Suzanne McMinn, a former romance writer and founder of the popular blog chickensintheroad.com, shares the story of her search to lead a life of ordinary splendor in Chickens in the Road, her inspiring and funny memoir.
Craving a life that would connect her to the earth and her family roots, McMinn packed up her three kids, left her husband and her sterile suburban existence behind, and moved to rural West Virginia. Amid the rough landscape and beauty of this rural mountain country, she pursues a natural lifestyle filled with chickens, goats, sheep—and no pizza delivery.
With her new life comes an unexpected new love—"52," a man as beguiling and enigmatic as his nickname—a turbulent romance that reminds her that peace and fulfillment can be found in the wake of heartbreak. Coping with formidable challenges, including raising a trio of teenagers, milking stubborn cows, being snowed in with no heat, and making her own butter, McMinn realizes that she’s living a forty-something’s coming-of-age story.
As she dares to become self-reliant and embrace her independence, she reminds us that life is a bold adventure—if we’re willing to live it.
Chickens in the Road includes more than 20 recipes, craft projects, and McMinn’s photography, and features a special two-color design.
A romance writer propelled by divorce to change her bearings radically found her road to self-realization much rockier than she imagined, but ultimately very satisfying. With relatives in rural Roane County, W.Va., where her father grew up, McMinn hit on the harebrained scheme to haul her three teenagers, aged 10, 13, and 15, to live in Walton in order to be exposed to the virtues of having no paved road, no Internet access, no public water source, and no school bus, among other no-frills. After settling in at her family's house for two years, McMinn met a suitable man, called "52," who was an amenable handyman and also seemed to want to take care of her; some time after, the two purchased a farm and built on it a house, Stringtown Rising. Except 52 had emotional problems, and despite the author's back-breaking labor to take on animals like chickens, goats, cows, and pigs, and her writing a glowing blog about it all, she grew increasingly vulnerable to 52's sniping. Although she had put her all into the Stringtown farm, as she delineates in her heart-on-her-sleeve, nutty narrative, she had to face the necessity for her own self-sufficiency, and found another farm close by that she could call her own and that even had amenities like a barn and electricity. As McMinn demonstrates in this enjoyable memoir, she learned by trial and error how to do everything from scratch, and offers Jelly") and DIY ("How to Make Laundry Soap") at the back.
I love this book!
I bought the hardback copy AND the iPhone edition. The story is compelling and takes us on an incredible journey of a woman going from suburbia to running a working farm. We get to follow along from the first hatching chick to milking her own cow! There are recipes in the back along with instructions for making soap to candles. Suzanne is the real deal and I loved being along for the ride.