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Hit by a Farm: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barn Paperback – March 28, 2006
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Farming had never been children's book writer Friend's dream; her fantasies ran more along the lines of nurturing her writing career. But when her partner, Melissa, talks her into buying a farm--and reality hits in the form of 53 worn-out acres in Minnesota--she learns how to test a ram's testicles and select a flock of 50 ewe lambs by the scientific criteria of who had the cutest face and could be caught, and she is now in the sheep business. The couple soon adds a border collie, 2 pet goats, 150 chickens, 200 grapevines, an old pickup, and an even older tractor and begin to acquire the skills needed to make a go of it. This honest look at collaboration and compromise, the pain and the joy of partnership, and the hands-on of farming will find a ready audience. Nancy Bent
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
From the Publisher
"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....Janet, the instructor of this course on raising sheep, had indicated it was my turn. 'Grab his testicles here, around the widest part.' Right, no problem. At that very moment all my friends were attending a writing conference. They were warm, clean, and not feeling up a ram with sixteen-inch testicles....Wincing, I reached between the ram's back legs with my thumb and forefinger. 'Don't pinch him,' Janet cried."
Hit by a Farm is a hilarious recounting of Catherine's attempt to become a farmer; it is also a coming-of(middle)-age story of a woman trying to close the divide between who she wants to be, and who she really is. After helping Melissa fulfill her dream, Catherine eventually finds a way to recapture her own. By turns funny and moving, Hit by a Farm is a crash course in both living off and living with the land that will appeal to anyone hungering for a connection to rural life.
Praise for Hit by a Farm:
"A sweet and funny book in the classic Hardy Girls Go Farming genre, elegantly told, from the first two pages, which are particularly riveting for the male reader, through the astonishing revelation that chickens have belly-buttons and on to the end, which comes much too soon. It has dogs, sheep, a pickup truck, women's underwear, electric fences, the works."--Garrison Keillor
"What a funny, touching delightful, human story! Catherine is not only a farmer; she is most certainly a writer too."--Marion Dane Bauer, Newbery Honor Book author
"If you ever thought farming could be a fabulous back-to-basics adventure, if you ever wondered about the difference in raising, say, a sheep or a peacock, if you ever wanted an honest -- but jaundiced -- peek at farm living, read Catherine Friend's Hit by a Farm. You'll be hit by her candor and humor, and your thoughts about farming will never be the same."--Cindy Rogers, author, Word Magic for Writers, childhood farmer
"Tractor mommas, this is the book for you!"--Rita Mae Brown
"I simply could not put the book down. Catherine Friend is a luscious writer. She packs this memoir of two women starting a farm together in Southern Minnesota with hilarity, tenderness, grim reality and suspense. This memoir is, hands down, the best story I've read in ages."--Ellen Hart, author of 21 mystery novels, five-time winner of the Lambda Literary Award
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Just about everything in this book I can relate to, as I've experienced it all with my own animals or very similar situations. The author has an easy to read and fun style of retelling her experiences of an unplanned and somewhat unwanted farm life. The stories make you laugh, make you cry , make you go awwww, and have you crying with laughter. (My [non-farming] friend read the book in one day, because she enjoyed it so much and didn't want to put it down.)
Fellow sheep farmers will enjoy the book because they can relate and will recall their own experiences (close encounters of the electric fence type, "The sheep are out!" situations, the annual lambing seasons, etc.) and non-farming city folks will enjoy it as they get a glimpse into the magical world of farm life.
However, the Kindle version is very poorly done, considering what Amazon is charging for it. The chapters are not separated, so you cannot navigate within the book. there are a LOT of sentences that are not properly separated, so the next sentence comes right after the period, with no space. It is a shame, and distracts from the reading experience.
Something you want to read on lazy Sunday afternoon with cup of soothing iced tea in summer or hot cocoa by the fireplace in winter.
Even the parts you wanted to cringe wasn't a bad cringe. It was more of Oh oh... I hope it turns out well. I can only laugh and relate about the drag line and the tractor.
I did find out about their lamas on her web site.
So even if you are city girl or forever cosmopolitan girl, you'll enjoy reading about their experience. There are things you will be able to relate.
The author is actually a writer struggling to make a name for herself and although she doesn't say so, the money she brings in probably keeps the farming endeavor viable. The story is amusing at times and describes pretty accurately (speaking from experience) about the learning experiences of two naive women making a working farm from an acreage, raising sheep and other miscellaneous animals. It is also a story about a relationship of love and life as both partners mature and change through this farming experience.
I think it is a great book for anybody who has dreams of leaving the hustle and bustles of the urban life for a "peaceful, quiet life of the country".
I liked the honesty. I liked that neither the city girls nor the country folks came across as buffoons. I have often had an idle dream of myself as a shepherd, maybe in retirement, and since learning to knit a few years ago, that dream has seemed even more appealing. But my fantasy did not involve a prolapsed sheep uterus that must be held up out of the mud for over an hour. Nor did it involve various methods of castrating baby rams. And it certainly didn't involve flystrike, with maggots embedded in the sheep's flesh! In fact, there was a lot of rather disturbing reality in this book, including the omnipresence of death on a farm. Friend quotes a fellow farmer who reminds her, Where there's livestock, there's deadstock.
There is also the honesty about the relationship struggles of two women who love each other very much, but also differ very much about their goals in life. And about the mental health issues that each partner struggles with.
So, no, not my idea of hilarious. But warm, human, honest, and touching. I liked it a lot.