You may remember that I've mentioned living near my in-law's farm. What you may not know, is that I was raised in the suburbs of Atlanta, with not a garden or cow in sight, and while I may not be a "city girl" I am definitely not a country girl either. Yet, I have learned to string beans, watched a goat give birth, and panicked when the rooster tried to flog my little boy. I've also been schooled by my two year old on the difference between chicken and duck manure. I am adjusting, anyway.
So you might be wondering why I would be interested in a book with the following synopsis:
When Y2K looms and modern life fails to satisfy, Franklin Sanders and wife Susan go from nuclear family to multigenerational farm. Despite Susan’s admonition that they acquire nothing that eats, they gain dogs, chickens, horses, cows, pigs, ducks and sheep. Their children move back in and bring their spouses, filling Dogwood Mudhole with grandchildren. It’s no Green Acres, but through sheer persistence and good humor, they learn to farm.
Honestly? I don't think I'll ever be a homesteader, but I felt like I would be able to identify on some level with this story.
I was given the opportunity to review Volume 1: Nothing that Eats, in which Franklin Sanders takes us on a journey with with his own family, and their personal journey to their new home in Dogwood Mudhole. That's a small dot on a map, but it's apparently a real place in Tennessee. I'm not really surprised. I've seen a lot of strange road and town names since I moved to the middle of nowhere.
First of all, I will say that this is not so much a book as it is a compilation of seventeen years worth of personal newsletters through The Moneychanger, spanning from the mid-90's to early 2000's. Sometimes the fact that it is a newsletter, rather than a cohesive story, comes through, but it is still an interesting read.
Yes, there's a lot of talk about farm animals. I might have gotten lost in the descriptions and names of all the varieties of chickens and feather colors, but I could definitely relate to dealing with dogs and chickens, thanks to our chocolate lab. There's also talk of cheap dogs becoming $1,000 pets, dealing with the IRS and jail time, stories of weddings and births, personal testimonies and his southern heritage. I would venture to guess that any history buff would enjoy his talk of Civil war battles, reenactments and historical cemeteries. Sanders also calls it like he sees it. There is no hiding his feelings about his faith or politics. He is a passionate man, and that shows through in his writing. It's not just about deciding where and how to weather out Y2K, or becoming homesteaders. It's about living a life worth living. It's humorous, it's real, it's honest.
I would say the book is appropriate not just for adults, but also for teens who might be interested as well. At Home in Dogwood Mudhole-Volume One is $22.95 for paperback, or $16.95 for the digital version (with a no risk guarantee!) and Volume Two: Best Thing We Ever Did, is available for pre-order for the same price. You can also read sample chapters from the first two volumes!
You can check out more reviews of At Home in Dogwood Mudhole from The Crew!
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