We love to read around here. We are at the library a few times a week. Emily has already started reading daily to Maryjane. Transporting oneself into an adventure for free and the unlimited knowledge that we can obtain from books is something I do not take for granted! I prefer farming memoirs over “how to” farm books. I do love The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Living by Abigail Gehring. It is a mega textbook that graces the coffee table and gets little use. However should I ever need a reference for how to fix a fence, milk a goat, or grow raspberries, all I have to do is thumb through this trusty tower of farming wisdom. I prefer the whimsy of tales from the farm. Direct and full of set backs, disappointments, laugh out loud humor, and triumphs. Teach me through your story. I have learned everything thus far from memoirs of what others are doing and from trial and error. These are my top ten favorite farm books. They are entertaining, secretly educational, and great summer reading. What are your favorite books?
The Wisdom of a Radish; And Other Lessons Learned On a Small Farm by Lynda Browning
I really enjoyed this book. I laughed about every minute of it. Her personality is so beguiling and fun. And the lessons learned I have already instituted on my own beginning farm!
Made From Scratch; Discovering the Pleasures of a Homemade Life by Jenna Woginrich
This is one of the first books that set me on my current path. Her prose is easy to read, like she is an old friend with a great sense of humor. Stories of first time bees, chickens, learning the fiddle, and inspirations from her friend’s farm made me want to farm too.
Barnheart; incurable longing for a farm of one’s own also by Jenna Woginrich
She is one of my favorite authors. This is the sequel to Made From Scratch and it is again like visiting an old friend, comfortable and speckled with humor. From her rental farm, to driving around with sheep in her Subaru and to finally getting her own farm, this book is heartwarming and fun.
Sheepish; Two Women, Fifty Sheep and Enough Wool to Save the Planet by Catherine Friend
Another laugh out loud memoir where she holds nothing back. Her personal life, the personal life of sheep, and life on a farm are all painted realistically and hilariously! I am about to read her other book, Hit By a Farm.
Growing a Farmer; How I Learned to Live Off the Land by Kurt Timmermeister
From a shock of land covered in brambles and junk to a full working farm, this story is uplifting and entertaining.
The Feast Nearby by Robin Mather
This book isn’t so much about farming, but of eating locally. I ended up buying the book because there were so many delicious looking recipes! After a heartbreaking divorce the author moves to a small cabin and tells delightful stories throughout the seasons.
The Town that Food Saved; How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food by Ben Hewitt
This book takes us on a journey of different farms around a town where local food and small farmers bring sustenance to the people in a small area. A roadmap for all communities that wonder how to provide truly local food. Inspiring. Made me want to make cheese.
The Dirty Life; On Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball
A great story from city to family life on a farm, it is full of antidotes, lessons, and ideas for farming and what farming life really looks like. A little whiny at times (Oh you poor dear, had to run off with a good looking farmer to the country and *gasp* live a freeing lifestyle…) but makes up for it in vivid writing.
Animal, Vegetable, Mineral; A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
Though I was not impressed, nor pleased with her incessant bashing of vegetarians throughout the book, the general story captivated me. Canning, preserving, growing enough food to survive, and eating in season all inspired me to try to do so myself.
The Bucolic Plague; How Two Manhattanites Became Gentleman Farmers by Josh Kilmer-Purcell
One of my favorites. I never laughed so hard. The insights of a gay man and his partner, who works for Martha Stewart, stumbling upon an old farm and purchasing it. Full of vivid local characters, darling baby goats, and great food all make up this wonderful memoir. Funny and sensitive, a hilarious look at becoming a farmer.