Hit by a Farm: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barn


Farms have fences. People have boundaries. Mine began crumbling the day I knelt behind a male sheep, reached between his legs, and squeezed his testicles. This took place one blustery November day when I joined other shepherd-wannabees for a class on the basics of raising sheep. I was there with my partner Melissa, the woman I'd lived with for twelve years, because we were going to start a farm . When self-confessed "urban bookworm" Catherine Friend's partner of twelve years decides she wants to fulfill her ...

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Farms have fences. People have boundaries. Mine began crumbling the day I knelt behind a male sheep, reached between his legs, and squeezed his testicles. This took place one blustery November day when I joined other shepherd-wannabees for a class on the basics of raising sheep. I was there with my partner Melissa, the woman I'd lived with for twelve years, because we were going to start a farm . When self-confessed "urban bookworm" Catherine Friend's partner of twelve years decides she wants to fulfill her lifelong dream of owning a farm, Catherine agrees. What ensues is a crash course in both living off and with the land that ultimately allows Catherine to help fulfill Melissa's dreams while not losing sight of her own. Hit by a Farm is a hilarious recounting of Catherine and Melissa's trials of "getting back to the land." It is also a coming-of (middle)-age story of a woman trying to cross the divide between who she is and who she wants to be, and the story of a couple who say "goodbye city life" — and learn more than they ever bargained for about love, land, and yes, sheep sex.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Children's author Friend and her partner Melissa purchase a farm in Minnesota, filling it with chickens, goats, sheep, and a host of successes and failures. (LJ 4/1/06)
Library Journal
Migration from farm to city has been the norm for decades, but now and then an urbanite has a dream to become a farmer. When Melissa, the longtime partner of children's book author Friend, inherited some money, she wanted to buy a farm in Minnesota. Friend agreed-though neither woman had farmed before-assuming that she would spend her time writing while Melissa raised animals and grew grapes. What she didn't envision was that Melissa would draw her into all of the farming projects and drag her from one minicrisis to the next. The author tries hard to be humorous about their misadventures, but the result is often awkward. True, the situations are sometimes ludicrous, as when the two feminists physically restrain a very unwilling female goat while a male goat, "loopy with lust, flung himself on her and began thrusting." But throughout, Friend whines and worries. Only after she considers leaving does she realize that staying on the farm will work as long as Melissa does the farming herself so that Friend can pursue her own interests. Although some books, like Betty MacDonald's classic The Egg and I and Michael Korda's Country Matters, can transform the woes of farming and rural life into entertaining, sparkling tales, this one lacks such charm. An optional purchase for public libraries.-Ilse Heidmann, Washington State Lib., Olympia Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Audio
In Catherine Friend’s memoir, she and life partner Melissa Peteler decide to live out the latter’s longtime dream and become farmers in Minnesota. While Peteler has some experience with animals, Friend has almost none. Nevertheless, the pair buys a farm, a pickup truck, and more than 50 lambs for breeding. And as they attempt to “get back to the land,” their often hilarious trails and tribulations begin. Friend’s narration is entertaining and workmanlike, but at times she sounds as if she’s reading to a group of school children. And this solemn but upbeat delivery isn’t always appropriate. Nonetheless, Friend’s enunciation is crystal clear and her pacing is perfect. A De Capo paperback. (May)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569242988
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 335,180
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Friend lives on a farm with her partner in Minnesota. A children’s book author, Friend is also at work on an adult novel.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Romancing the farm 1
Touching Testicles 3
Hooked on Romance 7
Goodbye, City Life 12
Baby on Our Doorstep 18
Wild Hairs 23
Even My Bra Was More Supportive 30
A Paper Farm 34
Shepherds at Last 42
Wild Woolies 46
Can't Fit into My Grandma's Genes 51
Chicken Run 54
Menage a Trois 58
A Grape Disaster 60
Read the Directions, Dummy 64
A Shocking Story 68
To Market, to Market 72
Oops 76
Finding Our Way in the Dark 82
Chicken Sex 86
At Long Last, Sheep Sex 88
Part 2 Hit by a farm 95
What Could Possibly Go Wrong? 97
Dancing with Goats in the Moonlight 101
Time to Take It Off (The Wool, That Is) 103
In the Bedroom 108
Ready or Not, Here They Come 111
The First Bad Day 115
Ear Tags and Little Rubber Bands 117
Another Bad Day, but Who's Counting? 120
Searching for Placenta by Moonlight 125
High Anxiety 128
Having Fun Yet? 132
Lying through My Teeth 137
Serge and Sonny 141
Let's Just Forget This Ever Happened 145
Meeting My Meat 148
Sexing Brenda 154
Lambing: The Dreaded Sequel 157
The Goat Queen 161
Drowning in Dreams 164
Coyotes and Paper Plates 168
The Sixteen-inch Llama 173
The Only Good Goose Is a Dead Goose 177
If It's in a Book, It Must Be True 181
Mermaid Dreams 185
Ducks and Tattoos 189
Small Losses 192
Lesbians and Straight Lines 195
Nature's Sentimental Journey 198
Part 3 The tattoo of transformation, sort of... 203
More Loss 205
Shadowboxing 213
I Build a Fence 217
Ruby Jumps Over the Fence 223
Back in the Saddle Again 228
Epilogue: Still Crazy After All These Years 234
Acknowledgments 239
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    Laughed so hard at truth about farm life!

    Having grown up on sheep farm (along with all kinds of other animals), I enjoyed this book as it reminded me of all the funny, frustrating, and somrtmes gross things a farmer needs to go through to make our food. Farmers are under appreciated for all their hard work. There were so many things I laughed about (until I cried) - checking rams privates for one. But also remembering some sad realities of farm life, too (having to eat own animals otherwise you wouldn't be able to afford meat). Even though I loved it because I could relate to the stories, someone who does not have a farm background would find it very entertaining and learn a lot about farming in the process! A definite must read for any city girl who is thinking about marrying a farmer! Or anyone without farm experience who is thinking about farming.

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  • Posted September 25, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Very Funny and Heartwarming!

    This book was recommended in the back of Jenna Woginrich's book Made from Scratch (great also) so I bought it--very glad I did! I'm a city girl yearning to live on a farm, so this book really spoke to me. Catherine is a great writer and I'm so glad that she decided to tell the story of their life on the farm. For anyone dreaming of living on a farm, this is a must read! For everyone else, it's a great story and it will make you laugh and cry. Wonderful!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2008

    funny and educational

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I'm an urbanite dreaming of farming and love to read about people who have made this type of change. Most books are not all that interesting and certainly not as humorous as this book. I also learned quite a bit about sheep farming. My son also like Catherine Friend's children's book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2007

    Midwest Book Review: March 2007

    No one was more surprised than Catherine Friend when her long-time partner informed her that she'd always dreamed of being a farmer. Early on in this hilarious memoir, the author writes, 'Farming had never been my dream. My dream was to grow my writing career into something I could call 'successful,' whatever that was. I'd already sold two children's books and a handful of magazine stories. I was hungry for more' (p. 6).####### But Melissa's dream had merit, and Catherine believed she could help the dream come true. And so, 'The classic face of farming in Grant Wood's American Gothic was about to get a facelift: two thirty-something women in bib overalls holding pitchforks' (p. 6).####### Devoting a great deal of time, energy, and work to their project, the two women researched farming, bought land in southern Minnesota, built a house, and settled in to raise sheep, chickens, and grapes for wine. Apparently that was the easy part. From auspicious beginnings, the road they embark upon is filled with a learning curve so steep that shoveling manure and mucking horse stalls might have been easier. While Melissa's dream ascended, the livestock, crops, and natural disasters seem to conspire to make Catherine's life miserable. Living off the land wasn't at all the romantic idyll so often put forth.####### By turns hilarious and sobering, touching and surprising, Catherine Friend's memoir tells the tale of two thirty-somethings who not only have to learn to love the barn, but also to find their way back to one another after such a huge life-change nearly sideswipes them for good. It's a terrific story, very well-told, and is cram-packed full of humor, insight, and a zest for life that can't be vanquished.####### If you only read one memoir this year, make this be the one. I give it my highest recommendation.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2007


    I enjoy memoirs like this very much, can't get enough of them. I left the city for somewhat less rural territory than these girls did but my life does involve chickens so it's fun to know other's experiences are similar. The author writes with true love of her subjects and that comes through as well as the actual facts I learned from reading this book. Who knew? When my 'downtown' sister sent this to me(she rarely sends me anything because she lives out of the country)I knew I was in for a treat. Thanks to her and the author, for sharing, you go girls!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2006

    Laughs & Heartaches In The (4-Leaf) Clover

    I felt like hugging this book. Catherine Friend tells with humor and honesty the experiences of two intrepid women who, in mid life, buy and run a farm with virtually no first-hand khowledge of the fine points of farming. They had me rooting for them from the hilarious first scene. The book is charmingly written, and repeatedly conveys the joys of sharing their world with lambs, llamas, goats, chickens, dogs, cats and, yes, each other. The book is full of discoveries as Friend realizes what is most important to her. It was a joy, and it ended too soon for me.

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