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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)
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 ...
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.
|Part 1||Romancing the farm||1|
|Hooked on Romance||7|
|Goodbye, City Life||12|
|Baby on Our Doorstep||18|
|Even My Bra Was More Supportive||30|
|A Paper Farm||34|
|Shepherds at Last||42|
|Can't Fit into My Grandma's Genes||51|
|Menage a Trois||58|
|A Grape Disaster||60|
|Read the Directions, Dummy||64|
|A Shocking Story||68|
|To Market, to Market||72|
|Finding Our Way in the Dark||82|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Ducks and Tattoos||189|
|Lesbians and Straight Lines||195|
|Nature's Sentimental Journey||198|
|Part 3||The tattoo of transformation, sort of...||203|
|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|
Posted January 12, 2012
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 10, 2008
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 2, 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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 11, 2006
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.