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!Free ♽ 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 shepherdwannabees 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 farmWhen selfconfessed 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 comingof middleage 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 than they ever bargained for about love, land, and yes, sheep sex
Wonderful Parallel to Beekman Boys, but muchrealtrue to the challenges of farming,true to the feelings of the people, no Martha or Oprah Not an advertisement for their products, either Half writer, half farmer Half city girl, half country girl Half crazy, half sane.Nature is not some pristine concept to be marveled at or worshipped We are part of nature, not just observers, and must acknowledge that nature has winners and losers, predators and prey.But then I kept falling in love with [Melissa] Talk about unoriginalother men and women fell in love with different people, but I kept falling in love with the same one It was entirely her fault whoosh head over heels It was damned irritating.[T]he classic onehanded farmer move: grab bill of cap, slide cap back, scratch top of head with same hand, replace cap. Every once in a while, I take a break from reading thrillers and mysteries and pick out something of a different genre, perhaps an historical fiction or a memoir Honestly, Catherine Friend’s Hit by a Farm would not have been on my radar at all had I not seen a flyer at our local library announcing that she is speaking there next week Hmm, I thought, I had looked for this book a few times in the past, because I actually knew her partner Melissa thirtysome years ago when we were in a women’s group in Minneapolis I bumped into her at a concert in Zumbrota a couple years ago, and she told me that she and her partner, writer Catherine Friend, had a sheep farm I looked up her books; she has authored several children’s stories Among the adult books, her first was a memoir: the two lesbians from the city who buy a farm Maybe I would like this book After several attempts to find it at the library and finding it always checked out, I eventually forgot about it until I saw the flyer.From the title alone, it sounds like farming did not come easily, at least not for Friend First of all, I smiled through the opening chapters because Friend’s description of Melissa reminded me so much of the person I remembered from those days in the early 80s – a gentle, funny, considerate woman I could totally picture her doing all of these things that Catherine details so vividly – driving the tractor, eagerly learning everything there was to learn about sheep and chickens and grapes But as the chapters went on, so did the depiction of breeding and birthing and one problem after another There was plenty of humor, yes, and both women learned to laugh at their struggles and their failures But there was also stress, a lot of stress There were arguments Catherine felt as if she were losing herself She couldn’t write She felt trapped by the farm She called her relationship with Melissa and the farm a “ménage a trois”, which I felt was an apt metaphor She came to recognize that the farm was Melissa’s dream, not hers, yet there was much to love about the animals and farm life Parts of this diatribe became frustrating to me, because both women seemed to be spinning their wheels in the manure for quite some time, unable to verbalize what was happening, stuck in the daily grind that was, for Catherine, the stuff of nightmares As a reader, I was quite relieved when the “aha moment” finally arrived.Along with the daytoday toil of shepherding (and raising chickens, trying to establish a vineyard, coping with an ailing parent) and the personal struggles within the relationship, Friend writes about things that some readers, especially those of us who have never been exposed to farming, may find challenging to think about Those who farm have livestock; they also have “dead stock.” Nature is not idyllic Sure, lambs and baby chicks are cute and cuddly, but death on the farm is not an uncommon experience Even though Melissa and Catherine did not name their sheep, they still tried to raise them humanely and it was painful to lose animals There were some animals with names, and pets that they lost I almost didn’t finish one particular chapter, having lost two beloved cats in the past six months, one only two weeks ago I also identified with Melissa’s loss of her father, experiencing the deaths of my mother and motherinlaw only a few months ago These personal stories made this memoir feel very real to me.It also made me feelconscious of the meat that I eat While I don’t eat huge quantities of meat, nor any lamb, I felt that Hit by a Farm shows a kinder, gentler way to raise our food I read some reviews that complain that Catherine Friend whines too much in this book I have a feeling that in reality, her misery was much worse than what she reveals in print I give her and Melissa so much credit for respecting each other, for accepting the challenge, and for working it all out Like any other choice, the farm came with a learning curve As we all say on the journey, “Are we there yet?” Isn’t getting there what it’s all about? Thank you, Catherine Friend, for an eyeopening, entertaining look at life on your farm Four stars What I didn't love about this book: I was a little disappointed by how much the author whines about life on the farm I understand that this is the story about how she *learned* to love the barn, which means that at first she didn't like it very much, but a lot of her complaints seemed silly to me and so I had a hard time feeling a connection with the writer I am muchlike her partner (in fact, I convinced my own spouse to buy a farm and totally change our lives) and so I had a hard time understanding the authors point of view especially when it came to conflict in their relationship I feel like I'd get along great with her partner, though! What I did love about this book: so many of the stories she tells are absolutely spot on I love the story about her roosters and their different styles of courting I have had very similar thoughts watching our fellas out in the yard with their hens In fact, some of her stories read so real that I had a negative reaction to them I'm not ready to laugh about them just yet! For example, the stories about chasing sheep around and around in a stall until you give up and realize a sheep has outwitted you I think those stories would be funny to either people who haven't actually done that before, or those who have a bittime between reading the story and experiencing the embarrassment and frustration of it! Many of the bits of advice she was given by experienced farmers, farming books or workshops are the exact same ones I've been given It was very interesting and comforting to hear how similar our experiences were, both good and bad For someone who is thinking of starting a farm, many of her stories provide accurate insight into what its like In summary, I loved the stories about life on the farm and the challenges and rewards inherent to farming I did not particularly care for the author's personal journey, though that is likely because I am a very different personality type than her and had a hard time empathizing. I kept waiting for the author to stop complaining and Love the barn but it never really seemed to happen While I did enjoy her descriptions of the quirky personalities of her livestock and some of their novice farming adventures there was far too much whining and despairing for me to really get invested in the author and her narrative And it was hard to sympathize with her woes when she and her partner knowingly went from their urban lifestyle with zero farming experience to a flock of 100 sheep if you're not willing to take your time and ease your way into this new lifestyle, then you don't get to complain about how steep your learning curve is! Overall, I was looking for an uplifting and amusing farming memoir to satisfy my own pastoral daydreams but this was not that book. I normally listen to audiobooks as I travel back and forth to work My commute isn't long (only 20 miles), but the drive can be tedious especially when trapped behind farm equipment The only genre I prefer to have the author narrate is memoir Memoir also happens to be one of my favorite genres So I was thrilled when Barb and Tracey reviewed and recommend this book on their podcast 2 Knit Lit Chicks I was eventhrilled that Catherine Friend, the author, narrated this book I began listening on my ride to my summer job (which is about 5 miles away but cuts through lots of farm acreage, which means lots of farm equipment to be stuck behind) From those few minutes listening, I was hooked! I quickly realized that the book was on my iphone (thanks Audible app), and that meant I could listen to it pretty much anywhere (I now have to avoid Stop and Shop for a few weeks or until people forget who the crazy woman was laughing her way through grocery shopping.) I have always had a vision of owning sheep What could beperfect They will take care of the grass and provide food and clothing As I knitter, I happen to think that sheep are truly the perfect animal food and wool What's not to love? After listening to Catherine, I think this Jersey girl will stick to the suburbs and ordering yarn online The book is hilarious I still chuckle thinking about unauthorized sheep sex, but it is not just humor It is truly a tale of growing up and finding yourself at the age of 40 The trials Catherine and her partner Melissa go through on the farm can map onto adult life in the suburbs I found myself gripped by the story she tells about love, life, and relationships I'm looking forward to reading Sheepish. A must read Here are some of the gems I walked away with: Stories connect usdeeply than any gift.Raising livestock pulled me into a symbiotic, intense relationship with animals: I feed you, then you feed me, my family, my friends As I ate, a surprising emotion swept through medeep, deep gratitude.I have come to see that all I can do, out of respect, is pay attention to nature, to see it for what it is, not for what I want it to be Yes, it is true, as many poets have appropriately captured, that nature could be beautiful But just as often nature can be brutal Now and then, if I really paid attention, I found something that was both.What is it with lesbians and straight lines? This book was funny The author and her partner leave the city for farm life They do not shed a romanticized eye on their new life It sounds hard and really hard But it was so funny I was certainly entertained It turned out to be aboutthan just farm life Towards the end, they were near separation So they dealt with that as well This was nicely balanced. As an aspiring hobby farmer, I wanted to read this book to get an idea of the transition one makes when starting a life in agriculture While I was expecting this memoir to cover the fishoutofwater aspect of an author not raised in farming delving into cultivation and animal husbandry, I was surprised to find that it became in the second half a saga of loss and repair.Starting a country homestead was Catherine's partner's dream and not her own She was supportive of Melissa through the years, but when the reality of farming duties hit her she found her ambitions as a writer sinking to the bottom of the heap Friend iscandid than most memoirists about the anxieties and temptations to give up that she felt through the early years in the country Many people would throw in the towel, but Catherine hung on until finding a balance between her partner's costly career choice and her own.I recommend this book not only to those wishing to farm, but to anyone in a relationship where one person's ambitions take upspace than what's comfortable (for example, a career in medicine or international diplomacy) Additionally, for farmers, this is unlike any other book about agriculture out there Friend has been able to fill a void both in literature on relationships and books on farming I hope she publishesof her humorous and enlightening insight. I quite enjoyed this book about two women, some sheep, some chickens, a couple roosters, a couple guard llamas, some honking geese, quacking ducks, barn cats and house dogs all living together on a farm Actually the women made a farm out of several acres of land in Minnesota It had all the elements you'd expect of two city girls who move to the country for a simpler way of life Besides the problems you'd expect when city slickers move to the country burning up a tractor engine, sheep sex, lambing season (s), electric fence shocks to name a few, the author pretty much admits up front that the whole farm idea was not hers An author of children's books, she looked forward to free time to write The problem being her muse up and left before the house was even built Let's just say she was not a real happy camper I learned a lot about things I never knew I didn't know Who knew llama can be used to guard sheep from hungry predators? I knew I would like the book, because a few years ago I read the sequel, not knowing there was a previous book Catherine Friend is my kind of writer If you ever want to give up your hohum life and move to a farm, read this book first It might not change you're mind, but you'll have a good idea what you might be getting yourself into.