’s house in House, NM. Your story took me back to when my sister and I would walk down the dirt road from Grandad’s house to the co-op down the road. We’d go in and get a bottle of Coke (the real thing then) and a small bag of salted peanuts. Then we’d dump the peanuts in the Coke and… oh, what a marvelous taste… just like I imagine Heaven’s fare to be… smile… I hope to find you again and read much more of your life… P.S. I haven’t been back to House in over 40 years… my sister said the farm has changed so much… I don’t have the heart to go see what has been done there… again, thank you. You will succeed as a writer… you truly have the “gift”.

  227. cellistry says:

    So well written! It was a refreshing and quick read. I did not grow up in the country, but might as well have (being from Portland, Oregon with country and farmlands just 15 mins away). It’s a wonderful thing to be connected to the land and people you are surrounded with.

  228. Dinkvjr says:

    Ahhh, I just love your website, and you are an amazing writer! It is not often that a writer can pull me in so quickly and keep me interested. I grew up eating fried bologna sandwiches so I know all about those yummy best kept secrets. I was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana and moved to Pensacola, Florida at 15 which is where I still call home, and like your kids I thought I came here to die and it is a city but doesn’t compare to New Orleans. Like your children I learned things I never new and came to appreciate and love this place. I’m so excited to learn more about you and your family, I just wanted to introduce myself and let you know that I love your style and look forward to reading more, thank you!!

  229. conway2000 says:

    I came across your blog by accident today, but there are those who say there are no accidents it is not but destiny. I found your story about moving you and your children to WV to be enchanting, and I thoroughly enjoyed the read. Although I have only just joined your blog, I look forward to reading more.


  230. Hayley Mays says:

    You are very Blessed to have found such a wonderful piece of paradise. How i wish with all my heart i could find something like this for my family. We live in South Africa and although we have a wonderful life the politics in this country and the trials and tribulations are a major problem. We do not forsee an improvement and even though some call it paradise we worry for the future of our children. I have two boys and one has just finished a degree with honours in Psychology but the problem he now faces is where will be find work with the high unemployment rate here. You want what is best for your children and unfortunately it seems that sending them away from you is the best !
    I love your site and look forward to the future blogs.

    Kind Regards
    Hayley — From a sunny Durban, South Africa

  231. Ellen Louise says:

    Suzanne, your story allowed my eyes to leak. Thanks for sharing . . . all I was looking for was a yellow cake mix alternative, and I found so much more! I found inspiration in you!!

  232. mamaholla says:

    You have a neat story and I have enjoyed reading it. I was a preachers daughter and from everywhere, too. I started in WV and I consider it home, we don’t live as “boonies as you, but we also enjoy a simple lifestyle and are very self sufficient. I am glad you’ve given your children this opportunity. Thanks for sharing.

  233. Mary Ann says:

    what a beautifully written story. I am headed to West Virgnia in October — we are buying Jerry Wagner’s farm in Spencer. I am a New York City girl born and raised, but my husband is not….he is the farmer. I am nervous as heck, but after reading your story I feel a hell of a lot of better.

  234. Amber says:

    My mom’s side of the family hails from Page County, in Virginia. It’s right in the Shenandoah Valley, and they’re all nestled back in the “hollers” (my grandmother’s old house is snuggled right up against a mountain). As a kid, I always considered that place to be my soul’s home. Even now, if I didn’t have to deal with the practicalities of job availability, I think I’d be fairly content living there. Reading this, I could just imagine that feeling all over again!

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