Stories I Don’t Tell

Feb
11


Sometimes there are things I just don’t write about that happen on the farm. Like the hen that I found dead one morning, fallen between the slats on a pallet gate. Or the half-grown chicken that somehow got mashed between the side of the feeder box and the wall of the chicken house. Or the time 52 was working on one of the sheep shelters and a lamb was eating off a bale of hay a few feet away. The lamb walked away from the bale about four or five feet and fell down dead. Fell. Down. Dead. 52 was so shocked, he tried to stand it back up….


One time I was taking a nice little break in the evening sitting in front of the chicken yard watching the ducks and chickens and guineas, and a guinea killed a chicken. Right in front of my eyes. In the blink of an eye. No notice. It was one of those things where you’re blinking your eyes and saying, did that just happen? I’ve never seen anything like it before or since.

There’s a saying in farming: If you’re going to have livestock, you’re going to have deadstock.

It’s true. Animals are sturdy but fragile creatures at the same time. I’ve lost two goats before–Honey, our little wether, and Pepsi, our first Fainting buck. I have no certainty why either one of them died. Sheep can be particularly difficult. A saying about sheep is: As soon as sheep are born, they start looking for a way to die.

I’ve had Jack running down the road to the river when he got away from me. I’ve had sheep running down the road to the river. I’ve had Rhett running down the road to the river. Even BP got out one day. You can’t build a fence or gate animals can’t figure out how to get out of every once in a while.

I don’t think we have the perfect farming set-up, but I don’t know anyone who does because if you waited till you had it, you’d probably be dead before you could get any animals. We have a pretty good goat house. There is a large dog house inside the goat house. The goats like to climb in there on cold nights. The goat house itself is packed with hay and straw, but they like to snuggle in the dog house for the extra protection. Wherever they sleep, in or out of the dog house, they pack together at night, which is a risk with babies around. Everything is a risk with babies around. Goats, and sheep often go into heat in the fall, which is why there are a lot of winter or early spring lambs and goats. Would I choose to have winter goat babies again? No. But they’re here now. And I can’t tell you how many times I watched, Clover, her two (summer) babies, Mr. Pibb, Nutmeg, Sprite, and Fanta all climb out of the dog house in the morning, which was then in the goat pen. Goats and a dog house are like teenagers and a VW bug. Goats are natural packers. It wasn’t even cold then.

Sometimes I hesitate whether to tell certain stories about life on a farm. There are always people who will second guess and judge, and I don’t really enjoy telling sad stories anyway. But not everything that happens on a farm is sweet. Some of it is sad. And if you care about your animals, it’s hard. And if you have the guts to take it, sometimes you write about it. Sometimes you don’t. Either way, you get up the next day, do the best you can with what you have all over again, and hope nobody dies.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on February 11, 2011  

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  1. 2-11
    1:29
    am

    Suzanne, I truly enjoy reading about all your animals, especially the babies. I must admit that every time you inform us of a death, I sit here with my tissues and bawl my eyes out. But I know life on a farm isn’t easy, and I’m glad you share both the good and bad with us. Your love for your critters shines through in everything you write, and I think they’re very lucky to have you taking care of them!

  2. 2-11
    1:34
    am

    I went back and read through the comments on your post about the baby – and was shocked by the lack of sensitivity from that particular poster.

    Death is a part of life. I once read that living creatures only ever do two things perfectly – being born, and dying. I appreciate the fact that you talk about all the aspects of running a farm – the positives as well as the negatives.

    I let my kids read your blog. I know that it is a family-friendly blog with real-life lessons and impacts. Some might criticize my parenting, that I would allow my children to experience death – but if I don’t let them experience that aspect of living, how will they learn how to handle it when I am gone?

    Condolences on the loss of the little one. ~HUGS~ for you and Fanta.

  3. 2-11
    1:40
    am

    Suzanne….I feel so sad for you that you lost a baby, because it is so obvious in your writing how much you care about your animals. Having lived on a farm for the majority of my life, I can’t tell you how many animal lives were born and lost over the years. It is a part of life on the farm. It is nature.

  4. 2-11
    1:43
    am

    Dear Suzanne, all that you said is so true. Having animals around us makes life special. Sometimes it brings sadness, too. Even with the best of care things happen. Don’t be hard on yourself. Treasure all the memories that they give to you. Tomorrow is another day and you will go on.

  5. 2-11
    1:52
    am

    Suzanne,
    I have been following your blog for awhile, thanks to my mom. :) I have truly enjoyed getting to know you and your animals and your farm life. I have never posted, but feel inclined to do so now.

    I am so sorry for the loss of the little one. As much as we want life to be perfect, we know it doesn’t always work that way. Sad things happen–things that are out of our control. Your stories remind us of the reality of life. Just know that your animals are loved and well taken care of–that much is evident in your blog. Please keep posting your stories, sad or happy. We love reading them and sharing your experiences.

  6. 2-11
    1:57
    am

    Suzanne, you are a wonderful farmer. I couldn’t begin to do a fraction of what you do every day, taking care of your family and your animals. I think most of us – even those like me who have no connection to farming or farm animals (I have just my cat) – understand how hard you work to keep your babies and bigger animals safe and healthy. I am really sorry if anyone expressed anything other than a genuine concern for your feelings on losing the baby goat…ignore commenters like that and know that you have helped all of us with your stories of life. My daughter had a lot of animals – mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, cats, dogs – when she was young, and she learned about life, babies and death from them. In fact, she had her own pet cemetery in the back yard! Thank you for sharing your life and your heart with us.

  7. 2-11
    2:05
    am

    Hi, Suzanne–You do a wonderful job on your farm and I know your animals love you in return. Sometimes things just happen. Who knows why? I don’t have a farm but I have two beloved dogs and one night I let them out one last time. I watched them walk in tandem out of the porchlight and into the dark yard. They both came back a few minutes later and within two hours one of them was so deathly ill it was truly frightening. Even with emergency vet care, we almost lost her that night. In fact, I had my husband bring her home from the hospital so that she could die with those who loved her if it came to that. She survived the night and it was a long two weeks before she began to recuperate. Was it irresponsible to bring her home? The vet thought so. Others would probably think so. But you do the best you can with the best of intentions for those critters entrusted to you. And no one has the right to critique or criticize those circumstances that they have no knowledge of. Especially when you’re grieving over the loss of a loved one. Keep up the good work and keep up the blog. We truly enjoy living vicariously through your writing!

  8. 2-11
    2:17
    am

    Big hugs to you.
    I lost two goats this year (and a chicken). One of the goats, Thorn had bottle mouth. Had I realized what was going on sooner, I might have been able to save him. Lesson learned. His brother, Tamarind was killed by a dog (not mine). These were 2 of the saddest times on our fledgling farm. Happens.

    I gave my sheep away before they could fall victim to some random disease and keel over!

  9. 2-11
    2:19
    am

    Yes. You sound like a farm woman. When you first started, you didn’t, even after you got your chore boots, but now I hear the strength and perspective that I’ve heard from farm women. I think life on a farm epitomizes the idea of “in the midst of life we are in death.” You live closer to life in all its vibrancy, and that includes death.

    I am in awe of your fortitude. You share stories of your life with us, knowing that sometimes people won’t be kind. You open your heart to your animals, knowing that on a farm, animals sometimes die prematurely. That takes courage and strength and heart. Hmm, the same qualities it takes to be a farm woman.

    I sometimes wonder, do you feel yourself growing in ways you never imagined when you first moved to the slanted little house?

  10. 2-11
    2:21
    am

    your write so beautifully. about everything. you feel so beautifully. about everything. I respect all that you share with us here, and nothing is going to change that. We will miss that little one that didn’t make it, but you chose to walk honestly and share not only your joy but your pain, and that’s something no one can deny you Suzanne. I hope you’ll keep doing what you do just like you do, every day. It couldn’t be any better. :hug: :yes:

  11. 2-11
    2:53
    am

    As is Life so Is Death…
    My youngest daughter raises Great Dane Dogs,she has the dogs breed, and she helps with births. Even the children help with the births, and have watched there Mom on occasion give mouth to mouth to a struggling pup, some make it ~`some don’t. It is not uncommon to see any of the 4 kids crawl in the birth kennel and stay with the Momma dog.THE DOGS ARE PART OF THE FAMILY! I can tell you this my grandchildren learned about life & death from this experience.Can’t hide or guard every subject in life…
    ~~HUGS to YOU,it’s always a sad day when you care~~
    P.S. My daughter is a Hospice Nurse and deals with death on a daily bases, with compassion and dignity..

  12. 2-11
    2:56
    am

    I am new to your blog, but I come and read it everyday. I have learned alot and love your style. It is hard and sad when a loved pet dies. I lost my sweet queensland heeler last June and I still morn. We always feel like there was something we should have or could have done, especially when they are such babies and so innocent. My husband doesn’t morn like me and tries to make me see it is a part of life, I try but my heart still aches. Like one of the other posts suggested love on all the others, it will help.IMO an animals love is truly unconditional and that is why it hurts so bad. Be well and God Bless. Marla

  13. 2-11
    3:03
    am

    All of us that raised animals agree with you a hundred percent Suzanne, no matter what you do or how careful you are things happen, you can not let animals be free and live their lives happily and not have losses. And we that chose to have animals do the best we can and shed many tears when we lose one of them but that is life. I feel the best we can do is give them the best life we can and take care of them as best we can.I love reading about all your animals and I know how much you love them all and grieve with you when you lose someone. Sending you a big hug Suzanne!!

  14. 2-11
    3:47
    am

    Suzanne, thank you for all your stories and pictures, happy and sad, funny and serious. Your willingness to share the goings on at your farm is greatly appreciated. I’m always amazed at how personal this blog is and, in general, how supportive and positive the CITR community is. Like so many others, I was saddened to learn about the tiny doe. But to be fair, you have no idea why she died. Perhaps there was an unseen birth defect, some respiratory or digestive system failure. You may never know, and even if you knew, you would still feel the sting of her sudden death. Again, thank you for telling her story. It reminds us all that we have only now and that the future is not guaranteed. As for the few comments that presumed to know how to do things better, or implied that your priorities are askew—well they’re not walking in your shoes, or in your chore boots either. It’s clear from how and what you write that you have a vision for your family and for your farm. It’s your vision, you own it, and you are generous to share it with us. Again, thank you.

  15. 2-11
    4:46
    am

    Well. here you go. I guess I don’t have anything to lose since the cult has deemed me unworthy.

    When I was 24 years old, right out of school with a Medical Technology degree, I married and moved to a 102 acre farm with my husband here in West Virginia. We lived in a camping trailer until we could build a log cabin on the property. During our time in the “Gypsy Trailer” we drank from a spring, routed water from the creek for showers and built our own septic tank. I cooked and heated with a wood burning stove. In 1976 we had the coldest winter in years. I would get up in the morning and go to the creek to get buckets of water because the water system was frozen. There was one morning when I chopped ice off the creek and put it in my bucket and carried it to the house to put in the big kettle on the stove and when I went right back out to the creek for another bucket the creek was frozen again! Amazing.

    I have busted coal and chopped wood to keep the fire going. I have driven roads and hillsides in a Rambler station wagon that would put a Dodge Ram Truck to shame. We had two dogs and a cat when we first moved to the farm, and they were in and out of our abode freely. When we moved on to other projects it was with the wisdom of his parents and grandparents. Plot and plan before you accrue. Just like a garden. Sit down and plan your farm. If you do that for plants in your garden for heaven’s sake do it for fellow beings.

    My husband’s grandfather (Fred) helped me erect a fence for the little abused quarter horse I came across and could not disregard . Fred and I rented a gas powered post hole digger and commenced to digging holes. I may have weighed 120 pounds – Fred probably the same or a little more. That piece of equipment whipped the shit out of us a few times. But I tell you what, before that horse was on our property, she had a fenced in area within an apple orchard with bluegrass and shade and water. Now don’t forget we had to string wire after those fence posts were set. It doesn’t stop there. Instead of working on our house, we started on animal shelters. My husband and I could both fell poplar trees and dove tail them for building. We had friends in Roane County that ran their own sawmill so we could get cut lumber. Plans were always drawn up before a project was implemented. Be it dog houses with straw and waterproof roofs, chicken coops with double boarding and heavy bedding, stall and feeding buildings (miniature barns), or storage buildings, etc.

    My husband was a bio-medical photographer (at the same hospital where I worked) and I soon picked up my own SLR Minolta and we had loads of photos to document what we were doing.

    We were cramped in our little Gypsy Trailer, but my son and the animals were always taken care of before us. We cleared land with future projects in mind and were looking at 20 years down the road. Most of our time was actually spent out of doors. If it hit 40 degrees it was a heat wave!

    From these experiences take what you care to take and ignore or question what you will. But the preceding blurb is to let all those who assume I am witless, negative and should just be a go away person, I ask you, Would you rather have four bathrooms and two laundry rooms or a barn and two bathrooms and one laundry room? Suzanne, you have been talking about a barn for a long time. Too bad it was only talk and not building when you knew you were getting into raising livestock you were going to breed and sell for (hopefully) profit.

    I was hurt and angry to see such a pretty little baby die. I think you need to make a decision soon before you add more livestock to your agenda. Your animals deserve warm, clean, roomy and dry areas. My perception of your love for animals has been, get now and provide as soon as I can get my shit together.

    I have followed you through your many transitions to living here in West Virginia and I have seen some beautiful epiphanies occur in your outlook to this new environment. Made me feel so joyful. Someone mentioned jealousy in their comment. There is no jealousy; I do not want what you are doing or what you think you have. I have my own agenda. All I am saying is you need to slow down – way down and really look around at what you have and what you want to do and slow even further down before you implement anything animal being. Believe me, it will be easier on you and definitely on the animals. Of course, when I was living on the farm I was not trying to make a living to support my air conditioned, granite topped kitchen counter, four bathroom home. I was working to have money to buy cement block. mortar, gas for power tools, etc. When you were asking for donations to keep your blog going, I could not wrap my head around that as I live so much more frugally than you would ever even imagine. I was hoping for more from this blog, but your ostentatious house and whining still reeks of spoiled suburban mom. Just call me Ornery Angel II. I will drive slowly on the road I’ve driven on for years before you plopped your ass here and rutted out my road with your big SUV tires and don’t even have a inkling what the hell you’re doing. I live here because I like being able to stop and move a turtle. You have a long way to go Suzanne. I hope your big house payments don’t deter you from better housing for the animal products you are so quickly trying to raise to make a profit.
    Before you hate – think.

  16. 2-11
    4:48
    am

    I hope that woman (man?) didn’t get to you. Literally any person who reads your posts and isn’t intellectually lacking can see how much you care for your animals. You can put as much careful thought as is humanly possible (and it sure seems like you do) and STILL things are going to happen. No one can control every outcome of everything. It’s no one’s fault that baby passed. You obviously do your best and have an amazing family who are always looking out for your animals.

    I keep trying to find the right words to express what I’m thinking here and I can’t figure out the best way. I’m just gonna say it: You take great care of your animals. I’ve seen horrifying things (working in rescue and at a vet) and neglect you can’t imagine. You do not, under any circumstances, make any calls regarding your animals that would cause me or anyone else capable of reading, any concern. They’re healthy, happy, well-cared for, and loved.

    Mean people are an unfortunate part of having a public blog. Some folks just like to kick a person when they’re down. All it really did in this case was show how much love you’ve got in your life, and what an unhappy person that must have been to say something so inappropriate.

    I’ll admit the stories you don’t often share are the ones I will sometimes skip for a time when I’m feeling a bit stronger, but I’m thankful for every one of your posts, because you share so much with us and I learn something new each time. You guys are great, Suzanne.

  17. 2-11
    4:54
    am

    There is nothing more heartbreaking than loosing someone or something you have cared for and loved. Your dear animals are as much a part of your life as your children. I have grieved much over the loss of a beloved pet, and wouldn’t have it any other way. These dear creatures bring much love to our lives and also much loss. If you didn’t care you wouldn’t live your life surrounded by such wonderful creatures. My heart goes out to you for the loss of any of them, but somehow babies always seem worse.
    :hug: :hug: (with tears in my eyes)
    Rose

  18. 2-11
    4:57
    am

    Suzanne – As I read through the comments previous to mine, I wondered if everything I wanted to say hadn’t already been said. I came across your site in January and have been an avid reader ever since. I went through and read every story in the Barn archives and read them all. (Working my way through the others) I am a farmer’s daughter and you bring back many memories for me. I love your sense of humor, your compassion for other people and your animals, and your ability both to tell a story and to laugh at yourself. I have passed on links to your site so my nieces and nephews and their children will be able to see your animals and enjoy them also. I think that life on the farm is a wonderful life, but also difficult – especially when you lose an animal for any reason. I hope Fanta and the others are doing well. Sending you hugs – for yourself, and all the animals.

  19. 2-11
    4:59
    am

    Sorry for the double post- I posted the same time as knancy and didn’t get a chance to read that. Perhaps a comment moderation option? This is starting to get very ugly.

    @knancy: she has an email address. If you don’t want to be disliked, maybe don’t post such wicked diatribes in a public forum. If you’re so worried only about the animals, try privately contacting a person before being so vicious.

  20. 2-11
    5:03
    am

    Suzanne,
    I am an urban career woman who lives as close to the opposite of your life as you can get. But I read your blog because you are real. You have a great story to tell and aren’t afraid to tell it, blemishes and all. While I certainly don’t want your life :) I do love that you’ve exposed to things I wouldn’t have otherwise known about. I make my bread at times, tried my hand at homemade cream cheese and will attempt canning this summer. Thanks for broadening my horizons, keep it up!
    Sorry for the loss of that cute little goat.

  21. 2-11
    5:56
    am

    Suzanne, this really struck a chord with me. That is why I tell both the good, bad and ugly on my forum. I think sometimes people who have never lived the ‘country life’ aren’t aware of all that goes with it. Like last spring when something killed three young calves on the farm. We never figured that one out, but since the llamas it hasn’t happened again.

    If you aren’t prepared for some very bad, sad times, you better not live on a farm.

    That story about the guineas was a surprise to me; didn’t know they would do that.

    Also it takes a long time to get the farm set up the way you want it. We were very fortunate that the previous owners had lived on our farm for 50 years and it was already set up in a very convenient way for us.

  22. 2-11
    5:58
    am

    The timing might have been off, as I had not finished wiping my eyes over the loss of the little one, but…..reread what knancy had to say. You do not have to agree with her, but did she say anything that was not true? Blunt, yes. Are we not allowed to speak our minds here? Or are we only to ohhhh ahhhh and agree?

    knancy, please email me.

    I am still sad about the goat baby. It took me days to stop crying when my rooster died. I have to shut off the tv every time one of those humane society ads comes on. But….I will defend anyone who wants to speak their mind.

  23. 2-11
    6:34
    am

    Suzanne, I am so sorry for your loss. There are tears in my eyes as I write this. I know the death of an animal is something I will never be able to handle very well.

  24. 2-11
    6:44
    am

    I am sorry about the loss yesterday, but it is part of life. Personally I hope you never stop sharing your life with us. The good and the bad. I love reading your blog!

  25. 2-11
    6:47
    am

    I am not even going to go and read the comments that caused you to write this, but I do have something to say. The only perfect shepherd is Jesus. If He did not write the comment, then ignnore it.

  26. 2-11
    7:01
    am

    I am very close to this situation so I am going to try to keep my comment as objective as possible.

    @ knancy – I admire the way you went about your journey as described in your post. I think you make very legitimate points.

    Suzanne has come a long way. But, she also had 3 children who needed a home which she had to provide. If it had just been herself she would have probably approached her own housing needs differently. She also had her partner, 52, who has been building the fences and animal shelters.

    Suzanne has learned many things. Was the way she did things perfect? Of course not! She is human like the rest of us! But she and 52 have provided shelter, good food, water and veterinary care for the animals. She does this blog to educate and inform. Many of you have learned and stated that you would approach things differently based on the trials that Suzanne has experienced.

    Suzanne’s countertops are not granite. They are composite material.

  27. 2-11
    7:05
    am

    I have so many things I want to say in your defense, but that is just spiteful and mean, something I was taught at a very young age not to be. And just because I have the right to say it, doesn’t mean it will be said.

    The best barn money could buy wouldn’t have saved The Little One, unless you had her in her own pen with floor heating. But she would have been a lonely, lonely girl. Goats cuddle.

    You live on a farm. You deal with losses. You don’t post every time it happens, but thank you for sharing this with us. We can mourn with you. :heart:

  28. 2-11
    7:11
    am

    It’s so sad when you lose one of your animals. I lost my “Lady” calico cat back in August and still think of her. I tell my husband I want another calico, she was such a bossy mess, but was also part of our family. I think her sister at times still thinks she hears Lady. Lord bless each one of you, and please lets watch of lanuage. Thanks for such a great site I really enjoy your stories of life on the farm, and have told others about your doggie and sheep “jump” so fun…

  29. 2-11
    7:22
    am

    Knancy, if you want to continue to chastize Suzanne, perhaps you should take it to email. You’re still coming across as mean and spiteful, with a big dollop of “I hate the dang newcomers” thrown in.

    Suzanne, I’m so sorry this woman’s inappropriate diatribe has gotten to you.

  30. 2-11
    7:31
    am

    Sorry for your loss. I’ve enjoyed reading about your journey. It stirs up memories of my childhood. I feel that Knancy objects to you or your type(suburban trasnplant) more than the way you farm. It feels very personal and less objective. Even with the best planning and care animal babies are lost. When you raise animals you know that there is a chance when you check the box, barn, or yes even doghouse, not everyone will be alive in the morning. I cannot imagine that Knancy has not experienced that in her well-planned farming life. Having said that I must say, very respectfully(because I think a lot of chickens in the road)that I was concerned when your livestock numbers grew so rapidly. It seemed that you generally had the animals before you had the animal housing prepared. Perhaps slowing down on herd increases for a while would not be such a bad thing. At the end of the day it was no one’s fault that the baby died. And if you read through the vicious personal dislike there may be some grains of wisdom in Knancy’s opinionated piece. There are lessons everywhere.

  31. 2-11
    7:33
    am

    How in the heck does she know how many bathrooms and laundry rooms there are? That note was just mean. All that good knowledge and know-how is worthless if it comes with a club to the head, knancy. What you did worked for you, but this is a free country. Suzanne is free to build her farm the way she sees fit. Suzanne, we see how healthy and strong your animals are and can see the love, time and care you take with them.

  32. 2-11
    7:34
    am

    And let me add that if knancy had really wanted to offer constructive advice instead of making snotty, mean-spirited comments, then her first and second posts would not have been…wait for it…snotty and mean-spirited.

    Neither of them offered any constructive criticism. And even her very long, third comment was mostly written to tell all of us how much better than Suzanne she is.

    So again, I’m sorry you’re being subjected to knancy’s venom, Suzanne. Please don’t take it to heart.

  33. 2-11
    7:43
    am

    Catray, I posted some time in the distant past, with a tour of my house, after it was built. My countertops aren’t granite, by the way……. And the entire downstairs (which is actually an above ground basement) is unfinished with a cement floor……. There IS a utility room down there that is also used as an extra laundry room and bathroom, as can be found in many basements. It has a cement floor and cinder block walls……. And, like most people, we were hurt by the extreme economic downturn that hit right after the house was built.

  34. 2-11
    7:45
    am

    Suzanne; Very well said, Bravo to you on a well written post. You’ve built up and run your farm so much better than most. You’ve been honest and shared the ups and even the very sad accidents or deaths, even when it hurt to do so. You’re to be commended. Thank you.

  35. 2-11
    7:52
    am

    It is sad but it’s realistic and that’s what I like about this blog. My husband and I have a dream of getting a piece of land and making it our own with animals and gardens…this is the best blog I’ve read that feeds that dream.

  36. 2-11
    7:59
    am

    I would also like to add, that I think for myself, as do the others on here. Please keep your insulting “cult” comments to yourself, Knancy. I am tired of the school of thought that purports that anyone with a different opinion or way of doing things is marginalized and dismissed. Seems to me, this place is a place to share what works for us, where we can put our ideas and experiences out there for others to try…. or not. Looking at the fruit of your post, compared to what is offered on the blog… which one will I be most likely to add to my life? Too bad, as I am sure you have a lot of great information that might have been helpful to some.

  37. 2-11
    8:00
    am

    Well said, Suzanne. Possibly some might choose to forget that you certainly do not have to post the bad with the good. Coming from a farm, I know that I feel you are exemplary in your care of the beasties, both animal and human, and it is your authenticity and honesty that are priceless.

    It’s easy to be face-less and judging; and one who takes the high road will be the winner.

  38. 2-11
    8:02
    am

    Having read knancy’s long and detailed account of her own experiences, I’m not better for it, and I’m sure you’re not either. Again, lacking in reality. Really? No freak accidents or unexplained animal antics on the idealism that was her farm? Get real. And for the record, your children absolutely deserve the top spot on your priority list. You care for them first, period. There are no excuses, knancy, for your comments. Had you good intentions of being helpful or sharing your experiences, you would have sent a private email, or heaven forbid, your phone number so you could share your wisdom. Leaving nasty comments is just that, nasty. Suzanne, I know you’ll keep doing your best, learning what works and what doesn’t, and most likely, sharing it with us.

  39. 2-11
    8:06
    am

    Suzanne, this is your blog and you are entitled to post what and when you choose. Unfortunately, you’re going to get some criticism along the way – with humans that’s a given – but the only important thing is that you know how much joy and inspiration you bring to the majority – the VAST majority on a daily basis. We may not all become hobby farmers, but you have a gift of bringing back to basics/land/hearth/simple living that is so desperately lacking in todays suburban world and I think our souls all crave. Sure, you’re not perfect, but I no-one else is either, and NObody has the right to judge the way you run your farm, build your house or raise your family. Those that think they do, need to think about how they would feel if it was done to them and how they, and the people that that support them, would likely react. :heart:

  40. 2-11
    8:10
    am

    Suzanne,

    Sorry for the loss of your little goat. I’ve so enjoyed watching your farm and animals grow. Barns don’t save animals. My friends and uncle have wonderful barns on their property and yet the loss of animals continue. It’s the course of nature. Some would call it natural selection, others would say survivial of the fittest. I call it life. My mother had a saying that she used when I was younger “If it doesn’t kill you it will make you stronger”. I hated it when she would tell me that but at 51 I now understand what she means. If you have animals there will be loss but don’t let that stop you. You have become so much stronger and wiser. Thank you for sharing ALL of it with us. Be well.

  41. 2-11
    8:12
    am

    Spot-on Suzanne, as always!

    knancy, your own venom will eventually kill you – a slow death indeed.

  42. 2-11
    8:16
    am

    I am sorry you lost the little goat. Like other readers, I cried my eyes out when you lost the banty hen. I cheered when you shot the marauder. I think its really important to recognize that the circle of life isn’t just a Disney song. I appreciate your caring and sensitive way of reporting the bad things. You make it so I can share it with my daughter and we city girls can learn about real life on a farm.

  43. 2-11
    8:29
    am

    Thank you as always for your blog!
    Farming is a difficult way of life and a hard hobby to have. Which ever you care to put yourself in, there is ALWAYS loss to deal with some in the young, some in the old and some just because. I also have about 40 head of various livestock. They have very good care and live a good life BUT we have lost them just as we’ve raised them. This other reader is throwing stones with no concrete reason. Because they are not in a BARN? Barns don’t save things… They are lucky to have shelter, there are many that just loose kids, lambs, calves etc. when the weather turns. Your goats are fortunate for the cover and the care that they get.
    When we have sad loss we still have to get up and go take care of those that are left, something that helps with the healing and pain of the loss. So keep your chin up and make some cookies for those adorable goats. Somethings are better left to fix themselves.

  44. 2-11
    8:30
    am

    Susan – all of us farm folks have those kinds of stories. And its good that you tell them, so that people can see both the good and the bad that come with the lifestyle. For me as a kid, when things like that happened on the farm, it was a lesson learned – that you cant save everything, sometimes things dont go according to plan, and sometimes mother nature can be cruel in her ways. It also taught me that becuase of that, we should enjoy everyday we have with everything we have in it, because you never know what tomorrow might bring!

  45. 2-11
    8:38
    am

    I am so sorry for your losses. I know exactly how you feel. It is hard everytime an animal dies. Each one of them becomes a dear part of our family. I had a rooster, a pet, who died the day after Christmas. It was hard. He was my first chicken love! : ) We had raised him from a chick. For a time after a death, life stops. Then we pick it up again for the animals and family that are still with us and they, with God’s help, give us the strength to pick up life again and start going again. Because loving them is what we are here for after all.

  46. 2-11
    8:38
    am

    I’m sorry (and angry) that people second-guessed and judged you. You take EXCELLENT care of your animals! If every pet and farm animal in this country got HALF the attention you give yours, this world would be a much better place.

    Your animals have it so good! For God’s sake, you give them homemade cookies! I want to be reincarnated as an animal on the farm!

    Blogging can be a hurtful business, because under anonymity people can be extremely judgmental and cruel. Please don’t let those commenters get you down.

  47. 2-11
    8:42
    am

    That is incredibly true. Many times I’ve questioned whether I was cut out to be a farmer – always after the death of one of my animals. But I’m with you on the fact that the joys of raising livestock far outweighs the pain and that it is virtually impossible – in one lifetime – to construct the perfect farm house/fence. Thanks for sharing a little of the ‘not-so-pretty- side of things! I think you are great!

    Beth

  48. 2-11
    8:53
    am

    My grand parents had thoroughbred horses-3 brood mares- that they breed every spring/summer. Foals would be born the following spring in hopes of being strong and healthy by the following Jan.1 st, their “official birth date.” The last foal they had, was out of a mare bred to Seattle Slew, the colt was strong, gorgeous and full of energy. One icy morn in Upstate NY, the colt was oh so frisky as he was running down the path to his pasture, he slipped and fell and shattered his leg. It was horrific and tragic. He was the last baby before they were to put their place up for sale and retire. Life is so NOT fair….

  49. 2-11
    8:53
    am

    I remember Honey and how shocking her death was, and I know how much you cared. Your blog is one of the first I read every day and no life is without sorrow. But also there is joy. You bring joy to my life and I hope to continue to read about your adventures for years to come. :sheep:

  50. 2-11
    8:53
    am

    The difference between knancy and Suzanne is immense; knancy would leave the “abused little horse” and go home to create the illusionary perfect arrangement BEFORE rescuing. Suzanne, out of spontaneous LOVE, would have scooped up that poor little creature and SAVED it from it’s misery – FIRST!

  51. 2-11
    8:55
    am

    PS Crazy Knancy must live in a dream world. No matter how perfect your facilities are, no matter how good of a barn you have, things sometimes just HAPPEN on a farm. There often is no rhyme or reason to it (like your lamb that dropped over dead). I think your spirit and determination are what this country needs MORE of. Why wait until you have things perfect before you try??? We have had a makeshift barn on the farm MY ENTIRE LIFE (I am almost 30 now), and our calves havent died becuase our barn is inadequate. They died becuase sometimes those things JUST HAPPEN. Knancy needs to start living in the real world and cut some people some slack.

  52. 2-11
    8:59
    am

    Suzanne, I know exactly what you are talking about. We lost 2 cows within a month that were needing to wean their calves. Tough way to get weaned. Then yesterday we found a calf in trouble in the loafing shed of one barn. She is fighting for her life as we speak in the other barn wrapped in blankets with a heating lamp and a heating pad on her cuddled in between hay bales, and a heavy quilt over the top of the hay bales to cut the cold, the best we can. If she lives she will have to be bucket fed until she is weaned. You can’t give her back to her mother. (Her mother is the BEST mother in the herd). What happened, who knows? I do know this. We got a recipe for Electrolytes from a dairy that is Organic and this seems to help in some cases if you can get to them soon enough.
    THE RECIPE IS THIS 4 TABLESPOONS HONEY, 1 TEASPOON SALT, 1 WELL SCRAMBLED EGG ( I MEAN WELL for protein) 1 QUART WATER THE TEMP. FOR A BABY BOTTLE. YOU HAVE TO USE ONE OF THOSE FORCE FEEDER BOTTLES TO PUT THE MIX DOWN THE CALVES THROAT SLOWLY AND BE SURE IT IS GETTING AIR IN THE BOTTLE WHEN ADMINSTERING. YOU MAY HAVE TO GIVE A DOSE OR 2 OR EVEN 3 TIMES BEFORE THEY ARE OUT OF THE WOODS. BUT, THE GOOD PART IS WE HAVE SAVED SEVERAL CALVES WITH IT. IT WORKS.
    We don’t know why, but there she is. We can only pray we don’t lose any more this year. I agree totally with you. It is the hardest thing you can go through, especially when you spend time with them every day and they are more than just providers of food for the table.

  53. 2-11
    9:00
    am

    Thank you knancy for your interesting experiences in W. Virginia. So similair to my life experience, except mine were not in the tropics of WV, but in Alaska. Be that as it may, our farming experience does not excuse mean and rude and/or insenitive exhanges on someone elses blog.
    I’m truly glad for both of us to have had such a fulfilling life. In retirement, I visit this blog to enjoy her life and re-live those times when I was young.

  54. 2-11
    9:05
    am

    To whom it may concern,
    Just because you can state an opinion doesn’t always mean you should. Have some decency and common sense. Just as you are upset that a goat died, I’m sure Suzanne is, too. Rubbing salt in the wounds doesn’t make it better. I makes it hurt worse. Choosing to hold your tongue is often one of the greatest gifts we can give each other.

  55. 2-11
    9:07
    am

    Thank you so much for telling some of the stories that are hard to share. We have also experienced similar things on our farm and it can be hard to share them knowing that people will want to blame us. Sadly sometimes we have been to blame, but it wasn’t something we foresaw. We do our best and love and care for our animals to the best of our ability.

    We recently went through a horrific incident on our farm, and reading your post helped me feel not so alone… knowing that someone else is also learning through painful experiences.

    @Knancy – I am grateful to those experienced older farmers around us who rallied to help us through what could have been a devastating experience. They did not do it with blame, they did it with kindness, showing us how to get through it and how to prevent it from happening again. It looks like you still have much to learn.

  56. 2-11
    9:16
    am

    My grandfather had a 200 acre farm in Glenville WV. Those were the best times of my life. I live in Cleveland and have all my life. I read this blog every day. It reminds me of those great times. I hope to visit Suzanne’s farm someday. Don’t let any negative comments get to you Suzanne. Some people are just mean. Your’e doing a great job! :heart:

  57. 2-11
    9:19
    am

    As an animal rights activist, working with the Humane Society and changing laws in towns in Texas to better care for animals, I like Knancy have been concerned about things for a long time. It seems like getting animals and then thinking about how to house them especially in the brutal WV winters was an afterthought as well as how to care for them properly. there are a lot of animals on the farm now and Vet bills are high, food and proper shelter not cheap. If I were to have a farm and animals, I would want to plan, save and get information to do it the best way, rather than to seek freebies and discarded things. that might work for a few chickens but not as many animals as there are now. Even though these are animals, they need to be cared for properly. Yes animals die unexpectedly for sure, but I wonder if someone came to investigate their conditions what they would find. Maybe they would be adequate but maybe better conditions would also have prevented some deaths. I dont know that for sure. I have been concerned about the asking for donations as well, knowing that people are working and working at jobs to provide for their families without that, often 2 jobs jobs that are not so fun to do. I can only assume this blog and your other small writing jobs pay something. i dont think canning at home, though that would be my dream job frankly provides much income. it is a responsibility to provide for 3 youth as well and i can only assume their father has helped and if so that will stop when they are 18. it is ambitious to say the least to want this kind of life with animals, but I have been concerned about the animals for a long time frankly. Being back in the woods, who would know. it is an honest concern that should be allowed to be expressed if you are going to have a public forum. Given your knowledge and what you have I am sure the best was done but is it what these aninmals deserve? I am in the country and have lots of friends who have farms and ranches and i can tell you they have proper clean and dry shelter for their animals and hay and food and grazing land. they rarely report an animal dying between boards. This might be a wake up call.

  58. 2-11
    9:20
    am

    I follow your blog closely and was saddened by the loss of your little goat having raised more than a few, along with cows and sheep. After this post I thought to myself ” How good of her to give her readers a reality check.” As anyone who has ever had livestock of any number knows, these things happen and there is nothing you could have done short of bringing the whole tribe into your house that would have prevented it.

    I grew up in a very small town where everyone knows way too much about everyone else. I moved there when I was 5 years old and it wasn’t until all of the old timers died that my family (and many others) became members of the community. knancy’s post just reminds me of that. I try not to judge someone who’s shoes I have not walked it – no one but you knows your circumstances. I don’t believe any of the people who read your blog benefit in any way by reading what was posted. She may have valid points but also sees them from the outside. I don’t believe you are a bad host to your animals in any way.

    She really gave me insight with her comment about the rutted road she has to travel over now. That just smacked of mean spirited neighbor.

  59. 2-11
    9:21
    am

    After reading knothead’s comments, I had to share this quote with you from the “Sh*t my dad says” author Justin Halpern. His dad said the following:

    ‎”Everyone thinks their opinion matters. Don’t argue with a nobody. A farmer doesn’t bother telling a pig his breath smells like sh*t.”

    HEE! don’t feed the trolls my dear! :dancingmonster:

  60. 2-11
    9:30
    am

    Country life is about life and death. We hope for more life, but have to deal with the death.

    You can know exactly what to do and try to do it. Things still go wrong. Some breeds of animals will find anyway possible to hurt themself.

    Horses are born with flight and fight. They will and can hurt you and themselves in a heartbeat.

  61. 2-11
    9:31
    am

    Wow, Unbelievable! I’ve never understood why people have to say things like that to others, especially when they are already hurting. I’ve always felt, if I didn’t have something good to say about someone’s blog post online, I should just keep my mouth shut…or fingers still. No matter if you don’t agree with something or not, there is no reason to be hurtful.

    True, you might have some ideas on how to help them, but maybe you should do it in private?! Or maybe rethink your delivery, so it doesn’t sound like you are belittling them, or that you think YOU are BETTER than they are, just because you have been doing it longer than they have. Just because she has a nicer home than you do, doesn’t mean you should bitch that her Animals don’t live in the palace with her. They are animals…they have shelter…and love…so they have more than some animals do and there is no need to be bitchy.

    I’m a pretty new reader, so didn’t see the post about her home, however it really doesn’t matter how big and fancy it is or isn’t. Her animals have shelter, even if it’s not a big fancy barn, so get over it.

    Goats love to pile. That’s what they do. No matter HOW large or fancy an area you give them, they will still pile on each other. That also means the little ones, no matter how old they are, are at risk. It’s just how goats are. Giving them a larger place to live wouldn’t change that. We have lost adult goats, because they were on the bottom of the pile. There was plenty of room for everyone to spread out, but…they are goats, and like I’ve mentioned…they love to pile up. Goats don’t do well alone, they are an animal that needs a “friend”, and if they have a friend, they sleep with them…or on top of them…and things happen.

    Timing the breeding can be done…but not always. We leave our buck with our doe’s full time, so it happens when it happens. This year a lot of them aren’t due till April…however, we don’t really know about some of them, they could have them any day. It’s just the way we choose to do things; it’s OUR business…not anyone else’s if we choose to let the buck be around all the time for added protection. We’ve had them born in January before, it’s just whatever happens, happens.

    As for having the buildings built BEFORE getting animals….I had to laugh at that one. Seriously, that’s what I wanted to do, however we were given our first chickens and goats by my father, and when we get free stuff…umm well we don’t turn it down! So we brought them home, made a temp place for them to stay, and set to work building a home for them.

    Animals don’t really care if they have a scrounged together barn (like ours do) or a fancy palace, they just want a home and love and plenty of food and treats. If you are rich enough to give your animals that palace, and prepare it before you get them, then go out and buy what you want, more power to you. However don’t bitch; just because someone else doesn’t do things the way YOU would do them, there isn’t just ONE right way. What is right for you may not be right for the next person…or animal.

    I could go on and on, but as it is, I’m sure I’ve put anyone who thought they would try to read my comment to sleep, so I’ll shut up. Sorry for the extremely LONG comment. LOL I just think that before throwing stones at someone, you should walk in their shoes for a while…know more about the subject matter (goats) or learn to change your delivery so it doesn’t sound like you think you know more and are better than them. Life is hard, especially on a farm. Why make it harder for someone, just because you don’t agree with how they do things. Move on to a blog you DO enjoy, and be done with the one’s you don’t without leaving behind grief.

  62. 2-11
    9:32
    am

    What better way (especially for children) to learn about life & death than on a farm. I did not have the privilege to grow up on a farm but I had an Aunt & Uncle that had a farm and I spent a lot of time there. I loved running down the old dirt road between the fields, barefoot, behind their little house. Such wonderful memories!

  63. 2-11
    9:33
    am

    We may not all agree with knancy but we must all agree with her right to say it. Last time I checked this was the US of A. Having said that – knancy might have used a little more diplomacy – sounds like she might just be a little tweeked that someone “new” might have moved into her territory. I admire what she went through to get up to par but don’t knock someone else for trying to do it a different way. That poor animal could have died even if it had been no snow or cold weather. Things just happen sometimes regardless of circumstances. Please – let’s just all take a step back and take a deep breath and let this go. Suzanne’s talents outrank anything someone could say. Those of us who follow her blog will still enjoy her daily postings and grieve with her when things of this nature happen. Sometimes “CRAP” just happens – it’s over – it’s done – let go. It was no one’s fault.

  64. 2-11
    9:36
    am

    I love Mary’s quote. Here is a quote that I found on Facebook. Time does not heal all, and it does not get easier. You just learn to deal with it better !!!! Love your blog. Love and best wishes to you. Keep on keeping on. :hug:

  65. 2-11
    9:38
    am

    Boy, I sure am glad that I’m not criticized for not doing things the exact way other people do (rolling eyes). My mama always taught me that constructive criticism built people up and helped, and acting like a jerk got the crap slapped out of you. It’s all in the way you say things. Gosh…can you imagine what this world would be like if we didn’t all have learning experiences? knancy, your way is not the only way. Give it a rest, put it to bed. If you truly wanted to help, you would have done it in another way. Even your last post shows how superior you think you are. I feel very sorry for you, because in your quest to be perfect, you lost your caring for your fellow man’s struggles. Our struggles in life are not equal or easy, but they sure can be made a lot more bearable if we’re in it together. Since you criticized Suzanne in a public way, you should have expected this to happen.

  66. 2-11
    9:38
    am

    I agree. We have a farm with cattle, and I also have a blog. But I didn’t post about the cow last year that laid down and couldn’t get back up and how it’s calf tried to nurse from her laying there and how she died. Or about the old cow that laid down last fall and couldn’t get up and my hubby had to shoot her. Or about the cow last month that miscarried a calf and had afterbirth hanging out of her for a couple days. I didn’t post about any of them because people tend to think that having animals on a farm is one long disney movie where all the animals live happily ever after, and it’s just not true. I’m sorry about your loss of the little baby goat, but I understand and am not about to criticize because I know that animals die in freakish ways on a farm and it’s just the way it is. Try and have a good day Suzanne.

  67. 2-11
    9:40
    am

    Good morning, Suzanne. Another reader suggested it, and I second her idea: COOKIES! Bake cookies for everyone in the yard! My Mom said Tylenol would cure anything: headache, stomach ache, heart attack, depression; but I think she meant cookies. To the kitchen, woman! The cure awaits.

    Knancy, I, too, ran across a blog whose writer MADE ME CRAZY. I knew in my heart that her intentions were good, but I thought she was WRONG. Rather than read her blog and get high(er) blood pressure, I dropped it from my list of blogs. There’s enough in life to raise my blood pressure, so why choose to add something if I don’t have to? Once in a blue moon, I’ll stop by to see her pretty blog (it really is very pretty!); I look but don’t read. Just saying that if Suzanne’s farming :sun: makes you nutty, why add stress to your life? Life is too short for that hassle, don’t you think? The rest of us will follow her along happily and will avoid those blogs that don’t work for us.

    Suzanne, keep up the good work, girl. And remember: Cookies solve life’s problems. Fanta gets extra for at least a week.

    The rest of

  68. 2-11
    9:41
    am

    This is probably the best post I’ve ever read on your blog.

    Truthful, to the point, REAL LIFE.

    I totally understand about those who judge and condem.

    Suzanne, you are such a good writer and role model.

    Hang in there.

  69. 2-11
    9:47
    am

    Hi Suzanne,
    Don’t lose heart because of some mean talk. Keep your spirits up and have faith in yourself. knancy seems to be trying to put you down to try and make herself look better. She just has a lack of self esteem. Too many people are getting out of the farming business and it’s great that you are choosing to get into the farming business. I’m like you and got into this business a little over 15 years ago. I never stop learning, the hard way and from others. We all do our best with what we’ve got. My father-in-law has been a farmer all of his life and just yesterday he lost an elk. It was nobody’s fault and just an accident that couldn’t have been prevented. That was a heartbreaking loss as well as a big monetary loss. You’re very courageous to tell the bad and good. After all, that is just life. Thanks, Suzanne and keep trying that’s what we all do no matter what type of life we lead.
    Patty

  70. 2-11
    9:47
    am

    I don’t want to go against the overwhelming support here, because I usually try NOT to ruffle feathers.

    But…I have to say knancy and jane have some valid points. Only because I always wondered how, while going around the country, collecting animals, Suzanne would manage to care for them. It really does seem like an afterthought. As though – oh, I now have a free cow, where shall I house it.

    I am not implying she caused the death of any of her animals, but having grown up on a farm we always made sure we had structures and means before we brought [bought] one more animal to the farm.

    Suzanne, you have, on occasion told about having a tight budget, hence the advertising and the “donate” button on your blog. That is your right and fine – but I think the next time someone offers up four sheep or a free cow you might want to reconsider.

    I know it is just a description, but the fact that the baby goat was crushed in the “dog house” – might be a little of a warning sign. Perhaps knancy and jane are right – you aren’t equipped for as many animals as you have.

    Please reconsider before you bring another animal to the farm or you breed the goats again. Your hands are pretty full as it is.

    You are living your dream and that is wonderful. Good for you.

    And farm deaths are to be expected, but I think that with a little more education, experience and knowledge you might be able to avoid some of them by stopping your collecting.

  71. 2-11
    9:49
    am

    Everyone does the best they can and when tragedy strikes, you move on and learn as much as you can from the tragedy. I love your blog and look forward to your daily posts.

  72. 2-11
    9:50
    am

    Thanks for your blog and all you share with us! So sorry for you loss of sweet baby goat.

  73. 2-11
    9:50
    am

    The snarly initial comment in regards to Suzanne’s original post is what got everyone stirred up at you knancy. When someone is hurting you don’t kick them. Who the hell cares how big her house is or how many bathrooms or laundry rooms she has? I mean..I think it’s nice,but really, how she chooses to build her home is of no ones concern but hers and that of her children. I think she showed a lot of thought and consideration in the design and built in a way that will comfort many generations that follow.
    How fine her home is or for that matter how expensive is none of our business! She opens her life to us on this blog in many ways but in doing so we, as readers, have to respect that this is her life she is living. Her PRIVATE life. She can share as much or as little as she pleases. Whether or not you like her, whether or not you agree with her practises, or even if you think she is the most backward city girl you have ever seen…….if you don’t like it …don’t follow her blog.
    Barns cost a hellova lot of money and her first priority was to house her HUMAN children. Sounds like her priorities were right on spot to me. And yes, she has added a lot of animals since then but you know what…they are cared for every day, loved, fed, housed, and mourned when they pass. She is just a normal person doing the best to build a nice quiet life and likes to share her experiences. I for one love her blog because I learn so many things.
    Just because she chose to build her dream differently from the way you built yours doesn’t mean she is wrong. It just means she did it differently.
    If you didn’t want to be attacked by the “cult” then you should have thought before you typed something so ridiculously snide in reponse to her pain.
    If you had constructively stated your opinion without making it such a personal attack on her choices it probably would have been taken as such.

  74. 2-11
    9:55
    am

    I believe some of us are true “keepers of the animals” here on Earth. With that comes incredible joy and incredible heartache. I grieve the loss of a little chicken, I grieve the loss of a wild baby bunny killed by a neighbor’s cat. I have second guessed myself in the past for losses – “What could I have done to avoid this?” There will be more baby chicks, more baby bunnies, more baby goats (for you) and life just goes on. We all feel your sadness over the loss of your baby goat. Opening up your life in such a public way is going to occasionally attract those with negative intentions. And I think those people have no reason to keep animals because they just don’t get it.

  75. 2-11
    9:56
    am

    Suzanne,
    I grew up on a farm and understand where you are coming from.

    I think it’s better for you to not share most of the sad stories, just because there’s people out “here” that do not understand life on the farm. They will judge, criticize and second guess what *you* did wrong in the situation. As they say, “Hind sight is 20/20”, especially for people that are looking from the outside in. You don’t need that, especially after having been through such a situation.

    I empathize with you, sweetie. :hug: Life on the farm isn’t always butterflies and roses.

  76. 2-11
    10:00
    am

    I wonder how Knancy would feel to be judged, publicly, on the choices she has made and her priorites with her family but I don’t want to this to be about her. I’ll leave it at that I believe she is way out of line here. Even if she feels she has a valid opinion (and that’s all it is is her opinion) there are kinder ways to express it. She’s chosen to do things her way, and I respect that, but she acts as though she is perfect and her way is the best and only way.

    What I will say is in regard to the direction of the blog. Suzanne, I want to tell you I for one enjoy the honest posts. I love the happy, funny stories and find myself even telling my husband what’s happening at your farm. But I also am interested in knowing what your life is really like. Not a generic “life on a farm” but your life and your experience. I want to hear about the hard times. I thought it was crazy when people were upset about the pig castration and was disappointed not to hear about what became of the pigs. Life is not always a storybook (though as I said I love those kinds of posts too). I just want to encourage your honesty, which can’t be easy when people feel they have the right to judge everything you do. And sometimes you may make a valid mistake and then it’s good for people who may be thinking of having a farm to learn from it. I admire your honesty and bravery and hope you choose to tell it like it is in the future. I hope you don’t let the occasional thoughtless comment censor you. I would understand if it does, but I want you to know there are those of us who really appeciate that you put yourself out there and share what’s happening.

    I’m very sorry about the little goat Suzanne- it must have been so hard for you. My thoughts are with you during this sad time.

  77. 2-11
    10:03
    am

    Suzanne.

    First I am so sad you lost the little black baby.
    I felt the pain in your post. I wish I were not so far away I would like to hug you in person.
    I also would request that we pray for the sad soul that took your inventory in such a mean spirited way.
    Had she truly cared about you or your animals she could have written privately. Her mask of caring is so transparent.
    Carry on we love you and your heart.
    Blessings, Patty

  78. 2-11
    10:04
    am

    Suzanne, you’ve said it all perfectly here. That person who made those rude, insensitive, hurtful comments on your earlier post has to live with herself. It’s obvious the care and love you give your animals, and as a fellow goat and pet owner, I know all too well that you can only do so much, can only account for so many things. Life is fragile and things happen, but it doesn’t mean at all that we are neglectful or careless. We just can’t control it all. I’m so sorry about your lost little baby.

  79. 2-11
    10:07
    am

    How true… two summers ago I lost a chicken, I asssumed to a hawk. Somehow she had gotten into a small grain bin and the top had been put on tight…not a pretty sight when I discovered her. One fall I accidentally locked a weasel in the barn at night…the barn looked light something out of a horror movie in the morning. A farmer, a millionaire actually, in the next town, with all sorts of hired help and endless amounts of money could make your hair stand on end with stories of what has happened to his animals. This winter, over 300 farm structures have been damaged or had total collapse from heavy snow in CT. Horses have been maimed and killed…85,000 chickens were lost. It’s sad, tragic even, but an unpredictable outcome of a strange meteorlogical winter. Farming on any level can be so rewarding on a daily basis….so tragic and heart breaking in another. Those who know, support you Suzanne. Everyone else should keep their ignorant comments to themselves.

  80. 2-11
    10:09
    am

    I can’t post what I really want to about certain comments here. It would be against both the site rules, and against my personal rules against being nasty.

    I sure hope knancy and her little coven keep enjoying their lives in their ivory towers though. I also wish they’d pull up their drawbridges and stay inside them. I’ve raised goats, chickens, horses, pigs and worked with cows, sheep and even more horses. Life happens, and death is part of life. I wonder if they are vegetarians? I lost a horse to colic, should I worry they’ll be sending the sheriff? Oh yeah, had a goat die, and we butchered our own hogs and I’ve had chickens die too. Should I worry now?

    People like THAT is why I would NEVER adopt an animal from a rescue org, though I have saved more animals than I can count when people throw kittens and puppies from moving cars, when someone calls me because there are animals that need homes, or just from the pound. My property meets most of the requirements I’ve seen on those nosy applications, but they don’t meet mine.

    I’m sure Suzanne will modify how she posts things now thank you very much, but I hope no one believes only millionaires are going to keep loving their animals.

    I guess this has turned into a rant after all, but I can’t bring myself to edit it either. Sorry if I got too mouthy Suzanne, I’ll understand if you need to edit or delete it.

  81. 2-11
    10:09
    am

    Thank you so much to those of you who have left a kind comment or a constructive tip. I’m always trying to learn and do better.

    A quick factual note about the donate button that has been mentioned a few times, in case someone new here is looking around for it, LOL. The donate button has not been on my site in over a year and a half. It was on my blog for a few months back in early 2009, at the request of readers who wanted an easy way to contribute by clicking a button. Later, I took it down because, for one thing, it made me uncomfortable, and for another, a donate button tends to make you a target.

  82. 2-11
    10:10
    am

    I’m glad that Suzanne has nothing to hide. Animals do die just like everything else and sometimes we try and do our best and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. I’m very happy to still have my 2 goats and their babies. I only lost one chick. This is my first time starting out. I am more than certain as I increase my stock, I may lose more.
    Yes, she does have more animals than “normal” people do. There are her livestock, they are more than just pets. How many animals do you think die on factory farms? They have barns, shelters, medicine, more people working in factory farms, but I’m pretty sure much more die and not just from being slaughtered. I’m not trying to preach, but really, now? She lost some of her animals, and you’re really going to tell her what’s what?
    She’s not hoarding them, she posts about her animals as well as pictures! I can see how happy they are! I’m jealous in fact. Sometimes I don’t think I’m doing a great job, but she’ll readily announce that she is human and doesn’t know everything and that makes me feel human.
    but whatever, people are human, have their own minds, and will say what they want, even though it’s hurtful and ignorant.

  83. 2-11
    10:15
    am

    Oops, guess I should’ve read what was going on before commenting. I didn’t know about what has been going on the last couple of day. Sorry, Suzanne.

    It’s easy to sit from the outside and judge another, isn’t it?

    Suzanne has shared with an open heart with us her life on her farm. I am appalled at those, whether new or old readers, now coming along and being judge and jury of Suzanne and her life. You are now judging her from her very own words she has chosen to share with us.

    She doesn’t have to spend time every day sharing about her life. We don’t pay her to do that.

    Those of you who are sitting in judgement of Suzanne, I have a challenge for you. If you have a blog, why don’t you post the link here so we can all visit to see how you live your life and make your decisions. So I can sit back at my computer and decide whether I *approve* of what you have done in your life and the way you have gone about it.

    I am embarrassed for you who think you have all knowledge of Suzanne’s life and circumstances.

  84. 2-11
    10:15
    am

    Jane,
    Might you be involved with the Humane Society of the United States?

  85. 2-11
    10:17
    am

    KNancy, if you don’t like the blog, then don’t read it. I am blown away at the grace Suzanne has shown in dealing with such a lack of grace in a time when she is hurting. Grace. Maybe you should learn some knancy.

    I have a really hard time with people who care more about animals than they do people. Don’t get me wrong, I love animals and believe they should be well taken care of, but people come first. Their feelings, their family….FIRST. I think that when you have made no mistakes, then you can criticize, but I think it is very mean-spirited to make such ugly comments about someone when they are hurting.

    I am typically a quiet reader….just sort of checking in and enjoying the stories, crafts and cooking. I usually do not participate in a discussion like this, but the more I thought about it, the angrier it made me. No one is perfect, but I think Suzanne does a great job taking care of her animals. I am not a part of any “cult following”, just someone who is concerned about the feelings of other good people.

    Knancy, you sound like a bitter, lonely person and I pity you.

    Suzanne, I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine how you are hurting right now.

  86. 2-11
    10:18
    am

    I am so sad reading all the negativity here. Suzanne, we all know how much you love and take great care of your animals. I just want this to be a happy place to read an not have nasty comments from others. If you don’t like you don’t have to make a comment. Or maybe if you don’t like Suzanne then why are you reading her blog. The rest of us love this blog and we come to it cause we learn from it. We learn the good and the bad. I can’t wait to get on line in the mornings an enjoy what is going on in the farm. Yes that means if a animal dies we deal with it too. Just about all of us feel for you. We love you Suzanne!!!!!!!! I am sending you a big big Hug. Keep your chin up because their is lots of people that support you. Please don’t stop blogging because of this. I would be really sad. :heart:

  87. 2-11
    10:20
    am

    Suzanne, if I knew your address I would send you flowers. If they even deliver to you way out there. Much Love to you!!!!!!

  88. 2-11
    10:22
    am

    you do just fine girl! As for me….I still hate it for your loss, but I am ready to read some more of your wonderful posts! and as a side note……..your help has taught me sooooooooooo many things over the last few years and I hope you stick this all in perspective, and just keep on trucking! (and by the way…my mother would say you are a true lady for the way you handle your responses)
    now……..can you help me figure out what to do with Mr. Goose? Should I get him another lady friend or is he doomed to bachelorhood since his lady love passed?
    Hugs and much love…

  89. 2-11
    10:24
    am

    Suzanne,
    I’m so sorry for the loss of the little kid. Farm life will always have death and hardships. I haven’t read the comments on this post or the one sharing of the loss yet, but since you wrote this post there must of been some negative comments? If so, I’m sorry for those too. How sad that people do so, especially at a time that is already hard. Things happen. You’re right in that very few people have the perfect set up on their farm. One uses what one has and continues to try to better it. That is farm life! Now I think I’ll go read comments.
    SarahGrace

  90. 2-11
    10:29
    am

    Oh, and if Suzanne had NOT posted about the baby, don’t you think people would have wondered what happened to her? My girls ask about her EVERY DAY. Suzanne has very generously invited us into her life, good and bad, and I have always appreciated that. I fear that a good thing is going to be taken away (Suzanne’s freedom to share freely), because of a few people…happens in America all the time.

    Thank you, Suzanne, for sharing your life with us. It is an inspiration to so many, like me, who want to learn how to do the things you do…in AND OUT of the house.

    To the few who don’t like it, it is still a free country. Just don’t read it, but leave it alone for those of us who do.

    That’s all…sorry for ranting. Have a good day. :-)

  91. 2-11
    10:31
    am

    I think that knancy could have shared what she thought without so much angst. I could respect that, but it mostly was a diatribe. We get out of life what we put into it. To knowingly be hurtful is sad. It is too bad she did not think before she pressed the enter tab. As the days go by it will put a blight on her life. The use of the four letter “S” word did say it all. She has no class! Judge not lest ye be judged! We care Suzanne. Blessings to you and your family.

  92. 2-11
    10:36
    am

    I know where you’re coming from Suzanne we’ve lost several animals here on the farm including two horses. My critters are like my kids, they depend on me to see to their needs and it breaks my heart when something happens that I have no control over. I am very tender hearted toward animals, but I’ve learned that they don’t live as long as humans for whatever reason, so if I’m gonna have them I just have to deal with the things that happen on the farm.

  93. 2-11
    11:03
    am

    I can’t help but notice that knancy doesn’t show a link to her perfectly righteous life so we can all benefit from all her wisdom and superior techniques.

  94. 2-11
    11:13
    am

    Knancys latest post just serves to reinforce that she is bitter, angry, jealous and mean for whatever reason.. Truly a “glass empty” type of person.

    How many bathrooms you have is NO ONE’s business but your own lol.

    It’s plain to see that you take good care of your farm animals, but they are just that, farm animals and as farmers we do lose a baby now and again. The fact of the matter is there is NO way to save every one, and NO way of of insuring the survival of them all.

  95. 2-11
    11:15
    am

    Okay….I have missed something somewhere. I didn’t know the little baby goat had died and I read this blog every morning. Was it posted somewhere else like the Forum that I don’t read?
    I have, however, just read 87 comments and would like to visit knancy and have a talk with her about kindness. No one is perfect, miss, and I feel quite certain that, regardless of you being such a model person and farmer, there are incidents in your own life where you are more human than perfect. We ALL make errors….we ALL have regrets and we ALL have sorrows in our lives.
    But we ALL have choices to be better people…to be kinder, to be less self-righteous, to help someone without being an a**. Unfortunately knancy prefers to be ugly. What a shame because being ugly means you are not listened to even when you have valid points. It’s a case of the bad outweighing the good, Miss knancy.
    I don’t have a farm. I have one old cat that I love dearly and care for to the best of my ability. I lost my other bottle-raised, 15 yr old cat about four months ago to something that even the vet couldn’t figure out….I still grieve and I still wish I could have him back. Life isn’t always perfect…and death is part of life. You have to LOVE hard enough to get through the pain and Suzanne does this.
    Thank you, Suzanne….God bless you and your family and your animals. My heart goes out to you.
    LOVE…..

  96. 2-11
    11:16
    am

    I think all of these replies are posted in a section of this blog that is entitled, “Comments.” Dictionary.com’s first definition for comment is: a remark, observation, or criticism. The section is not entitled Adoration.”

    Do many of you really want this to be only of one thought?

    If you try one of Suzanne’s recipes, should you never be allowed to say you really did not like it?

    Why is someone now referring to the people who have supported knancy’s right to say what she said as a coven? Ouch.

    This blog is public. Anyone can read. Anyone can comment. If one does not want people to comment, one does not put it where it can publicly be commented upon.

    I am sorry for Suzanne; losing a pet is a horrible thing. However, I am more sorry for the goat.

  97. 2-11
    11:18
    am

    Love you and your blog, Suzanne. :heart:

    Knancy, seems nobody cared for your a$$vice.

  98. 2-11
    11:20
    am

    I was one of the readers who asked for a “donate” button. As I recall there were several of who did.

  99. 2-11
    11:31
    am

    Wow, what the heck happened in the span of about 12 hours! I read this post and I could see that someone or something had upset you, you are normally not that blunt about things ans with the fact that you had lost a goat the day before I went to research there. By no means am I a farmer, to be honest I am just a city girl who hopes of having a farm, started with the garden and now 3 nice chickens. I have recently lost my favorite rooster, some could say that I was mean to him and the others because I would allow them the free-range with out a fenced in area. So be it, I would say that I would rather let them have a little space. But I can understand where some are coming from on the planning stages, (Please dont blast me yet) I am a planner, but I am also spontaneous. Did I have the room for the chickens when I got them? No, that place was being occupied by 40 quail. That being said I dont think it is right for anyone to publicly bash someone, weather they are hurting or not. If anyone has a problem with the way that someone else is living their life then they need to go to them. That is how I would expect people to act towards me and I act towards them, off handed comments are normally what starts arguments. If I can only say one thing it would be something my father told me many times growing up…”everyone has an opinion and a rear-end, and most of the time they both stink”

  100. 2-11
    11:44
    am

    Coven (n.) Originally a late medieval Scots word meaning a gathering of any kind, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. It derives from the Latin root word convenire meaning to come together or to gather, which also gave rise to the English word convene. If you decide to take it as another meaning, that’s your choice.

  101. 2-11
    11:48
    am

    I know exactly what you mean. I don’t think me or my children really experienced death until we moved to our farm. We have learned that sometimes there are deaths that make absolutely no sense (pets and baby animals)and that sometimes death occurs as part of the cycle of a farm (meat chickens and hogs). It is hard to forget some of the bad things that happen on a farm, like when a racoon got into my juvenile hens, killed six birds but didn’t eat them…possibly because the screaming birds alerted us before he could finish the job. (BTW, the racoon met his maker too.)Sometimes you do the best that you can and hope for the best.

  102. 2-11
    11:52
    am

    {{{{{{{{{{{{Hugs to Suzanne}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

    Farm Life has it’s beautiful things, and it’s not so beautiful things… but both of these are a daily part of this life and we have to accept that with grace & dignity. We rejoice together over the births, triumphs, and accomplishments. And mourn the losses. Things happen. It’s as simple as that. We lost a dear dog who’s collar got caught between the spaces between the boards on our front porch. As she struggled to pull herself free she fell off the porch & accidentally hung herself. My husband found her – his best friend, hanging from our porch. It broke his heart. But it was just an accident…not neglect. My sister-in-law lost a horse when he was running thru’ the woods & his hoof hit a small stump & broke. A tragic accident. The wee goat was an unfortuately victim of goat behavior. It’s loss was an behavioral-accident. Sad, but not neglect.

    I would rather you post about the whole picture – the good, the bad, and the ugly – than see perfect Disney illusions. A good balance of it all is necessary to keep us grounded. While I delighted over the wee goats birth and their bouncing around the goathousem I also cry over the losses of the wee black kid, and the little hen. Don’t we need them both in order to truly appreciate the miracles and triumphs? Keep on keeping it real, Suzanne, just like you’ve been doing. Show us the entire picture as you see fit. It’s your blog, your life – we come here by our own choice. If someone doesn’t like it, they need to step away gracefully, NOT with venom.

    My prayers are with you. This can’t be easy. But look at the overwhelming support & know that you are loved by many friends you’ve never met.

    God bless you, your family, and your many animal friends.

  103. 2-11
    11:59
    am

    I think Susanne provides the shelter necessary for her animals. The links below provide information on what sheep and cattle need in winter, etc. In many ways, Suzanne provides more than is needed. I think Suzanne is a very responsible caretaker of her animals.

    http://montanacowboycollege.com/feeding_cows.htm

    http://www.littlehats.net/gessert01.html

    Keeping sheep outside during the winter benefits both the sheep and the shepherd. The sheep benefit from better ventilation and increased exercise. Most of the cases of respiratory disease that I treat in sheep occur in animals that are housed in a barn during cold weather. The cause is the build-up of moisture and ammonia in the air. The ammonia damages the lining of the respiratory tract, interfering with its resistance to infection, and the stale moist air transmits viruses and bacteria into the airways. This combination of factors leads to coughing, sinus infections, bronchitis and pneumonia. Just like kids in a daycare, when one gets sick the infection is easily spread to the rest of the group. Sheep that live outdoors breath fresh drier air and are not exposed to ammonia fumes. Bronchitis and pneumonia in these animals is rare. The major benefit to the shepherd, besides having fewer sick sheep, is not having to clean the barn. This saves time and energy, both of which are generally at a premium on the farms I visit.

  104. 2-11
    12:08
    pm

    Suzanne, I am very sorry for your loss. I am also sorry that a number of people have added pain to that loss. What some people haven’t been taught is that even though they have the “right” to speak, it isn’t necessary to exercise that right. It is a grace to hold the tongue and be kind first.
    knancy, first, express condolences. Then, after a time of healing, if you are so arrogant as to think you have to comment, make them in private when the topic is of such a personal nature. I only hope that when your time of humbling comes (and it will) that people are gentle and gracious to you. What you did is just plain mean.

  105. 2-11
    12:11
    pm

    Okay what i dont get is *why* the outcry about the dog house?? Its VERY common for ppl to use dog houses in their barn to give their goats added warmth. Why is she being attacked for that by a few? Its not like she *only* has a dog house for them out in the middle of their pasture. Do these ppl even look at her blog before attacking her?

    Barns are NOT the most common or the BEST way to house goats! Her goat house set up is excellent! MY goats dont have their own screened in porch for sure! Smaller structures like her goat house are much warmer than a big barn. Being smaller with lower ceilings they hold in the goats body heat.

    If anyone bothered to actually *read* her blog before criticizing her about getting *free* animals (which only the sheep were) they’d know that EVERY time she gets a new bunch of critters shes already been thinking and researching it for several months…if not years.

    I did read some great comments..like the baby goat house made from the barrel and light bulb. Ive seen those and they work very well. Thats good constructive critism and ive seen that suzanne appreciates that and uses it whenever it will work for her.

    I really appreciate Suzanne sharing her life with us. For one thing she makes me laugh almost every day and laughter is so golden! But she also makes me feel less alone out here on my homestead. Not just the joys but the tears too. I too have had a lamb just fall over dead. Those busy criticizing her should remember that shes just guessing that the kid was squished. Remember this kid was one of the two thats mom rejected them. Sometimes moms just *know*. It could very well have had a heart defect or something and died in its sleep. Its amazing how sheep and goats can sense that and will sometime reject their young because of it.

    I have a beautiful little brown ram lamb born this morning. Usually moms will keep their newborns out away from the other sheep for the first couple days, but because of our snow she cant. I’ll hold my breath til the snow thaws and the babies a bit bigger. He looks tiny in with all those big sheep..but they walk careful around him. Could he get squished come night..yes. But hes still better off out there than in here..where the change in temps would make him likely to get pneumonia and where bottle feeding him instead of letting mom feed him offers the dangers of things like bloat. Whenever you have animals there are risks..and there is heartbreak when you lose one..but thats just the price we pay. You can second guess yourself til the cows come home but you will NOT save them all and goats are THE hardest livestock to raise. They are born trying to kill themselfs.

  106. 2-11
    12:20
    pm

    My Dad has cattle. He has a barn, a tractor, plenty of hay and feed, etc. Yet just last summer he LOST three cows for bizarre reasons. One fell into a ditch and couldn’t get up. When he found it, too late. So he shouldn’t have cows because he doesn’t have perfectly flat land?

    From the numerous daily pictures it’s obvious that Suzanne’s animals are in wonderful health and are loved. Although I’m sure Clover might argue that she doesn’t get enough cookies…

    The reason I love Suzanne’s blog so much is that it’s about LIFE and making the best out of situations when you don’t have a lot of $$, because in the end, $$ isn’t the answer. I dream about land, chickens, maybe a goat or two, horses for my girls…Maybe someday. Through Suzanne, I can dream, and that is a priceless gift.

    Hugs and love to Suzanne. I wouldn’t be able to dream of my someday farm without you.

  107. 2-11
    12:22
    pm

    I’m very happy that you are so willing to share the ups and downs of farming. While I know that there are benefits, it’s the risks, the hard work, the sadness that make me love you even more. Especially the hard work. I couldn’t and wouldn’t want to do what you are doing. I’ll be the last to judge you for any of it.

  108. 2-11
    12:26
    pm

    You could have all the money in the world and the best barns it could offer and that doesn’t mean that the animals are loved or cared about the way Suzanne’s are.

    Somehow, I dont think knancy was baking cookies for her goats…

    I could feel the venom in that comment about the road & the SUV all the way up here in NH…. WOW talk about angry :shocked:

  109. 2-11
    12:27
    pm

    Well, they way I see it, you are doing a fine job with your farm. ANYONE and EVERYONE needs to learn more – EVERYDAY. People who have been doing this for 40-50 years lose cattle, goats, and chickens. It’s NEVER a “perfect world” where everything is healthy all at once.
    Not everyone can afford to build – or pay taxes on – a huge barn for their animals. The animals don’t mind it, though. In this case, a “barn” wouldn’t have helped, anyway.
    Sometimes, the more “phD’s” and letters we have after our name does not denote intelligence, it just means you were good in school. Someimes, the books aren’t entirely correct. Everyone has different experiences.

    One also has to understand the difference between animal “welfare” and animal “rights”. Organizations such as PETA and HSUS are NOT good for this country and have hidden agendas. Most of these are run by people who have ZERO idea about the real world. They see a couple little problems and equate that to the whole operation (and everyone’s operation). These people need to stay home, mind their own business and keep their nose where it belongs.

    Sorry if I come across a bit rough.

    Keep on doing what you’re doing, and the agenda folks can go to a very warm place.

  110. 2-11
    12:30
    pm

    Cheryl, thank you. We built our goat house after researching goat housing. The goat porch gives them access to fresh air and so on. It’s really common to provide dog houses for goats, so I’ve been surprised at the comments about that. As you said, the dog house is inside the goat house.

    Re collecting (in case anyone is wondering), we have half a dozen sheep, two donkeys, one cow (and calf), seven adult goats (and a handful of babies, not all of which we will be keeping), and according to my count the other day, 29 chickens. And half a dozen ducks and a few guineas (and dogs and cats). On 40 acres.

  111. 2-11
    12:32
    pm

    We just lost a chicken yesterday. We went out to let the girls out of the coop in the morning, and there little Popcorn was, settled down with her head bowed and eyes closed in one corner of the coop, just looking like she was asleep. We have no idea why she died, there’s no evidence of any particular reason. It’s just part of the life.

  112. 2-11
    12:37
    pm

    I think if Suzanne had made up some euphemistic name such as, birthing box, nesting box, warming den, warming shed, … I dunno, bet we could think of more. If she’d made up something that sounded like something someone would consider chic and clever, instead of what it was, an old dog house that let the goats cuddle up for extra warmth during cold weather, everything would be just so ‘special’.

    I let my goats snuggle in the bottom of an old remodeled outhouse! (lol, don’t worry it was VERY old and had been moved and the old pit filled in!) maybe I was negligent! Horrors!!!

  113. 2-11
    12:54
    pm

    Suzanne~ I’m so sorry for your loss AND for the ensuing turmoil.
    A) Like a lot of people, I stopped reading PW when she started moderating her comments. Any comment that wasn’t outright praise was instantly deleted. That’s sick, like really icky sick, and I’m glad you have the courage not to do it.
    B) I’m glad you show us all aspects of farm life. If you made it too glossy, we’d all despair and think we’re alone when unfortunate and untimely things happen to us. We had great dinner-table conversation about “Sprite, the Reluctant Mom,” and had a little celebration when she finally accepted her role.
    C) So many of us really love you. If you feel you have a safety issue, let us know. Many hands make light work.
    D) Rock on!

  114. 2-11
    12:58
    pm

    In my part of Iowa there are alot of State of the Art, brand new hog confinements. And since hogs are money, I’m sure the owners work hard to take care of the animals…..and yet, that rendering truck still makes the rounds. It’s just a fact, not every animal born will survive to adulthood.

    I own a little bitty hobby farm with 7 ducks, 2 goats, and 8 chickens. We haven’t always been prepared when those animals came home, but we learned what to do to provide them shelter quickly. I suppose we shouldn’t be feeding animals when we live in a 108 year old drafty farmhouse with cracked plaster walls and 30 year old carpet; but when my kids are grown they will remember the fun and the love and responsibility of caring for the animals, not the old carpet.

    I love Suzanne’s blog because it’s REAL. She’s an inspiration to me. When she moved into the Slanted House with her 3 children I was also a single mom with 3 kids trying to hang onto my little farm. She encouraged me. I see her successes and have hope that someday I’ll have a NICE house. I see her failures and know she’s not perfect, and learn from her mistakes. Yep, someday I’m going to make it out to WV and say hello!

  115. 2-11
    1:03
    pm

    It’s disheartening to see another piper join the Knancy parade, and share my name to boot! To even slightly imply that Suzanne is not providing adequate shelter, veterinary care etc., is not only absurd but I think slightly irrational. You also have to remember, and maybe this post was a tiny bit of a hint, that you’re never going to know the full story of what goes on in Suzanne’s life day to day, so don’t try to pretend you do. You’re choosing to focus on the negative and you’re projecting your own ideals onto what you ‘think is the situation here… that’s YOUR problem.

  116. 2-11
    1:08
    pm

    Suzanne,
    So sorry for the loss of your baby. Big hugs for all, and I second the cookies! :heart:

    Keep going with your farm life dear. The good and the bad. No one has a perfect set up. I sure don’t! But we’ll be adding a milk cow this spring, breeding our heifer, getting more chicks and poults, possibly ducks, and a cat. The 40 year old fencing needs repaired, the pasture needs seeded. We have so much to do, I add it to the never ending “5 year plan”. Live for today, you never know about tomorrow. Will that “5 year plan” get done? Maybe, maybe not. But I’ll enjoy what I have while I’m here!

    And as for Joy’s comment, I’ve added my blog. Take a look if you’d like, say what you will, but in the end it’s MY decision, mine and Hubby’s. If you’re gonna gripe about it maybe you’d like to take a weekend of your time and come help with one of a million projects?? :lol:

    Chin up Suzzane!!! :sun:

  117. 2-11
    1:21
    pm

    Your site was just recently referred to me, and I just love it! Particularly, this “Stories I don’t tell” Blog. I feel as if you took my story and changed the names! We work so hard to love and care for all our critters, sometimes it’s just not enough. Keep up the great work!

  118. 2-11
    1:24
    pm

    Oh, Suzanne, you are graceful under pressure.

    I’m sometimes very grateful that my own blog is not nearly so popular as yours,since the support and true admiration that a popular blogger recieves really seems to bring out the nasty jealousy and negative judginess in certain individuals. I’ve always had the very bad habit of taking things very personally, and it would probably sting too much to deal with mean comments. I know it’s a risk all bloggers and writers take, especially when writing about their own lives, like we do.

    I’ve gotten some pretty mean comments on the articles that I write for Associated Content, and honestly, they’ve really bothered me, made me angry, one even made me cry.

    But I look to you as an example to follow when it comes to these things. You’ve shown me what patience is needed when dealing with the negativity. You always respond kindly to comments that make me gasp with their snarkiness. Pointed questions meant to show you in a bad light, not to share or teach. And you answer like they are simple curiosity, not personal attacks on your intelligence and character, avoiding the drama.

    I’ve learned as much about blogging from your example as I have about goats. Thanks for that!

  119. 2-11
    1:26
    pm

    As I was reading knancy’s last post, I began to think perhaps she may have some good points and then I read the final paragraphs and realized that she struggles with past wounds and rudeness. Although I can be empathetic, I can not and will not abide rudeness. Her story was interesting and impressive, but by no means perfect. And afterall, who is? She questions why Suzanne didn’t properly prepare and plan and build for her animals. I question why knancy didn’t do the same for her human child. In my state Child Protective Services would have viewed a travel trailer without proper plumbing or heat as endangering the welfare of a child. Why didn’t knancy build a proper house BEFORE living on her property? Maybe I don’t know the whole story, and knancy…are you listening? Maybe, you don’t know the whole story either… but it’s easy to fill in the gaps with negative or fearful opinions. (Been there. Done that. And am trying to not do that anymore.)

    Bottom line, in between the cheering and jeering comments I have read here, I have learned a lot or at least had a lot of good food for thought. I’m certain Suzanne has learned too (and will continue too). But my final hope is that knancy did too. Let’s take a big breath. Exhale. Sit awhile with this sadness. And realize that finding a “reason” or someone to blame won’t make our pain/sorrow disappear. Feel the pain, it’s ok. There are so many more joys than sorrows in this world. Count on it.

  120. 2-11
    2:49
    pm

    Wendy B.~ I wondered the same thing about setting up “adequate housing” for her own child before moving onto the property. I just get really bothered when people think an animal needs and deserves better than a human.

  121. 2-11
    2:55
    pm

    Me too, Langela.

  122. 2-11
    3:11
    pm

    I was grateful for the reality of the post about losing the goat. We need reality mixed with the “perfect” life you seem to have on the farm. I think you and applaud all that you do.

  123. 2-11
    3:17
    pm

    For the life of me I tried to let this go. This site is nothing more than a book that someone chooses to read or not to read. If you don’t agree with what is here than go somewhere that that writes what you want to read.

    I come here every morning with my coffee first thing. I came looking for advice on canning and making cheese. I got suck in completely by the animals. Suzanne is living out my little fantasy. I made choice in my life that prevent me from doing what she did, but it’s a window for me to get that. I have never met her, but sometimes she seems just like best friend. Suzanne has has shown more grace than I think I ever could. Stregnth as well, because she hasn’t been sucked into a fight with you and I hope she hasn’t wasted one bit of time letting you get in her head.

    Knancy you are nothing but a jealous and spiteful person. You lived the life you did by choice. But now, it just burns in your brain, that someone else has something you didn’t and you think She doesn’t apreciate the way you would. You are the evil part of me, that I have worked so hard to keep in check. Thank you for reminding me that I am not that bad. You probably have no friends because you have no tact or care for other feelings. You take the first chance your get to attack someone else who has what you didn’t have. I had a chance to do just what you did and I am so proud that I was better than that.

    Go somewhere else if you don’t like what you see here.

  124. 2-11
    3:25
    pm

    I feel personally attacked after reading all this venom. And I am not you!! So sorry and remember there are those of us who truly enjoy your blog and experiences. Don’t let it get you down or bring on more guilt than you might have already felt. :hug:

  125. 2-11
    3:27
    pm

    Kat! :heart: :happyflower:

  126. 2-11
    4:18
    pm

    :snuggle: Thanks so much for this post! It makes those of us who loose livestock too feel so much better! I started with horses and (knock on wood) have only lost one but I’ve lost TWO chickens in the last month. BOOM dead. Bye bye chickens. Thanks again!

  127. 2-11
    4:29
    pm

    Normally, I wouldn’t suggest this. But in light of Knancy and a couple of other “repeat offenders”, I’d put the blog on moderation when you have posts of this nature and let your mods handle the ugliness of her ilk. Let them delete or block the two or three repeat nasties we have. I’m not suggestion that no counter-feelings should be allowed, but there’s a way to disagree without being judgmental or nasty. If you can’t play nicely, you don’t get to play at all. I’m not even sure WHY they keep reading this blog. We seem to think that we all have “rights”. What we all have are RESPONSIBILITIES to be kind. Yes, we can disagree, but the extent of venom in a couple of replies was sickening.

    That Knancy was blessed to have TWO incomes AND a husband with FAMILY to help they out doesn’t ever occur to her. She had the ability to do what she wanted as fast as she wanted it. It would seem her premise is that only those with the idealic lifestyle should be allowed to own animals and property. Only “natives” can live in WV? Wow, too sad. But she runs into problems with the “Native” thing :

    “I married and moved to a 102 acre farm with my husband here in West Virginia.” So, she’s not originally from WV and yet she comments: “I will drive slowly on the road I’ve driven on for years before you plopped your ass here and rutted out my road with your big SUV tires and don’t even have a inkling what the hell you’re doing. I live here because I like being able to stop and move a turtle.”

    I think that says it all! It’s simply a version of “D… Yankee, go HOME”. The idea that only “certain” people get to live somewhere is really sad! And at least you have YOUR family that has lived in that area for generations!

    And as for the ANIMALS. ARE some of you NUTS??? They have lived OUTSIDE for THOUSANDS of years!!! Now all of a sudden, we’re to bring livestock inside? Good grief, yeah, PETA strikes again. So, let’s call out the cops on Suzanne because she doesn’t have a multi-million dollar barn – and YES, they DO exist! I’ve been through racehorse country in FL and the BARNS ARE AIR CONDITIONED and nicer than the house I lived in! But then, the inmates in them are worth $$,$$$,$$$.

    And let’s all chant “Seig Heil” while we’re at it. Because each day we’re loosing more of our God-given rights and looking more and more like Nazi Germany in the late 1920’s. Everyone is now to make sure his neighbor is following government mandated rules – no matter that those rules are UNCONSTITUTIONAL! (Nowhere in the Constitution is the government given authority to interfere with farming, education and health – among many other things.)

    I’m also glad that Child protective services wasn’t called to investigate the housing situation for her CHILD! Where I come from, it’s ILLEGAL to house a CHILD under THOSE conditions! You are REQUIRED to provide indoor plumbing (THAT WORKS), a second exit to the abode (and travel trailers are NOTORIOUS for only ONE exit! And are you nuts? A wood stove in a dwelling that only had ONE exit?? Oh, wait. What business is it of MINE how you try to get on your feet.

    Suzanne, I’m so sorry for your loss of the baby. She was a cute little thing. I’m even more sorry for the hate that has been directed at YOU. I’m absolutely furious at the “do-gooders” who left nasty comments. (Not to be confused with a couple of people who left contrary opinions, but phrased it nicely.)

    I hope you will either block completely or delete the couple of people who make hate filled comments – and it seems on a rather regular basis. These people are NOT constructive nor are they kind. They add nothing to the rest of our reading enjoyment. Their “rights” ended when they got hateful. I would also hope that they can find some kinds of peace in their lives. People that are filled with that much hate and anger can never be happy. They’re too busy hating/being angry to feel happy because somebody is ALWAYS doing something “wrong” and needs to be chastised by them, the Moral Police.

    Ok, off my soapbox now.

  128. 2-11
    4:32
    pm

    Suzanne–Once again I am reminded that you are a class act. Please do not feel that you need to justify or explain any of your decisions. I have been following your blog from almost the beginning and can confidently say that if I am ever selling or giving away any of my numerous animals, I would be very happy to place them with you.
    Reading your blog and looking at your pictures, one can tell that your animals are well fed, cared for and happy. If Knancy or any of the other (few) critics from Sunny Brook Farm have ever raised goats I would be surprised. Mamma goats generally choose the coldest day of the year to give birth–It is a law in the goat world. If you housed your goats in your lovely(and appropriately sized home) they would still find a corner and pile up on each other at night. The wealthiest farmer, the best supported zoo, and even God in the natural world all have something in common–their animals die from time to time! Accidents, illness, and mysteries happen. Yes, animals (and people) get stuck between the slats and die, happily eat a meal and drop dead, and don’t wake up sometimes.

    Suzanne, you have never indicated that you don’t appreciate and welcome advice from your readers. I have contacted you before with a tip or two, and you graciously responded. Knancy, if you or others really had concerns about the number of animals Suzanne had or their care, why didn’t you email her with your thoughts? You most certainly do have the right to express your opinion, but your diatribe was more like coming to another person’s party and rudely expressing your anger in their home, without warning, and frankly, without the rest of us wanting to hear it. If you do not enjoy Suzanne’s blog, don’t read it. Don’t get yourself upset. The rest of us–farmers and greenhorns, old and young–love and enjoy her writing style, her daily activities, her humor, and her friendship. I’ve never met her, but if she will have me, I’ll gladly claim her as a pal.
    Suzanne, I’m sorry for your loss. It will happen again some day. It is the penalty for being an animal loving farmer. You’ve made no mistake and do not need to apologize.
    Keep up the good work.
    Your friend…

  129. 2-11
    4:40
    pm

    Hi, I read this blog almost every day too. I’m truly sorry that the baby goat died, and I’m sure Suzanne was very sad. But I think it’s wrong to demonize anyone because they have dissenting opinions from the majority of the people who post here. I have to admit that although I admire Suzanne for what she’s been able to accomplish, I have wondered about indiscriminately allowing goats to breed so you can have babies to sell or to keep. What are the goats going to be kept for? How will you make sure they go to suitable homes and what happens if the new owners decide they don’t want them any longer. Shouldn’t the breeding of any animal be done to better the line of whatever species may be? What about genetic concerns or the fact that the goats bred were two different species? There are so many unwanted and unloved animals in this world. I just feel that no one should breed any animals just to breed them. Suzanne’s reasons are her own, and she certainly doesn’t owe me or anyone else an explanation. But I have to say it’s hard to understand. It’s not a matter of how much land you have. I am sorry that the baby died, but I have to go along with some of what was voiced by the few.

  130. 2-11
    5:00
    pm

    Gen, just to answer one of your questions, the only cross-bred goat is Dr. Pepper, who we are wethering (neutering) and keeping. Fanta’s and Sprite’s babies are purebred Fainters. As for why to breed them, breeding animals is one part of farming–how farmers make a living. The animals are bought by other farmers wanting to start or grow their own herds. Some animals (yes, even goats) are used for meat, others are for dairy purposes.

  131. 2-11
    5:45
    pm

    No, I’m not THAT Joy, I’m another one. I guess I’ll have to change my name to something more unusual but I just wanted to say that the comments to the blog have been interesting and thoughtful…though some of those thoughts have not been to my taste and have not sounded as helpful as I’d like if I were writing a blog. Bloggers who talk about their lives for us all to share in run a risk of encountering a person who pre- or mis- judged them, who misreads or misunderstands their postings or who is simply a not very nice person. They are brave folks just as all writers are. Anytime you share something personal like a novel you worked and sweated over for a long time or a blog where you share your days and your honest thoughts and trials, you put yourself out there to be judged, talked about and possibly misunderstood. Brave Suzanne has done both and I personally feel the richer in spirit for reading and sharing someone else’s dreams and fantasies. AND, I’ve enjoyed reading the comments from all over from every type of person who reads Suzanne’s blog even if I don’t always agree totally with their lifestyle, religion, diet or other personal choices. Its very very hard to grow a tough skin to read negative reviews of books you’ve written. It is even harder to read very personal negative views of your life. I think we all need to practice a lot more forgiveness and step back and let other people live their lives their way. {end of sermon, I’ll get off the pulpit now}

  132. 2-11
    6:10
    pm

    Wow, I’m stunned. I read every single post. Not skimmed, read. Again, wow.
    I really enjoy your stories and I especially like that you do not gloss over the rural life. It is a good mix of sad, happy, struggle, accomplishment. And adventure and encouragement. You teach and entertain. Been coming here for a long time because of that. Please, put this behind you and move on. What would your mom tell you to do about all this? That’s what I try to ask myself most times like this.
    I saw a saying the other day, I can’t remember where, that said…
    Choose kindness. Even if it’s difficult, every day, choose kindness.

  133. 2-11
    6:31
    pm

    I know that I have posted on this already, but it really is none of our business what she (Suzanne) plans to do with whatever animal she owns. I enjoy the good and look at the bad with the attitude that this is farming, something I really dont know much about, I live vicariously through her. I know that everyone is up in arms about this, I agree I was upset when it all happened too. But that being said I know that a few that are up in arms now were really quick to say that Miss Dana should be able to do things that a man does because it is the 21 century…there is a little bit of a double edge sword going on.
    All just keep in mind that even though we are friends and we all are in each others lives because of this site. That it is still YOUR life and MINE. I care about everyone on here. I have been reading for awhile now and think the world of everyone. I almost feel like you guys are part of my family. So please take that with a grain of salt what I had said earlier, I dont want to hurt feelings just smooth things out.

  134. 2-11
    7:04
    pm

    Amen!

  135. 2-11
    7:21
    pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Suzanne. I just read about the kid who passed away, and read some very nasty comments. I don’t get what’s up with some people, I supposed they just weren’t raised with manners or compassion. I was a NJ city girl who moved to MN, on a 40 acre farm. We lost 2 lambs, a ewe, a llama and 3 baby donkeys in 10 years, so I know how it hurts. My husband always tells me that although we love them, our animals are ANIMALS and it’s a FARM, and they do, unfortunately, die. Please keep your chin up. I’ve been a faithful reader for several years, enjoy your blog, and think you do an exemplary job. My husband wishes I was more like you!

  136. 2-11
    8:21
    pm

    What more can be said? I/We love you and want to continue reading all of the good, the bad and the sad. Hang in there lady!
    :heart:

  137. 2-11
    9:53
    pm

    Hi, Suzanne–
    I know that when this week began, you had no idea it would end as it has. I’m so sorry. The loss of the little black goat baby was traumatic enough, and then the aftermath of comments must have exacerbated the hurt. The truth is, most of us just try to do the best we can with what life gives us. We make mistakes, and sometimes things are just beyond our control, but we get up the next day and carry on because that’s all we know to do. I am so thankful that you will be here when I stop by tomorrow morning.

  138. 2-11
    10:16
    pm

    Honestly, it’s the “keeping it real” aspect of your blog that I love. Your struggles to milk Clover got me hooked. Yes, it was hilarious, and I admit it convinced me that goats probably aren’t for me. If you post nothing but the good, if you candy coat the struggles, that does the rest of us a disservice. I’m glad you have a good attitude about the struggles. I’m also glad you tell us about them. Life is hard sometimes. We can’t pretend otherwise.

  139. 2-11
    10:44
    pm

    I think maybe some ppl need to look up the definitions of *livestock* and *pets*. Farm animals are livestock..not pets. The vast majority of them are raised for meat..others for eggs or milk. While Suzanne *does* make pets out of most of her animals, as do many farmers, they are *still* livestock. And while some *livestock* is bred to better the breed genetically and those are kept for breeding stock.. many are bred as terminal stock. For example you cross a boer with a nubian because you plan to eat the offspring and you’ll get a bigger meatier goat that way. You cross a dorper with a katahdin to a faster growing lamb that will make market weight faster. In farm animals cross breeding is NOT looked down upon. They are food..not pets…they are livestock. If suzanne were breeding dogs or cats that would be different..notice shes not. No one needs to be concerned about anyone breeding too many goats or sheep or cows. They get ate..its not a finite market like the pet market is. Heh.. i was considering whether or not i should blog our next home butchering.. guess not… too many PETA type nuts out there. Hang in there suzanne..surely you will be able to get back to regularly scheduled programming soon!

  140. 2-11
    11:43
    pm

    Sounds like knancy needs to make herself a Happy Card and the rest of us need to pull ours out.

  141. 2-12
    1:05
    am

    Well,Suzanne,PLEASE DO NOT STOP SHRING WITH US!!
    Knancy, you weren’t BORN with that spelling were you by the way?? Go away! Obvious jealousy,sour grapes, and prejudice! AND, I can’t IMAGINE what you put your child through with that awful lifestyle you took up on YOUR “farm” when you were obviously too green to know better!

    Suzanne, you’re my hero,raising merit scholarship kids,kids who serve our country, on a farm,learning as you go, and sharing to boot!

    Death on a farm? Well, this isn’t Captain Kangaroo folks. It’s real life. SUZANNE’S REAL LIFE. Be kind.

    How nice that a single mom can provide a home, a kitchen with HEAT ,RUNNING WATER and countertops! For her family! You go girl!

    Suzanne, don’t hold back.Please keep sharing. The meanies will drop away and go bother someone else.

    I believe a blog is meant for LIKE MINDED people to hang out together. To me, Really, the weirdos and meanies are just not welcome and should hang out with their own kind!

    HUGS!!!!!!TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY, humans and animals!

  142. 2-12
    1:16
    am

    By the sounds of things knancy never had farm animals and anything to the contrary is a lie. Suzanne don’t fret that little goat did not get squished, she just died, it happens to all farmers, it is extremely sad but there is absolutely NOTHING you could have done to avoid that goat’s death, you are a great farmer and your animals are some of the happiest I’ve ever seen, from Annabelle the dog, to the crooked hen (who would have been put down by other farmers), to your less furry children you are doing great, and if that twit knancy had half a brain she would realize that you have children that need to occupy those 4 rooms and 2 laundry rooms, and frankly it isn’t any of her damn business how many rooms you want to have, I hate it when people think they are entitled to voice their opinion as to how others should do things or live their life, you have your life knancy live that one!!

  143. 2-12
    1:18
    am

    Forgot to add, I’m shocked by the story of the guinea killing the chicken, I have ours together w/the chickens and so far all is okay but I have been thinking for awhile to separate them and after that story I think I might go ahead w/that.

  144. 2-12
    7:24
    am

    Suzanne, I’m really sorry for your loss of the little black goat she was a real cutie :) and for the rude attack some people have made towards you. You dont deserve it!! Anyone with half a brain can tell your animals are well cared for. Its just lack of common sense that some would think there are never going to be any animal deaths. Do we even know that the babies death resulted in being squished?? She was the one that the momma refused to nurse right, probably because mom knew something was wrong with her and she died of other causes.
    Please keep sharing the good bad and ugly, through your exp. I now know that pigs and sheep are not going to be an animal I want to have, but goats yes :) Thank you for the learning curve :)

  145. 2-12
    8:24
    am

    :purpleflower: I guess if I were a farmer I’d probably be full of advice – use this or that hay, did you check for chokeweed (or some such other thing) but the reality is that life and death are equal parts of farm life.. I was lucky enough to spend time on a farm with family friends as a child and remember going back the next year and asking about a horse and a donkey. Both had died, one she buried by digging a hole in the meadow with the tractor and dragging into it (the donkey) the other was sent to ‘the rendering plant’. I found it shocking, but in reality, that is life. As a city girl (I guess, although country at heart) I suppose it seems awful to me but it is what it is. As for goats, goat meat is becoming increasingly popular and is (I believe) the #1 meat choice worldwide. Maybe that goat ranch will make you your fortune someday. After all, you aren’t a farmer for all the fun and days of pampering it gives you – but to make a modest living. :sheep:

  146. 2-12
    8:32
    am

    Sorry to double post but as for Knancy….my two cents are that how the heck does this person presume to judge you? “you chose a fancy house over your animals”..well whether you did or not – none of my business – that is your right to choose what you wanted. WV winters are comparably mild and the housing you have for your animals sees adequate; this is not ND or even Maine.

    Your choice to share your journey with folks like me far away in different lives is a gift to us….and I guess those like some posters feel as if they can look that gift horse right in the mouth and say “hmm…bad teeth”. For me, I just say, thank you for all you do. :clover:

  147. 2-12
    9:14
    am

    All I have to say is, when I grow up, I want to be like you! I have read your blog for over a year now, & I am never disappointed! I have learned so much by reading here! I am always telling friends about CITR. Keep up the good work!

  148. 2-12
    9:42
    am

    nice post Cheryl…the PETA nuts and Humane Society of United States are unbalanced….many people do not realize the difference between HSUS and true Humane Societies…

  149. 2-13
    9:17
    am

    Well said.

  150. 2-13
    9:34
    am

    Soo true iowacowgirl. I support my local humane society. They do a great job. HSUS and PETA care nothing about the animals. They bring in a fortune in donations and use it just to create drama where none exists in order to get *more* donations. If they had their way none of us would have pets *or* livestock.

  151. 2-13
    10:03
    am

    Holy Frijoles!!! I posted my previous comment about your post Suzanne. Oi Vei!!

  152. 2-13
    11:35
    am

    Hi Suzanne!
    I haven’t commented in a while- I’ve been a little busy and haven’t been reading every day. Just wanted to say that I always enjoy your writing and sharing your life with us.
    Life is hard.
    People are not always kind.
    But I’m sure you know that.
    :)

  153. 2-15
    3:44
    pm

    I’m usually a lurker here, not a poster but after this entry I have to say….Amen, sister.

    Be calm and carry on.

  154. 2-16
    12:48
    pm

    I’m glad that someone asked the question of “Jane” about the Humane Society of United States. I suggest that all of you who own animals be it a dog or dogs or cats, cows, chickens etc., please do your research and check them out. They run those ads on tv showing the poor ill kept animals and asking for donations of something like 19.95 monthly to help care for them. DON’T DO IT. They don’t have shelters and they don’t send back to your local shelter. If you want to donate to animal care donate to your local humane society only. HSUS uses 95% of their take(and their take amounts to millions yearly)goes to lobbyist at your state government putting money in the back pockets of your state officials to get “Jane’s” laws passed concerning the keeping of animals, breeding of animals, how many you can keep, if there is some green in their water bucket, if poop is cleaned up daily so they want walk in it. I would not be surprised if Jane doesn’t send your local animal control or worse the local representative of HSUS to check on what you are doing in a “raid” (thats what they do)and remove your animals. Susanne, by going public you have brought pleasure, laughs,information and coffee spilling humor to many of us who are addicted to this blog. I have thought many times I would love to have a blog but I have changed my mind.One thought I did have concerning the first stone thrower was comparing housing for humans and animals. You Susanne chose to raise your children in a proper house with a bath room rather than a “camper” which was probably missing that necessity. Thats putting your children first which is the way it should be. Jane might live in Texas but every state has their share of Janes and something in their life happened to cause them to turn sour and think it is their responsibility to police the animal world.

  155. 2-17
    12:16
    pm

    An excellent and much needed perspective, Susan. Thanks for sharing. I think the only people second guessing will be those who have never done any farming.

  156. 2-19
    10:31
    am

    It sounds to me as though knancy is jealous. Sometimes, when people get to a place first, they feel a certain ownership toward that place no matter how many people move in. My parents live in a neighborhood that was part of a larger piece of land. The owner of the land sold it but still thinks he has the right to boss everyone else around who now has a home on said land. Animals do dumb things like not letting their young nurse, or squishing them when huddling to keep warm. knancy, stop ragging on Suzanne because she built a nice home for herself and her children. You chose to live in a gypsy trailer when you first got here (sounds like you did not plan it too well or maybe you’re just one of those people who like to brag about their hardships because you think it makes you look resilient and wise to the novice… it doesn’t) (I walked to school in 3 feet of snow up hill, both ways and had to cut my own pencil from a tree in the school yard, shoot my own lunch and weave my clothes from the hair on my grandpa’s back) Puh-leeze! Everyone gets to walk their own path and make their own mistakes. Clearly you have a better relationship with the earth than you do with your neighbors (hint, neighbors are more important) You think you’re clever calling we who love and support Suzanne a cult but it just makes you sound bitter and resentful.
    Maybe you’re the one who should do more thinking next time you go to post a comment here and ask yourself if you are truly being helpful (you are NOT) or if you’re just being bitchy? Hint; it’s number two.

  157. 2-23
    2:46
    pm

    I know just how you feel. Living on a farm you learn about death-it’s is just part of nature. You feel bad, think you could do things better, but you also have to think about what a nice life they had when they were alive.

    Today I was on a work conference call, looked up and there were my three horses running across the yard,down the driveway and out onto the road. Thankfully, no traffic and I managed to get them back on the property, but I shudder to think what would have happended if I had not been here(of course the driveway gate would have been shut, but who knows what they would have damaged.)

    Also this morning for the first time, my mare decided she liked the chicken run. We have 330 ft of mesh electrified fence. We have the electric off because the chickens no longer test it, but there she was right in the middle with all the chickens under her feet. I got her out and 5 hours later she was right back inside. Guess I have to turn the electricity on and hope she doesn’t get tangled up in it. :cry:

  158. 4-3
    9:14
    pm

    I read your blog often but have never commented. I have a tiny urban homestead in progress. I just wanted to tell you that you touched my heart with your sad stories. You have overall a wonderful life it seems. I hope the sad times are few and far between.

  159. 5-2
    11:58
    am

    after reading every comment on this post the only thing that keeps coming to my mind is this ~ It is true that everyone in this country has the right to voice their own opinion about whatever they want. Now matter how nice or mean-spirited it may be. HOWEVER, the only one who has the right to judge anyone is God. So do what I do and if you read or hear something you do not personally like, ignore it and/or as my mom used to tell me “let them say what they want and let it go in one ear and out the other!” Because it doesn’t really matter what they say or what they think, it only matters what God thinks and I think he thinks pretty highly of you Suzanne!

  160. 5-2
    5:18
    pm

    …do not feed the trolls! I always have this image in my mind of some disturbed, overweight, antisocial, maladapted male, sitting in his parent’s basement, the only light the flickering of 3 or more computer screens, trolling the internet, looking for attention, and chortling in glee when he gets it.

    Maybe I better stop watching Criminal Minds, eh?

    But this is only my little opinion.

    Anyway, a touching blog, Suzanne! Best wishes! Here’s to livestock living.

  161. 5-3
    9:37
    am

    Freedom of expression is obviously being abused. Your freedom ends where it starts to infringe on another persons freedom. You might have the right to say whatever you want, but you do not have the right to hurt other people as you express your freedom.

    Dont hate a woman just simlpy because God has chosen to favour her.
    Obviously she is not doing what ever she is doing perfectly, so if you really know it better, simply give her helpful advise, correct her, but please do it in a nice way.

    It would have been better to just tell her how to do things better next time and in a nice way, you dont lose anything, I think Knancy has missed an opportunity to share with us the valuable information and lessons that she has, having done it all before Suzanne. Really an opportunity to be a bigger and better person.

  162. 5-22
    7:13
    am

    I love how you love your animals. Whenever I loose one of mine, I think I’ll never get any more once they are all gone. But they add so much to the quality of my everyday life. Never had NO animals and never will.

  163. 8-6
    1:16
    pm

    I know this is old, but I had to comment.

    First, I am ashamed I am from the same field as Knancy. I am an MLT, going for my MT. I have to say, she should know first and foremost that in EVERYTHING we do, there is human error.

    I doubt Suzanne loses an animal and goes “oh well”. I am sure the thought of “What went wrong” goes through her mind, and she tries to correct said action.

    And who cares if she has two laundry rooms and 4 bathrooms? Who cares if she is acting “suburban” because she doesn’t want to live in a shack wth a whole in the ground as her toilet? Everyone has different means, different walks of life, different wants and dreams. You wanted an extra 60+ acres, so you get to live in a trailer. She wanted only 40, so she balanced it with a nice house. Where is this unwritten rule that you need to live in shambles to be a farmer? Because if thats the case I am not going to buy my hobby farm. I work too damn hard day in and day out to not have my home what I want it to be. Sorry.

  164. 8-6
    7:34
    pm

    I know it is belated (I’m kinda new here) but my condolences on the loss of your little goat :hug: .
    I was appalled to read the heartless, judgmental comments made by some readers. I commend you on building your home before the animal houses and truly having your priorities straight. I also commend you on the shelters you have provided for your animals (one does not need an fancy barn to supply warm/dry housing, your goat house is more than what some have). You are doing a wonderful job both for your children & for your livestock!

    knancy, I agree with several others that if you wanted to offer helpful advice it would have been better said in private email or at least with tact and compassion, not judgment, venom and foul language. You spouted off about your “perfect” way of building a farm, using the phrase “Plot and plan before you accrue.” But while you degraded Suzanne’s priorities you showed your own misplacement of priorities. You stated that you lived in a severely less than adequate “Gypsy Trailer” (with no running water) with your husband and son…why was it not your FIRST priority to provide safe, sufficient, un-cramped housing for your child? I fully understand and agree that all living things need and deserve warm, dry, safe shelter but as parents it is our duty to put our children’s need above all else. You might want to take notice that what Suzanne has done is provide for her children FIRST while still providing adequate shelter for her animals.

    I look forward to everything you post, keep up the great work Suzanne! And THANK YOU for keeping it real! :D

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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." Keep reading our story....






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