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Counting My Chickens . . .: And Other Home Thoughts

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3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  150 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
A unique window on an extraordinary life lived with tremendous zest, discrimination, and intelligence

The Duchess of Devonshire is the youngest of the Mitford siblings, the famous brood that includes the writers Nancy and Jessica. Like them, she has lived an unusually full and remarkable life, and like them she has an inimitable expressive gift. In Counting My Chickens, sh
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Hardcover, 208 pages
Published October 15th 2002 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published September 1st 2001)
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The Sisters by Mary S. LovellLove in a Cold Climate by Nancy MitfordThe Pursuit of Love by Nancy MitfordHons and Rebels by Jessica MitfordThe Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford
Focus On The Mitford Girls
30th out of 48 books — 17 voters
Love Among the Chickens by P.G. WodehouseThe Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill S. AlexanderThe Chicken Dance by Jacques CouvillonA Piece of Sky by Ann  HunterFree-Range Chickens by Simon Rich
Chickens
17th out of 17 books — 7 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 285)
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Petra X
The book, like all Deborah Mitford's books is about her life as Duchess of Devonshire. They don't have enough money to keep the house going so they sell off Old Masters, open farm shops and give guided tours of the house. The house, Chatsworth, and grounds were run as a major business operation employing hundreds of people and she was very much the CEO (but also really did feed the chickens). She's an amusing writer and the book was a good read
___________

Should we change George Orwell books to E
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Andrea
May 31, 2016 Andrea rated it it was amazing
Had this on my shelf and it called to me. I am trying to get through "Beatlebone" which is not very interesting, but this book about country fairs and gardening and raising chickens rings true for me. Enjoying it very much and I will be finished in no time.

Harold MacMillan was family to the Duchess of Devonshire, and he had an interesting and complicated life. She alludes to it a bit. I need to get a biography of this Prime Minister in my list. DONE

She recommends a group of books at the end of
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False Millennium
Jan 29, 2011 False Millennium rated it it was ok
Not the author her sisters Nancy and Jessica were. The book is a rich lady's indulgence. Snippets and thoughts of her past in the country in the inherited manse and past friends. She can talk with ease about hoof and mouth disease, turnips, tree mashing machines and hen breeds. The two most interesting "bits" for me (and I have read about the Mitfords extensively,) were when she talked about the old family church and her grandmother.

"In church at Edensor, while the glorious language of the 1662
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Roberta
Jun 19, 2015 Roberta rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012, nonfiction, uk
Questa raccolta è una lettura un po' particolare, non il genere di libro in cui si incappa per caso, ma più che altro un libro a cui si arriva con precisione seguendo un determinato cammino. Nel mio caso, tutto parte dalle sorelle Mitford. Si tratta di sei sorelle (in realtà c'era anche un fratello, ma non fa molto testo evidentemente), appartenenti ad una famiglia aristocratica inglese, che furono molto famose negli anni Trenta e Quaranta dello scorso secolo, in parte per le loro scelte politic ...more
Ali
Feb 11, 2012 Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deborah Devonshire – born in 1920 – was the youngest of the mad bad Mitford sisters. She married Andrew Cavendish who at the time wasn’t the heir – but upon his brother tragic death became the heir to the Devonshire Dukedom in Derbyshire. The duchess has worked tirelessly to make Chatsworth what it is today, work she has been passionate about, one wonders what might have happened to Chatsworth if not for Debo.
I have read a lot of books about the Mitford sisters or by one of the Mitford sisters.
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Skyler
Mar 27, 2016 Skyler rated it really liked it
vignettes from a privileged life. The book contains one of my favourite gardening quotations: "People go through five stages of gardening. They begin by liking flowers, progress to flowering shrubs, then autumn foliage and berries; next they go for leaves, and then the undersides of leaves."
It's not four stars for being brilliantly written. The four stars in my reviews do just mean I really liked it.
^
Feb 04, 2015 ^ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: houseguests
A wonderful assortment of articles, all beautifully (as expected) written.

The impact of Foot and Mouth restrictions (in 2001), where even Radio 2 is turned off in the lambing sheds … the challenge of opening modern packaging … the guilt induced by the reading of The National Trust Manual of Housekeeping (Stainton & Sandwith): the NT has never needed to concern itself about white mice, canaries, and games of Sardines.

The visiting head teacher (from an urban school, one presumes), who asks wh
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Iva
Apr 30, 2010 Iva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can't get enough of those Mitfords? Then this is the book for you. Debo (Duchess of Devonshire) shares priceless musings, stories and observations. Some are columns from diverse periodicals--can you get more diverse than The Sunday Times and the British Goat Society Yearbook? What does she write about? Obviously there are some charming goats, but also books, literary and other friends, her "stately" home, which has over 400,000 visitors a year and of course, her family anecdotes are sprinkled th ...more
Brenda
Jun 24, 2012 Brenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such an easy--to-read little book by an exceptional lady. Deborah, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire (the youngest of the Mitford sisters)has told, within these covers, some interesting anecdotes from her life and that of Chatsworth, her husbands ancestral home. A good mix of fact,with humour and sadness all brought together charmingly by a lady who admits to being largely uneducated due to her fathers disapproval of education for girls.
Reading this book has whetted my appetite to read more of h
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Christy
Jan 19, 2010 Christy rated it liked it
Delightful musings from the youngest of the famous Mitford girls, Debo, the Duchess of Devonshire. It's a pithy collection of scraps of her writing, about this-and-that, flowers, friends, books, and her estate, Chatsworth (the house from all the Jane Austen adaptations). I learned that there is - believe it or not - a society in Britain for wall building. And they have tournaments, with prizes for the best wall. (Only in England.) This small volume, with a forward by Tom Stoppard, only propels m ...more
Hazel McHaffie
May 06, 2013 Hazel McHaffie rated it really liked it
If you've visited Chatsworth this slim volume of reflections by the now Dowager Duchess is well worth reading. She writes with flair and humour about everything from her rebellion against petty rules on health and safety to her limited reading, her love of clothes from agricultural shows to her childhood habit of tasting church pews. She's been instrumental in making Chatsworth one of the country's leading historic homes with a world famous farmyard and farm shop but she sounds entirely unpreten ...more
Helena
It's okay, though apparently my anglophilia does not extend to reading the random thoughts of a duchess. Tried to get into it a few times, just didn't hold my attention.
Barendx van den Bergh
Jan 09, 2013 Barendx van den Bergh rated it really liked it
This book was given to me by the lovely Lady Auriol Linlithgow as a Xmas gift in 2002. I was working for the Lady on her exquisitely beautiful country house Bryngwyn. Xmas was always so festive, but that's another story.... Yes this was bit difficult to understand as it is written from the Duchess life experiences, so there where times were I had to read to story again, well yes then I understood it a bit better. And YES the book is even signed by the Duchess......x
Katharine Holden
May 23, 2011 Katharine Holden rated it did not like it
A vanity press sort of book of reflections and scraps. If she weren't a Mitford, no publisher would have touched it. She doesn't really have anything interesting to say but talks a lot anyway. I think she means to slay certain groups of people with her wit (feminists, persons concerned for animal welfare, visitors to her stately home who dare to send her letters of complaint about conditions, etc.), but her writing lacks the wit to slay them. A silly book.
Elaine
Mar 02, 2011 Elaine rated it really liked it
Oh, do I love reading about this family of eccentric daughters. I thought she was probably the most sensible of the sisters, but I withdraw most of that idea. She is upper-class, has humorous opinions and observations while loaded with her gift of erudite charm. She is wonderful to read! I wonder what her children are like. Did she raise them to be hunted by hounds like her father did with his children?
Kealani
Sep 20, 2015 Kealani rated it it was amazing
Such a lovely chatty visit with the Duchess of Devonshire. A cousin of Winston Churchill, she's taken tea with Hitler and has tendril ties by marriages to JFK. Deborah Freeman-Mitford, a fulcrum for most twentieth century history charms, out-masters, and delivers. Do take a few moments to get to know her, do.
Dorothy
Nov 03, 2010 Dorothy rated it liked it
I enjoyed this collection of essays, book reviews and memoirs by the youngest of the Mitford sisters, largely for its nostalgia and its sometimes quirky stories of events in her life and of people she has known.
Lisa
Mar 28, 2009 Lisa rated it did not like it
I find the Duchess' views on fox hunting to be in her own words, unspeakably vulgar.
Forget the chickens. Eat the rich.
Dmknoell
Mar 31, 2013 Dmknoell rated it it was amazing
Hilarious! This woman doesn't take herself too seriously in spite of the fascinating life she has lived. love-love-love
93bcn
Aug 18, 2011 93bcn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's my review of this book.
Jennifer
Jan 10, 2012 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: read2010orbefore
I enjoyed reading this, especially in conjunction with reading the Mitford Sisters' letters.
Jaylia3
Jun 11, 2009 Jaylia3 rated it liked it
The youngest, self-described illiterate, Mitford sister has written a very funny book.
Cathy
If you are keen to read all you can about the Mitfords then it is for you.
Julie Barrett
Sep 16, 2012 Julie Barrett rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
My second favorite Mitford sister.
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Deborah Vivien Freeman-Mitford Cavendish, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, who published under the name of Deborah Mitford, was brought up in Oxfordshire, England. In 1950 her husband, Andrew, the 11th Duke of Devonshire, inherited extensive estates in Yorkshire and Ireland as well as Chatsworth, the family seat in Derbyshire, and Deborah became chatelaine of one of England’s great houses. She is th ...more
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