DH has always accused me of being a closet farmer (usually when I'm trudging out in my wellies to give the chickens some extra warm water in the winter snows) so I was happy to be offered the chance to review 'At home in Dogwood Mudhole' volume 1: Nothing That Eats, by Franklin Sanders.
At Home in Dogwood Mudhole is a series of three books (two currently available), comprised of a collection of letters that he wrote chronicling their life from 1995 through 2002. These cover the family moving from the city out to a small farm and their experiences including the how they adapted to farming, family life, strange animals, his faith and great (or quirky) businesses they've met along the way.
I was just expecting a farming story so was pleasantly surprised to discover this is a bit of a history book as well - I've learnt loads about southern traditions, the American Civil War and re-enactments.
Because this book is a series of letters, rather than a 'story', it makes for an easy read - you can sit, grab a quick 5 mins and just read a chapter or dedicate an evening to getting hooked and seeing if their chickens can survive their dogs.
The writing is candid, humorous and engaging, almost too engaging - I often lost track of time when reading this. There are certainly parts of the book that really speak to you (like deciding how much a pet is worth in vet bills or to quote the book 'the $30 dog that becomes a $1000 dog') and parts that make you laugh out loud (the horse squaring off with the dogs over the dog food or the suicidal guinea pigs).
What I've enjoyed MOST about At Home in Dogwood Hole is the authenticity. It's all about real people - their learning curve, celebrations and all the joys and sorrows that come with family life. I'm pleased to say it's made me laugh, gasp and even shed a tear or two.
This book would be a great read for anyone interested in a down-to-earth lifestyle - I'd happily recommend it for adults and teens.
You can purchase At Home in Dogwood Mudhole for $22.95 in paperback or $16.95 for Kindle/PDF copy.
You can see what my crew mates thought over at the TOS Blog