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True Cow Tales: Literary Sketches and Stories by Farmers, Ranchers, and Dairy Princesses Paperback – August 11, 2009

5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing, LLC (August 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608440613
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608440610
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,725,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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True Cow Tales has stirred up happy memories from my childhood, and of people who are no longer with me, but were such an important part of my life. I think that says a lot about the book.

Let me start by saying that I do not live on a dairy farm. I have never lived on a dairy farm. But I do have a connection. Don't we all, though, really? Doesn't everyone have some connection to the world of farming, if we go back far enough in history? I would be willing to bet that the majority of our ancestors, those brave hearty folks who made their way across the prairies, were farmers. As for me, my connection goes back to my grandparents. Both of my parents and their multiple brothers and sisters grew up on farms in Minnesota, farms which continue on to this day, passed on through the generations.

My own memories of summer stays at my grandparents' and uncle's farm are so sweet and are some of the best of my whole life. I can still remember that satisfying feeling of completing a hard-day's work, pulling weeds out of the soybeans, painting barns, or working in the garden. This was sweaty, honest, sometimes very dirty work, but boy oh boy did I ever sleep well those nights, and food never tasted so good afterwards. How about those wonderful fresh vegetables served at dinner every night, fresh applesauce, strawberries, freshly baked bread, all in a big kitchen full of people.

And then there were the stories, so many stories to be told. The kind of stories that you can hear only if you sit quietly and listen. Because the storytellers are not always the most boisterous of people, sometimes they are soft-spoken. This is what I see while reading the stories in True Cow Tales. It brings me back almost 40 years to my grandma's kitchen and the red and white checked tablecloth.
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"Cows are the foster mother of the human race," Wis­consin's Governor William Dempster Hoard once said. He even had a notice posted in his barn: "Remember that this is the Home of Mothers. Treat each cow as a Mother should be treated."

True Cow Tales is a very authentic collection of stories from a variety of authors - several of whom are Wisconsinites. It's filled with all sorts of down-home lore and encounters that only a farmer or a farm-kid would gather from day-to-day experience, but usually not share with anyone except friends and family. Editor, Christine Lindemer is one of those insiders who has managed to collect a set of well-written and engaging narratives from the farm that reveal many of those small secrets contained within the hearts of rural America.

The book is a collection of stories by 40 farmers, ranchers, and dairy princesses across the U.S. and Canada. It includes a short chapter of `cow poetry,' some photos and a number of illustrations. But after reading True Cow Tales, I am struck by the fact that this book also contains snapshots of a time that no longer seems to exist.

The works of several Wisonconsinites, including poet August Derleth, are included in the book. A man from Watertown, WI, has two stories in the book. A woman from Edgerton, WI, has a wonderful poem in the anthology.

Stories like Diane Popenhagen's "Roland's `Sugar'" deliver a powerful picture of rural life, up before the sun when the cold cuts through multiple layers of well-worn work clothes, walking methodically to the barn, getting those frozen fingers revived by warmth of hand-milking a herd of cows. The warm memories and the tragedies are all here, some farms lost, some trophies won.
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The writiing styles in any anthology are mixed. "True Cow Tales" is no exception. Some of the writers show true professionalism, while others are still developing. However, even inexperienced writers have good stories to tell, so you will surely enjoy "True Cow Tales," especially if you have an agricultural background. You will smile at the mix of personalities in featured cows. I also enjoyed the section about Dairy Princesses with their likenesses carved in real butter at the Minnesota State fair. What a thrill it was for those who earned their unusual title.
"True Cow Tales" is C. R. Lindemer's first attempt at editing and publishing an anthology. Her own story is exceptionally well written, and the entire book shows promise of more and better things to come. I look forward to a sequel, and I do believe there will be one.
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A rich, lively array of real adventures with cows and other farm creatures in the true, personal voices of dairy farmers, ranchers, their spouses, children, friends, relatives, neighbors, and dairy princesses. In fact, we sometimes hear the cows' voices as well! Genuine stories--some funny, some sad, some exciting, some surprising, some outrageous--but all genuine, all true tales--as the title says. This book is a fine tribute to American dairy farms, hard-working farm families, and the fascinating culture of cows.
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