Chickens are actually In The Road
February 2, 2012 2:13 PM   Subscribe

Former romance writer & city girl Suzanne McMinn blogs at Chickens in the Road, a non-fancy, non-Martha Stewartish, realistic look into the simple, often vanishing, life of rural America in the country outside one tiny town in the Appalachian foothills. She posts daily, chronicling her photography, stories, recipes, crafts, and sentimental thoughts on the history, people, life, and beauty of rural Appalachia. Her stated goal: to connect people with their food again--hands on, hands in, the old-fashioned way. (And she even managed to get financial compensation when a photo she took of her goats was used in a print publication without attribution.)
posted by BlahLaLa (7 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
It's sentimental. It's un-ironic. As as city girl I should be conditioned to hate Chickens in the Road, but instead I love it and her. I keep reading, even though I suppose I'll never have a cow or goat of my own, or know what it's like to have to milk that cow in freezing weather, or deal with a pasture full of mud for weeks at a time.
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:17 PM on February 2, 2012

I've read all the Little House books as an adult, and I was astounded about how much work went into surviving on a farm. I wondered why anyone would ever do it, even now when there are modern methods for some of the daily tasks (modern plumbing, electricity, and gas-powered devices and vehicles were huge). Then reading The Little House Sampler, Laura and her neighbors comment on life in the city compared to life in the country, as the country becomes modernized, with roads and cars. In short, farm life is hard, but you're living where people from the city go to retire.

In the same vein as Chickens in the Road, a college class-mate of mine lives on a small farm, and went a year without going to a grocery store, living off of her farm and other farms in the area. There's nostalgia for Simpler Times, but they were never actually simpler. Folks like these who share their lives make the world of the Little House seem less distant, and realistic. Thanks for sharing this.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:42 PM on February 2, 2012

There's nostalgia for Simpler Times, but they were never actually simpler.

I had no idea that keeping chickens can involve stuffing them in a garbage bag with mite dust and shaking well, followed by rubbing Vaseline on their legs.
posted by longsleeves at 2:59 PM on February 2, 2012

It IS simpler, in a way. Don't get me wrong- it's not easier. My parents were back-to-the-landers and I am happily white collar and urban, and hope to stay that way. If I never have to depend on my gardening powers, the weather, and my lower back's stamina to survive, it will be too soon.

However- it is nice when your hands produce what you need. You can see, touch, taste, feel the results of your work. Your work is meaningful in a very tangible way that pushing pixels is not. There is very little about farm work that is abstract.

My desk work is meaningful, or so I have convinced myself, but it is several degrees of separation and several leaps of faith between my fingers on the keyboard and any good done for the world.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:04 PM on February 2, 2012

My grandpa kept chickens. One time I was in the henhouse, checking out the chickens (like ya do) and then there were chicken mites crawling up my hands in droves.

I ran out of there crying, thinking I was going to get some sort of chicken lice infestation.

Simpler times at Grampa's house included tying dead roosters to the dogs neck (that'll learn 'em, apparently) and one time being so furious at his cracked out hens that he gutted the henhouse of all the eggs and hurled them into the dooryard.

The hens had been crowding 2-3 into their boxes (even though there were plenty of empties) and were all laying in the same box together. Everyone was happy until the chicks hatched and then they took turns fighting over them, often pecking them to death. Grampa showed them.

Ahh, the good ole days.
posted by Momorama at 4:12 PM on February 2, 2012

Ah, another slick, romantic blog about the country life. I guess a bit more authentic (considering the history retold) than The Pioneer Woman who makes a million a year from ad revenue, according to the The New Yorker.
posted by songdogtech at 5:24 PM on February 2, 2012

@Songdogtech - really? I find Chickens in the Road to be the polar opposite of The Pioneer Woman. She's totally unslick and she's doing it all on her own -- her goal, for instance, of managing to build a animal barn out of used pallets is not quite equal to The Pioneer Woman's entire separate house for parties and cooking show shoots.
posted by BlahLaLa at 5:49 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

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