The Farmhouse Year in Review 2013


The big stories of the year!


Come milking with me!

Glory Bee had a baby in December, and I was milking again! After a long hiatus, it was good to get back into the routine and my bad baby all grown up showed me she was a very good milk cow. There’s something special about a milk cow that you’ve raised from birth, a depth to the relationship that adds an extra layer of wonder. Cows continue to fascinate me like no other animals on the farm. Also on my mind was my book due to come out in October. There was a food photo shoot on the farm in preparation. I’ve never baked so many things in one day in my life!


Chloe gives birth for the second time. Okay, she was just a very eager attendant. Or something. First, Sprite gave birth to my precious, Maia, and abandoned her to be a bottle baby.
Then Fanta, and eventually Nutmeg, who was an over-achiever with triplets. Goat babies galore! It was a fun month.


I went absolutely crazy for maple syrup and a tree even tried to kill me. I’m not making that up!
This obsession actually started in February, when the sap began to run, and continued into early March. (See how to make maple syrup here.) And, after more photo re-takes than my chickens enjoyed, the photo was finally taken that made the cover of my book. EVERYONE WAS SO RELIEVED. Especially the chickens.


The spring brought fencing lessons as I tackled my latest project in learning to manage a farm more on my own.
I also brought home four new sheep, and took one of them to the butcher, as I continued to consider my plans for the farm. The farm woke up from what had really been another very light winter here, and I prepared for a slate of workshops in my health department-approved kitchen.


Glory Bee has a boyfriend!
The new mister arrived for a three-month rendezvous. And looking back, I realize I developed a strange short-term interest in cottage cheese and cling peaches. Sometimes I wonder about myself.


Glory Bee isn’t the only one in love!
Ross and his high school girlfriend get engaged and we start planning a wedding on the farm. (This fall!)

No matter how much I enjoy my cow and new calf, Maia truly becomes the farm animal of the year as she takes over my heart day by day all summer, breezing into the house through the cat door, rocking on the porch in my chairs, following me to the mailbox, and taking walks with me and the dogs. I spoil her rotten, and give up on ever telling her that she’s a goat.


I took a trip to Texas to pick up Morgan after her summer visit and help her drive home her new (old) car, ready to start her senior year of high school. How is this possible?
Also at this point, I’m ready to send home Glory Bee’s mister and start wondering if she’s pregnant.

I’m also facing decisions about my old cow, Beulah Petunia. As summer runs toward fall, I know I can’t let things go on as they are forever. For her own good, I know I need to put her down before winter. I hesitate, not yet ready….


My old donkey Jack goes missing.
I knew Jack would never leave his Poky, and sadly, I turn out to be right. Jack passed away. (I don’t know what happened or why. He was an older donkey. Either he had a heart attack, or he fell, the evidence wasn’t clear.)

Living with livestock means eventually you will have deadstock. It never gets any easier, yet is still a price worth paying for the amazing gift that they are.

Photo from a booksigning at Taylor Books in Charleston. My book is finally on the shelves! You can find out everything you ever (or never) wanted to know about my book here, including how to buy it. It is my 27th book, and the one of which I am most proud. Thank you so much to so many of you who bought it, read it, and told me so.


I decide to learn to hunt deer. Even I think this is a strange new adventure, but then that just makes it that much more of an adventure!
Ultimately, I never got my own deer, but I did learn to field dress when my neighbor offers to give me one-on-one guidance with one of his deer. It’s disgusting, yet somehow exciting!

And as it turns out, I have to say goodbye to BP before I’m ready.


I have a calendar!

You can find out more about the calendar and how to get one here.

2013 was quite a year here. It was a year of changes for me, of putting a bit more emphasis on my personal life, and of the culmination of a dream with the release of my memoir about my experiences in farming and country living. I learned a lot, I stretched my wings, and most of all, I got through it alive and always full of excitement for the future. Every year is a new opportunity, a new challenge, and a new page to write fresh. I don’t know what 2014 has in store yet. Come with me?

And P.S. Glory Bee is bred, so I’ve got a new calf coming!

Go back in time:
The Farmhouse Year in Review 2012
The Farmhouse Year in Review 2011
The Farmhouse Year in Review 2010
The Farmhouse Year in Review 2009
The Farmhouse Year in Review 2008
The Farmhouse Year in Review 2007

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on January 6, 2014  

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6 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 1-6

    Love you, Suzanne! Glad the farm report is good for 2013. Here’s to new experiences and more fun in 2014!

  2. 1-6

    It soon will be a year that I have been reading Chickens in the Road. Thank you for sharing the wonderful life you have created on your farm. I’m looking forward to all the interesting stories that 2014 will bring. Happy New Year to you and your family.

  3. 1-6

    Sometimes (more than not) I find myself not believing I have been reading your blog for 4 years. It has been pretty exciting and still I wonder what is around the next corner. Will it be more of the same or will it be all new experiences. Either way I can still watch yo and read your blog and books and compare your life to mine. Not that that is important, but in reality I have only been farming as an adult for 7 years. Why did I wait until I was almost 60 to start over? Lord only knows. But you inspire me as well as some others I read and I just keep going and enjoying reading your life and working mine. Love you LOTS and Happy New Year to everyone near and far.

  4. 1-7

    Suzanne–how about an animal update? Dogs OK? You had a bunch of cats, did they transition into barn cats or do you still have a few house cats? Any decision about Poky? How are the horses doing? Are you still riding regularly? Now that the new year has begun do you have a plan for this year at the farm?

  5. 1-8

    Happy New Year, Suzanne and everyone.
    Yes, please update us on your animals. Will you get another donkey? How are the horses? Crooked little hen? Etc.
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. 2-7

    What happened to planning a fall wedding? And wasn’t there a grandbaby on the way? I’ve been away a while so must have missed it.


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