Coming around the Curve


The farm is colored so beautifully right now. Autumn is a season of contradiction with its bursting vibrancy against an onslaught of bare limbs. Winter is coming, with all its unknowns–Danger, Will Robinson! And yet it’s not here yet, and there is so much life dancing in wild glory. And for me, it symbolizes a full circle of seasons here, coming back around to the end and the beginning. Every farm begins with a certain amount of naive ambition, as must every farm year–or you wouldn’t have the guts to continue. Fall is a time to see the accomplishment of making it another year, and to gear up to take on the next. The end and the beginning–the circle of challenge, hardship, and joy. Farm life is pure in that way, simple in its complexity.

I took Gwennie for a walk in the pasture, the better to see my autumn. Look who’s waiting for me at the gate! Fascinated by me, yes, she is.

And suspicious.

Matted, too. Yikes, been in a few burrs there, Shortcake?

Somebody needs some stall time for a good grooming. She can hardly wait for that!

The “short” in Shortcake:

Donkeys arrive just as Gwennie and I head through the gate.

Donkeys are scary! Gwennie is terrified of the donkeys. Poky gets it, she really gets it, and so she makes Gwennie’s life a nightmare, stamping at her and kicking back with her hooves. That Poky, she is a naughty one!

She and Jack follow, follow, follow.

Gwennie walks faster, nearly pulling the lead from my hand as we trail along the creekbed and up toward the pasture. No time to enjoy autumn–there are donkeys on our trail!

Whew, luckily donkeys aren’t that dedicated, especially uphill. We rise onto the upper pasture and we’re alone, just Gwennie and I. She’s so relieved. Post-traumatic donkey disorder:

She feels better now.

I would like a tree house here–wouldn’t that be nice? A comfy one, with pillows and a drink. I could stretch out and read and gaze upon my view all day.

I took one of my favorite photos of the farm up here, about a year ago. This one:

I think of it and wonder if I can find that spot again. Here?

No. Here?

I didn’t take a look at the photo before I left the house, so I can’t remember the details enough to get it right, though I think I’m close…..enough. Then I realize that it doesn’t matter because when I look down there now at this farm in autumn splendor, I see my home, my barn, my goats, my sheep, my chickens…. Farther down and beyond the barn, is the field with my cows. And my horses, they are coming, following us up here with those silly donkeys. A year ago, I took a picture of someone else’s farm. Today as I come around the final curve and lean into the first one again, I take a picture of….


(Hurry, Gwennie!)

(The donkeys are coming!)

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on October 17, 2012  

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13 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 10-17


  2. 10-17

    It is beautiful Suzanne. And I will be there to see it in person soon (even if the leaves are all gone from the trees). I am so looking forward to the workshop.

  3. 10-17

    There are a lot of expensive things you can use to make those burrs comb out easily, but I keep WD40 in my tack room. Works great. Use the little straw attachment thing to keep it out of their eyes.

  4. 10-17

    Suzanne, thank you, thank you for letting us share your journey. I look every morning for a wee peek into your continuing adventure. You have accomplished so much in making your little Eden. Long may you reign in your rural realm! I DO hope Gwennie stands up to that Poky though, at some point. We don’ts like bullying!!

  5. 10-17

    I have the urge to print today’s blog and bind it so that I can sit outside in the swing with my 5yr old granddaughter while we read it and discuss the different animals. You definitely need to publish a series of children’s books.

  6. 10-17

    Absolutely beautiful….congratulations on all your accomplishments and thanks for sharing….

  7. 10-17

    I agree with everyone, it is positively gorgeous there! I was so hoping you would post some fall foliage pictures…these are wonderful! Is that Casper in #12 pic?
    Yes you definitely need a tree house up there…or at least a little cabin hideaway for when you need to get away for a while. Perhaps that’s why the bench was in the your field, just to sit on and enjoy the view.

  8. 10-17

    Sorry, didn’t mean to post twice. I was trying to make a correction in the last sentence. :?

  9. 10-17

    I fixed it for ya! And yes, that’s Casper with us.

  10. 10-17

    I’m with Gwennie. Donkeys scare me too!

    Just wanted to tell you how happy I am for you right now! And how amazing you are to do all this basically on your own. No, you do not need a man to help you run this place. You are fine on your own right now. You still have lots of healing to do. And you are doing great on your own, with your guy helpers when you need them. Keep doing what you’re doing, lady!! And enjoy that beautiful WV farm country.

  11. 10-17

    Beautiful farm! How smart is Gwennie that she knows that donkeys are the natural enemies of all canines. That is why we keep them with our goats to kill coyotes here in the South. But they are not safe around any dogs, so please be careful. :no:

    Havana, FL

  12. 10-17

    Your farm is so beautiful and peaceful.This time of year just has to make you feel very …settled.
    Donkeys and mules are cute critters…but they can be a hazard to dogs. My son’s basset was very brave on the safe side of the fence…of course the mule just had to stamp his feet and that lazy dog was gone! Donkeys have been known to stamp a lamb to death…yes be careful. Gwennie is a very smart dog.

  13. 10-18

    Beautiful!! I live in the mountains of east TN and our scenery is breathtaking also. I love reading your blog everyday. I enjoy all of it. I get your humor–danger Will Robinson–cracked me up.

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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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