Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hit by a Farm by Catherine Friend

I read the first chapter of Hit by a Farm a few years back but never got around to reading it.When I recently stumbled across the author's book Sheepish, I promptly put them both on my wishlist at PBS and Amazon. I got neither for any of the holidays over the last six months and forgot about them.

Then I was introduced to Craftsy, who has some amazing free mini-classes. Perfect for those of us who like to learn but also have limited funds. On Craftsy I found the Know Your Wool free class. (For those of you who want the condensed version: wool is very cool with a lot of different types.) The class was very informative and sparked my interest in wool and sheep. And I came back to Catherine Friend's books. I decided they were going to take a priority on my reading list.

My library ordered in a copy of Hit by a Farm and I read it in a matter of days. The book contains the author's story of how she ended up becoming a shepherd. It is filled with lots of funny moments as well as interesting information.

In the first fifty pages or so, the author refers to being a lesbian often. It seemed that the idea that she was a lesbian made her extra tough and therefore she could be a farmer. The constant reminder that she was a lesbian was lost on me at first. In this case I can blame it on age. (Since I rarely get to say, I am too young to understand something, I must admit it feels pretty nice.) The author's story began in 1983, prior to my birth, a time where people weren't as accepting as they are now. I was discussing this book as I was reading it with my grandmother and said that the author was constantly repeating that she was a lesbian as though it determined her toughness and it was kind of annoying. To me, it doesn't matter. My grandmother saw it differently and it really helped me change my perspective that perhaps, this did give the author a little extra grit.

The methodology regarding how the author and her partner chose sheep was a toss up between absolutely brilliantly logical and laugh out loud funny. I refuse to say more and spoil the surprise. Although I can say that it made me start thinking of ways to convince my husband that I need... whatever I want to add to our homestead.

The information and stories about lambing have made me want to read and research what exactly is involved with owning sheep. The required fencing is a large turn off for me but this author's love for her sheep (not the lambing) and lambs has made me reconsider.

The second half of the book deals more with the author's mental growth and issues. While the book would have been just as good without so much time hashing out her anxiousness, if I were to start a sheep farm and have anxiety, this book would reassure me a lot.

The author's solution regarding her work and her personal relationships i.e. with her partner, the animals and the farm was unexpected. I finished the book smiling and was glad that everything "worked out" in the end.

This book is a pretty quick read with short chapters. I recommend this to anyone who would like a little humor with their reading as well as to anyone who is interested in a personal perspective on sheep farming. Thankfully Sheepish arrived at the library this week and as soon as I finished this one, I got to start the next one.

This article was shared on The Prairie Homestead, The Backyard Farming Connection, The Self Sufficient Home Acre, The Mind to Homestead,
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  1. This sounds like a really interesting book. And the "Know Your Wool" class seems like a good time too. I'm a fiber enthusiast and a bit of a novice fiber artist, although I haven't been too focused on it recently. Anyway, I liked this post!

  2. One of my favorite Sheep books that I read when I was thinking sheep was Shepherdess: Notes from the Field.
    Interesting read.

  3. This sounds like a good book! I was into books like this when I was a kid and my librarian suggested I read The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald. It sounds a lot like this. A woman accidentally ends up running a farm. I think it was the 1940s and she was married to a man, but the stories were hysterical and the book was great, even though I was like 12 when I read it. I always get a kick out of reading books like that!