Stringtown Rising


When I first started looking for property, I didn’t know where it would be, just that I wanted to be here, somewhere, not far from my cousins and the old farmhouse. I didn’t want to live down this road, I knew that. (Hunh.) I’d been down this road many times, from the time I was a little girl, and not much has changed. This two and a half mile road isn’t paved, and it’s icy and barely passable in the winter (and certainly not without a 4WD). There is no mail service. No cell phone service. No school bus. No trash pickup. And, as I have since learned, no local television satellite service. People don’t much like visiting you here, either. I wanted to live somewhere around this road, close to it, just not on it.

Then I saw a listing for a farm on this road. And I couldn’t resist trying to figure out where that piece of property was. Even the real estate agent wasn’t sure. The fact that the sign had been knocked down didn’t help. And what I discovered was that this farm was all the way down this godforsaken road, hemmed in by three creek crossings in one direction and a river ford in the other, directly across the river from my great-grandfather’s old farm, across the road from our old family cemetery, and within a mile of the house where my father grew up and the old cabin where I had spent so many of my childhood summers. Not only that, but my grandmother had lived on this farm in one of the oil company worker houses that once lined the road and she had later taught in the church that doubled as a one-room school house that had once stood on this farm. My father attended that little community church all his life and went to school there to first grade, after which a new school was built across the river.

The property had been for sale for awhile, and next thing I knew, the owners of the property were making offers to me instead of the other way around. They were eager to sell, and I was eager to reclaim the 200 years of my family’s history here. My reasons for not buying property on this road fell away. (Of course, it wasn’t snowing then.)

Stringtown was once a real town with a church, a school, a store, a post office, a hotel, and even a brothel. Few residents remain and Stringtown is no longer a postal address. It’s real boonies territory, rock/dirt roads and a few scattered farmhouses. This 40 acres includes a nice meadow bottom large enough for a pasture and a barn (in my imagination), with a creek that winds along the bottom of the hillside. Halfway up that hill, we built our new farmhouse. We have enough flat (er, sloped) land around the house for a vegetable garden, chicken house, duck pond, and a goat enclosure.

And we have spent a lot of time thinking about what to name our farm. The reporter who did the story on my blog for the Charleston Daily Mail referred to me during the interview as a modern-day back-to-the-lander. Back-to-the-land was a 70s social phenomenon of people moving from cities to rural areas seeking more self-sustainable lifestyles. (I had to look that up.) I actually think that is happening right now, that there is a new movement of back-to-the-landers, people who are ready to leave their iPhones behind and get some chickens. I know, at least, that I see the interest in it every day, in comments on my blog, in emails, and in the rise of homesteading communities on the internet. And maybe Stringtown will rise again.

And when it does, Coco will be your Mayor, your fearless leader, your girl with her finger on the nuclear button. She ran a vigorous campaign for this top spot, doling out Snausages to voters and, some claimed, accepting belly rubs from lobbyists.

Clover will be your Minister of Hospitality, doing her udder best to assist you. “As long,” she stated in one interview, “as you do not try to touch my udder.”

Dookie, long the detached observer of farm events, will be the Town Historian. He’s well-known already in literary circles for his Small Memoir of a Small Dog. “Coco got all the attention,” he wrote. “The End.”

Spartacus of course, will be your Sheriff. (Prepare to die.)

And so the name of our farm is Stringtown Rising Farm. I, along with Coco, Clover, Dookie, and Spartacus, await your arrival to populate our abandoned town and give us somebody to boss around.

We’ll leave the light on for you.

You know, if the power’s not out. (That happens a lot.)

P.S. Want a job in our new Stringtown? Everything else is available! First come, first served! Pick your job!

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on July 31, 2008  

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85 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 7-31

    Can I be the town librarian? Every town HAS to have a library. I will even provide some of the books!

  2. 7-31

    I wanna be Spartacus’ deputy.

  3. 7-31

    I want to be the artist-in-residence. There are so many beautiful places and things to sketch and paint.

  4. 7-31

    Love the name Suzanne! You already have the job I wanted as Director of Development and Public Relations, but if you need an Administrative Assistant, give a holler!

  5. 7-31

    Hooray for Springtown Rising Farm. I’ll be content to come and visit on occasions and enjoy all your stories. You have a very, very special place.

  6. 7-31

    That just shows that you Never say Never! :flying:

  7. 7-31

    Well, I see town librarian is already taken. So, can I be the postmistress, please? Can I, huh? Huh? I’m nosy enough to sort the mail and see who’s getting how much mail from whom. Oh yeah, I will actually deliver it too. :rotfl:

  8. 7-31

    Stringtown story time.
    My grandpa was working for the state road, and they were mowing the burms and road sides off. And this is back in the day when this was done by one guy on a tractor alone.
    He’d been going strong all morning, and he thought when he got to Stringtown he’d stop and get himself something to drink.
    Before he knew it, it was nearly 5pm.
    He’d gone right on threw Stringtown without even realizing it!

    So hopefully when it rises you know..there will be coke machines. ;-)

  9. 7-31

    LOL, Blaze! Well, if somebody from the state road would come out here now, I’d give them something to drink!!!!! I’d be excited to see them…. I might never let them leave! Our road needs some attention.

  10. 7-31

    :butterfly: I love the name, Suzanne. I get first pick to run the Stringtown Equestrian Center and Resort. We will have trail-riding through the gorgeous countryside, as well as lessons on the finest thoroughbreds, and have a fabulous spa for relaxation. Of course there will be a 5-star restaurant on the premises, featuring “Grandmother bread.”
    Have a great day! :treehugger:

  11. 7-31

    I will open up the town thrift shop and antique store with an old fashioned lunch counter and ice cream parlor in the front with lots of windows to see out on the town.

    WRITE A CHILDRENS BOOK – or some book about your family histgory – it is too wonderful not to.

  12. 7-31

    I love the name. :) I want to help feed the animals.

  13. 7-31

    Hi Suzanne:
    I am a first timer–blogger that is!! Had to write and say be careful of what you wish.. We own 100 acres outside an Ozark city and the move is on to pave paradise and put up a parking lot.. My husband and I have lived on this farm for years and never thought we would see urban development in the guise of industrial wasteland take over, but it’s now knocking at the door. Love reading your blog everyday and think you are having lots of fun on your farm too. :treehugger:

  14. 7-31

    I like the name. I’ll run the bookstore where your books will be prominently featured.

  15. 7-31

    I’ll run the Stringtown Cafe, gathering place for gossip. belly buster breakfasts and lunches with a country flair!

  16. 7-31

    Love the name of your farm! Well, the bookstore is already taken so I’ll own the Stringtown Diner and make really yummy food. Can I use some of your recipes?!!!

  17. 7-31

    I’d like to be Dooky’s assistant historian. I love all things old and hearing the stories of the past.

  18. 7-31

    Oops, while I was writing, someone beat me to the punch!
    How about having a Stringtown Center for the Arts?

  19. 7-31

    I would love to be the Stringtown Treasurer of Good Wishes. I wish I had a farm, I wish I had chickens. I wish I had goats. I wish I had cute freckles like Coco. I wish I had ornamental cows. I wish I lived in the middle of nowhere….I wish…wish…..

  20. 7-31

    I will be the one sitting on a bench watching everyone go by and commenting on their activities. This is not an easy job but someone has to do it so it might as well be me. I am sad to say , I’m not qualified to do other jobs. Of course, I could be the telephone operator as that is what I’m trained to be. So either job works for me. Have a great day and hugs to all.

  21. 7-31

    I’ll run the local cafe/tea room/tavern.

  22. 7-31

    I’ll be the interfering busy-body who knows all about whose kids are “hanging out” down by the creek and what Pastor Wilcox is doing visiting Widow Bradberry every Thursday.

    And who says chickens and iPhones are mutually exclusive?

  23. 7-31


    when can we all move in???

  24. 7-31

    Although you do a fine job of baking bread (and other goodies)I’ll open a little cake shop so that all the residents can have expertly decorated birthday and wedding cakes, with sugar flowers and fondant lace.

  25. 7-31

    Although I have never run one, I would have to have a pizza parlor as I love to have my pizza. I would hopefully get to meet a lot of the people that way and enjoy one of my favorite foods.

  26. 7-31

    Can I run the local community theatre? We will put on cheezy but touching productions of Steel Magnolias and Barefoot in the Park. Everyone will over-act and often address the dialogue to the audience instead of the person they are actually talking to. It will be FANTASTIC.

  27. 7-31

    I thought for sure you would name it Hummingbird Hill, but Stringtown Rising is good too.

  28. 7-31

    I believe that those are Virginia Bluebells. There are bunches of them in our meadow in the spring and I love them!! (I’m not a wildflower expert, though. But that’s what other people told me when I asked about them.)

  29. 7-31

    Molly, thank you for taking the theatre job! I was torn between that and being the schoolmarm.

    I will be the teacher. I will help the children discover their world. We will work together to learn and play and grow.

  30. 7-31

    Tell Coco he has my vote for Mayor-he doesn’t even need to give me a Snausage!

    Also, if I could convince my husaband to move AND we could figure out a way of generating income, I would be there in a snap! Really. I would much prefer to raise my kids there than in “suburbia”. Not that there are challenges anywhere, but I would bet that wearing the latest Hollister or Aeropostale shirt is not on anyone’s mind! :cowsleep:

    I actually wanted to do this “back to the land” stuff in the 70’s too……maybe I married the wrong guy for this lifestyle! :love:


  31. 7-31

    …oops…that should read “not that there AREN”T challenges everywhere” Why is it I see the typos only AFTER I have posted? :mrgreen:

  32. 7-31

    I want to live there….I have talents…I can do stuff, too. I could run the general mercantile!

  33. 7-31

    I want to be the Governess and migrant worker! Governess, so I can supervise the children and house, when the Queen is busy – and help out and WATCH THE QUEEN making all her deliscious baked and canned goods – all the wonderful culinary meals and then eat with the family! (ha). I want ot be the migrant worker and pick the vegies and the fruit and gather eggs! That all sounds like so much fun. Then, I want to have an admirer (maybe a friend of 52’s) to come around and be my suitor. I can dream, can’t I? I mean afterall, my husband has a dating life, most of the time! Fair is fair. That way I can sit on the porch and relax, in the evening, after all my hard work and smell all the pies, on the pie porch! Envy ME!
    That Coco is so adorable! Too bad I cannot reach through the screen and hug that pup!!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  34. 7-31

    I will be the local herbalist/naturalist/ home remedy lady.
    MY cottage will be small and simple located near one of the creeks. I shall wander the countryside gathering ingredients for all that ails you.
    I’m open for buisness!

  35. 7-31

    oh, and I LOVE the picture look up the hill at your house! BTW, I can also be the resident makeup artist, to Princess and all the women in town, because I LOVE makeup.

  36. 7-31

    I would gladly be the town fool! Every town needs a fool!

  37. 7-31

    I love the name and I love your blog…

  38. 7-31

    In rural areas all the women make their own clothes, aprons, curtains and quilts, right? Since I love to do those things, I will open a quilting/fabric store. You have to have somewhere to get your piece goods after you’ve used up all the flour sacks, right?

  39. 7-31

    Could I be the Official Kisser Upper To The Mayor? I would hug her and kiss her and scratch her tummie and … and… whatEVER her wants me to do!

  40. 7-31

    Love the name. Good choice! I also enjoyed the newspaper article (can’t remember if I had told you that on the other post w/the link).

    I don’t know how you do all that things you do. Yep…going “back to the land” is a happening up here in our rural Ohio county. That is a dream of ours, too…but FOR NOW we are in a rural little town (actually it’s so little it’s a ‘village’) and getting by w/a little kitchen garden. We are, however, right on the edge of the town limits and have one of the largest lots “in town,” so we’re happy about that.

    Blessings from Ohio… :chicken:

  41. 7-31

    I would like to apply to be the town jeweler. Hey the townsfolk will need wedding rings and such right?

    I love the new farm name. I hope to come to your neck of the woods some day and see the beauty with my own eyes.

  42. 7-31

    I would like to apply for the position of healing pracitioner. I do Reiki, reflexology and numerous other metaphysical/energy healing work. My best friend will be Itsme in WI because we’ll be referring people to each other for treatment and remedies.
    The Stringtown Renaissance seems to be shaping up quite nicely. Can’t wait to meet y’all.
    hugs from PA

  43. 7-31

    Love the name. I think that you are absolutely right. We do want to get back to the land. I think a lot of people are sick of having to be reliant on someone else for EVERYTHING. Our jobs or money, our food, our clothing, our housing. It feels nice to have a little self-reliance again. I don’t know the official title, but I’d head up the community get togethers. I could make sure the food and drinks get provided. Have music and dancing. I could even teach Belly dance lessons once a week, for when people get a little homesick for the city and gyms.

  44. 7-31

    :hungry: I would like to apply as the official “Town Taster”….mmmmmm Grandma’s Bread…..pies, jams, jellies….goat cheese!!!! I will do it for free.

  45. 7-31

    Love the name! I will help Kathryn with the teaching, and I will be bringing my Brit Spaniel, he can help out Spartecus I’m sure. My paint horse will fit right in with the Equestrian center and “King” my german shepard, well….he will be be good with herding the goats up when they’re needed. Various cats and kittens will be tagging along too, if no one minds.

  46. 7-31

    No, no, no!!! I’m too late! I read your offer of a job, immediately jumped to comments to submit my request to be the librarian, and dadgummit -Kathleen in MI beat me to it!! Oh, well, she wrote at 6:01 am and, since I’m rarely up before 9 or 9:30, I’m probably not suited for farm life. My Calico cat, Emma, would most certainly disdain the farm animals, even though I’d love to have a goat. I’ll probably be close to you next week when I visit a friend on a farm in Fairview, WV.

  47. 7-31

    Can I be the official sculptor of Stringtown Rising? I’d love to erect fabulous statues and busts of our…dignified dignitaries. :-)

  48. 7-31

    Hi There!

    Love your site. Came here looking for a pizza dough recipe and stayed a VERY long time… I dream daily of living on a farm – growing lots of beautiful veggies and raising super silly animals…

    Must get back to the kids now.

  49. 7-31

    Excellent name!!!! I love it!!! :treehugger:
    I will run the Creamery!!! Clover, and company, will provide the milk, and the Creamery will make it into all those delectable morsels!!!! Now I’m hungry….mozzarella, string, chevre or feta?? Start another batch of Grandmother’s Bread….the cream cheese will be ready in a few hours…. :mrgreen:

  50. 7-31

    I would love to move to Stringtown Rising. I would like the job of Activities Director. I would propose that the activities include: Porch Sitting, Rocking Chair Reminiscing, Goat Watching, Cat Stroking, Dog Petting and General Visiting. Other seasonal activities will include: Corn Shucking, Pea Shelling, Bean Snapping, Nut Cracking, Fruit Picking and Wool Carding, all coordinated with Small Group Visiting. Quilting Bees and Community Potlucks will be regularly scheduled. I will wait to hear from you.

  51. 7-31

    Well, I guess I’ll have to head up the town brothel. I’ll be using the “Be a Ho” career track training manual, by Eddie Murphy.

    There’s an opening for a Saloon Manager downstairs. Any takers? :rotfl: :whip:

  52. 7-31

    I’d be the town pacifier/moderator. *G* I’m a good listener, and fair. *G*
    Love the name of your farm!

  53. 7-31

    Coco looks like she’d be right at home with one of my cats–stretched out in the sun and getting “belly rubs” all the time! :)

  54. 7-31

    How about a Drive in Movie. I could run that. What does the name Stringtown refer to? Someones name or what. I grew up in Firestone. It was an old coal mining town. No drive in there, hee hee.

  55. 7-31

    The name Stringtown refers to the strings of pipe used in gas and oil production. Stringtown was a gas and oil boomtown (which is why it came…and went…as a town). I wrote a post, with photos, a while back about the old derrick we have on our hill, which is pretty neat. You can see it here.

  56. 7-31

    I’m puttng in for the job of Taxi Driver, and Georgia can be my dispatcher. I don’t think I’d get too lost with Georgia on the radio!

  57. 7-31

    Rats! All the good jobs are already taken!!! Oh, wait! I’ll be the local genealogist!

  58. 7-31

    Love the name!

  59. 7-31

    Springtown Rising Farm is the perfect name! I’ll be the town drunk even though I don’t drink! :lol:

  60. 7-31

    Although you have request for natural healers you will still need a doctor so I will sign up to do their billing.

  61. 7-31

    I will be the local winery owner and will make libations from only locally grown produce. So someone with more knowledge than I will have to grow apples, grapes, and other fruits. Would someone be a glass blower and make my bottles?

  62. 7-31

    I love the story, and the winding road. It reminds me of one I lived down as a child. Had to walk a mile one way to get to where I could get a ride. I’d like to pick flowers and arrange them freshly throughout the house. During the winter, I could be a good listener. :heart:

  63. 7-31

    I will run the local greenhouse, and in the summer run and fruit and vegetable stand.

  64. 7-31

    LOL so much for checking for typos before I posted!

  65. 7-31

    I could also be a dental assistant in town…everyone will need dental work at some time or other! :mrgreen:

  66. 7-31

    :catmeow: Your life sounds wonderful! And Coco does make the offer tempting!! We recently built a log cabin in the woods – our vacation home for now – not too remote but I long for the day when we can permanently be there – a simple life – grow a big garden – and maybe get a chicken!

  67. 7-31

    I love the name and the history behind it. How about I be a Jack of all Trades and I’ll help out anyone that needs a second pair of hands!

  68. 8-1

    I will run the towns barber/beauty shop. Someone has to spread the gossip.

  69. 8-1

    Love the name! It’s so neat to see how your dreams have progressed. It’s wonderful that you’ve been so willing to share your journey with all of us. I’ll take any job left; I’m not really picky. Anything to get us moved there. :yes:

  70. 8-1

    Dang it Suzanne! I wish you hadn’t done this post. My mom and I live in AZ and she is DYING to live where you live. She talks about it all the time, the trees,the grass, yada yada. How much she misses WV. We lived there in Sheperdstown for 8 years.

    Now I’m NEVER going to hear the end of it!!! She’ll be as soon as she reads this. I personally do not want to pack up 2 houses, 14 horses, 14 dogs and 5 cats and move across the country.

    Sigh… thanks. Thanks a lot!

    (Mom if you read this – NOOOOOO!!!!)

  71. 8-1

    while you are giving jobs away in stringtown i want to be the king of when everyone goes fishing in pocy river i can be the master baiter

  72. 8-1

    :talktothehand: :talktothehand: :birthday1: :birthday1: :cowsleep: :biggrin: :mrgreen: :shimmy: :friday: :elephant: :snoopy: :bananadance: :flying: :hissyfit: :heart: :shocked: :drowning: :fan: :sheep: Hi, Suzanne, It’s Maddy. If I lived there, I would own a million bees, and be the beekeeper of Stringtown. I’m eight years old and I’m crazy about horses. Maddy :butterfly: :drowning: :typing: :shimmy:

  73. 8-1

    I call local house building….. guy…. person…. anyways, lots of colonial architecture for all!! with a generous dosage of Post Modern elements as well. and just because the emodicon made me laugh so hard i almost cried when i saw it :friday: …. freaking awesome.

  74. 8-1

    Ok, I thought of a job…not for me but for the reluctant hubby……mechanic! He can repair cars, which would seem to me like a basic service that your going to need there in Stringtown Rising! :guitar:

  75. 8-1

    Forgot to say earlier…you should write about someone in one of your books who lives on “Stringtown Rising Farm”.
    :chicken: :sheep: :cowsleep: :typing:

    Blessings from Ohio…

  76. 8-1

    I would like to be Coco’s personal assistant. I would be ready to give belly rubs at a moments notice! If that job is already taken, I would like to be the “check-out” lady at the mom and pop grocery store. I will wear my dangly earrings, chew plenty of gum and read the magazines before returning them to the rack. This is the only grocery store with only one check-out lane, so I would also be the town gossip!!

  77. 8-1

    All the jobs that I could think of are taken. I’ll volunteer to be a farm assistant helping to plant and harvest plus gathering eggs and milking the vast herd of goats that you will be accumulating. I’ll throw in some belly rubs for dogs and cats for free.

  78. 8-1

    It sounds heavenly! I’ll take any job that’s left, so long as I’m there! :shimmy:

  79. 8-1

    Every small town needs a gift shop…the place to go for that special little something for someone special! Gifts, decor for the home, oh my….I’d have so much fun!!

  80. 8-1

    I would like to apply for the positon of Editor in Chief of the Stringtown Rising Farm Newspaper. xxoo

  81. 8-1

    Suzanne, you came home. Congratulations and welcome. You know where you’re from, who you are and where you’re going to stay. That’s what matters in life.

  82. 8-6

    Great article that was written about you. I would like to apply for the position of Chief Chicken Patrol…feeding, caring for, and raising healthy happy chickens.

  83. 8-6

    I would also enjoy being your online marketing coach.

  84. 12-19

    Simply charming! You really should turn this blog into a book – it is so interesting.

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