Hit by a Farm: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barn
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Hit by a Farm: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barn

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  1,077 ratings  ·  175 reviews
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 shepherd-wannabees 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...more
Paperback, 254 pages
Published March 28th 2006 by Da Capo Press (first published March 27th 2006)
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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara KingsolverAll Creatures Great and Small by James HerriotFarm City by Novella CarpenterThe Dirty Life by Kristin KimballHit by a Farm by Catherine Friend
Down on the Farm
5th out of 89 books — 146 voters
Hit by a Farm by Catherine FriendThe Dirty Life by Kristin KimballThe River Cottage Year by Hugh Fearnley-WhittingstallFamily Friendly Farming by Joel SalatinThe Good Food Revolution by Will  Allen
Farming Memoir
1st out of 23 books — 19 voters

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Community Reviews

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Valeria Wicker
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 fish-out-of-water 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,...more
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 even more thrilled that Catherine Friend, the author, narrated this book. I began list...more
Catherine Friend and her partner Melissa decided to follow Melissa’s dream of becoming a farmer, so they bought some land in Minnesota, built a home on it, put up some fencing, and bought their first lambs and chickens. In addition to the livestock, they also decided to grow grapes. Neither had much farming experience, although Melissa worked for the USDA for a time, and despite all of their research their learning curve was pretty steep their first couple of years. Melissa battled with constant...more
This book was a random book that popped up as a Amazon recommendation for me. Because I've taken a great interest in farming and homesteading lately, I thought it would be enjoyable to read an account from someone who has actually done what I want to do. Catherine Friend provided that in this memoir of her life when she moved out to the farm.

She and her partner Melissa, following one of Melissa's dreams, buy a farm and start putting up fences (literally and figuratively as the farm seems to be a...more
Laura Lough
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 much more like 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 u...more
There's much to recommend in Friend's Hit by a Farm - the endearing stories of the llamas who nanny flocks of sheep, for example, or the stories of baby goats playing tag. There's also a hefty dose of realism to the book. There's death a-plenty as the animals on the farm fall prey to coyotes, hawks, eagles, disease, and natural causes, and Friend spends one chapter discussing the fact that farming, even if you love it, is far from idyllic. That applies not just to the animals on the farm, but th...more
Melissa Robinson
Catherine Friend is perfectly content to be an author and writing instructor, living in a small town. Her long-time partner, Melissa, isn’t. Melissa dreams of farming, so Catherine gamely agrees and throws herself into their agricultural endeavors.

Quickly, Catherine discovers that she is being consumed by tending sheep, chickens and grapes and neglecting her writing. She begins to wonder if both she and Melissa can pursue their dreams, or if one must sacrifice their passions.

Friend’s memoir abou...more
At last, a farm memoir I can really relate to. Rather than the usual romance of a city dweller going out into the country and learning valuable lessons through embarrassing mistakes, this is a woman whose partner feels a deep connection to nature. Friend likes baby lambs as much as the next person, but doesn't really want the hard work, blood, poop, animal sex, and danger that come with farm life. Her wife is the one who wants all of that. Friend wants to write picture books and drink wine on a...more
Feb 18, 2014 Erin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
This is a 3.5 star book but I decided to round up...er round down? I haven't decided yet. *2 minutes later* I think I'm going to round down. *10 minutes later* Nope, I'm rounding up. There were some absolutely hilarious yet poignant vignettes in the book, however, I wanted it to be more than a collection of vignettes. I so wanted it to be more... *sigh* I wanted the book to help me embolden my own desire to restart the family farm. It just wasn't able to provide the insights needed nor was it ab...more
Sue Way
A quick and fun depiction of a woman becoming a farmer to help her partner live her dream. The author also addresses the challenge of maintaining an individual identity in a relationship when one's life purpose is as all encompassing as starting and running a sheep farm. And, did I say it was funny!
A must read. Here are some of the gems I walked away with:

"Stories connect us more deeply 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 me--deep, 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 appropriate...more
Bryn Riekstins
I had already read the author's later farm memoir, "Sheepish", and quite enjoyed this earlier peek at her life on the farm.
Me: You don't harbour a secret desire to pack up and start a farm, do you?
S.O.: ...No? What are you talking about?
Me: Oh good. I can keep you around, then.

At fourteen, I read so constantly that my parents were forced to set a "No reading at the table" rule. (page 8)

Dear author: I can beat that. My mother set the same rule because my entire family read so constantly -- and the rule promptly fell into disuse because my father never bothered to follow it. It was a sad day when we started housi...more
Sara Schertz
I really enjoyed this book. I stumbled on it accidentally after reading the author's novel "The Spanish Pearl." The title caught my eye because I recently read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver, so I guess I was in the mood for books about people jumping into farming. That this one featured a lesbian couple in a long-term relationship made it even more interesting.

This book was pretty different from the Kingsolver book though. That one was more of a how to, and in some ways roma...more
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's the light, funny, and sometimes poignant story of the author and her partner buying a farm and learning how to manage a flock of sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, geese, dogs, and the small vineyard they're attempting to grow in Minnesota.

The book is fun on its own, but reading it was an intensely personal experience for me. Why? Because I grew up on a small farm in Upstate NY, where we had a flock of sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, geese, dogs, and a very small...more
This book was an onslaught of whining.

It was, essentially, an incessant refrain of "I don't like doing this, why am I doing this? I should leave, but I'm too chicken to leave. This is making me unhappy. I hate this. I'm going to keep doing it anyway."

There were interesting facts about raising sheep and their various quirks, as well as a handful of other animals, which made it readable.

The author was clearly a fish out of water throughout the whole book, going along with her partner's "dream" o...more
Very engaging, funny, well-written, but not particularly deep. i had a good time reading this book, but i don't think i learned anything from it. except that you can grow grapes in minnesota. i like the author's writing voice quite a bit--she has the sort of voice that leaves me feeling like she'd be an absolute hoot to have dinner with. I didn't sympathize with a lot of what she was going through, though---i chose my farm, full time, head-first! i'm more a "Melissa" in terms of the story, and w...more
I bought this book based on the cover and the title. Growing up on a very diversified [read: a bit of evrrything and not much of anything] Minnesota farm, I was confident there would be something I could relate to, and I am always curious how/why non-fatm folks have the guts to tackle farming for themselves,

Not far into the book, I realized the author is my acquaintance Irene's daughter. {Irene and I worked together to start the Eau Claire Women's Network in the '80s.] This tie, together with th...more
Hit by a Farm sucked me in from the moment I picked it up, and I ended up reading it in one weekend. It is a fast, amusing read, but it also made me think. The book is a memoir about a lesbian couple who decide to move to the country and start a farm. This has been one woman's dream. The other woman (the author) dreams of becoming a successful writer, but wants to support her partner, so she agrees to the plan. The book is full of funny anecdotes on getting a farm up and running and all the thin...more
Lacey Louwagie
Feb 08, 2008 Lacey Louwagie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people fascinated by farming who don't actually know much about farms
Recommended to Lacey by: Joanna
Shelves: memoir
My friend Joanna thought I would like this book because it was about "farming, lesbians, and writing." All subjects I enjoy, it's true, but this book and I got off to a bit of a bumpy start.

Hit by a Farm is a memoir about when Catherine's long-time partner, Melissa, shares her dream of becoming a farmer. Although Catherine had never been interested in farming herself, she goes "along for the ride" in support of Melissa. They buy some land, build a house, then populate the farm with a vineyard,...more
This true story of the first four years of Catherine and her partner Melissa's adventures in setting up and learning to farm is warm, funny, poignant, and very heartfelt.

Catherine is a writer, Melissa has always wanted to own a farm. When the economy tanks and they find the perfect piece of land they purchase a farm together. The fact that they are lesbians is a fact and not the centerpiece of the story. The centerpiece would be the farm with its chickens, sheep, goats, dogs and even llama. They...more
I'm on sort of a farm memoir jag these days, spurred on by my lifelong secret (and very platonic) love affair with sheep. This book describes the reality of going from urbanite to full-on farmer--in this case, shepherd. Catherine and her partner, Melissa, move from the Twin Cities to fifty acres in Minnesota and start, from scratch, with 50 sheep, a gazillion chickens, and a full acre of grapevines. I mean, they start from scratch. At the beginning of the story, their farmhouse isn't even built...more
I devoured this book, from cover to cover in less than a day. I had no idea this book existed until a friend recommended that I read her newest one, Sheepish. This book is so similar to my life it's wonderful! The way the ended up in the farming life is slightly different, but even some of their personality quirks are similar. Bookworm falls in love with outdoorsy girl. They live happily together for 12 years, then they buy and start a farm. City girl has to quickly become farm girl.

Yes, I chos...more
May 11, 2011 Merredith rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: farmers, people who watch where their food is coming from, people in relationships
This is a memoir about a bookworm/writer woman who was citified who decides to start a farm with her wife, because it's her wife's dream. Yup, a whole sheep farm with extra animals & grapes too, all while struggling to not lose herself or her own dream of being a writer. That's so ambitious, and to do it just for the one you love is so dedicated! Well, they said they were going to do it, they researched a little, and just dug in. There were definitely stumbling blocks, but still. I didn't th...more
I enjoyed this book, particularly for Friend's honesty about how difficult it was for her trying to farm. Of course, in the end, she basically quit farming and let her partner do all the work, and finally reached a compromise by helping do chores on the weekends. So if you're thinking of getting a farm, this might not be the raging success story you were hoping for. (But in fairness to Friend, she never particularly wanted to farm in the first place-- that was all her partner's dream. So really...more
Feb 03, 2008 Anne rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: animal/nature lovers
I liked this book, but I didn't like it as much as I wanted to like it. I've always wanted to live on a farm and I'm always intrigued by stories of writers' lives, so a book about a writer who becomes a farmer was appealing to me. Catherine Friend is a good storyteller, and I kept wanting to read on. I didn't see a love of language in her writing the way I do in E.B. White's or even Carol Drinkwater's. Even so I kept reading. What was most disappointing to me was her reluctance to be a farmer, b...more
This is a book I would never have even picked up if the audio publisher hadn't sent it for us to review on our podcast. I'm so glad they did, because I loved it! Catherine Friend does a great job narrating her own story of how she learned to be a farmer to support her partner's dream. I loved hearing about all their animals and the love they developed for them, and my heart broke along with theirs when they lost various members of their farm family. Friend doesn't sugarcoat things - she's upfron...more
I do think it's very important for books about farm life to be honest, and I appreciate Friend's honesty concerning the many negative aspects that happened during the creation of their beginning farm. That being said, a lot of the problems described in Hit by a Farm weren't necessarily direct farming problems, but problems that related to her relationship (that indirectly stemmed from farming). Although I thought this book was very comical at times, some of the chapters about her relationship we...more
Chuckled my way through this and related to her farming experience. We've started a small urban farm in our backyard with chickens and goats. Over the years with all the many animals we've shared our lives with, I have felt the same emotions the author detailed in this book. I appreciated her wry and twisted sense of humor about common events on a farm. Reading about the sheep, llamas, goats, cats and dogs - all of that was a treasure for me. I like nothing better sometimes than to go out and co...more
An okay read. Parts were mildly entertaining but most of her humor wasn't my style and it started slow. I really liked her ending quote. Unfortunately, I didn't write it down and have therefore forgotten it. Something about comparing writing and farming - (and of course I'm a fan of both.)
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Catherine Friend had what she calls a "boring" childhood, but she says that boring was just fine -- because it gave her more time to read. She read so much her parents had to set a "no-reading-at-the dinner-table" rule. She was slightly shy as a child, but enjoyed playing Beauty Parlor with her sister, taking family trips, and watching STAR TREK and TIME TUNNEL.

She studied Economics, but because...more
More about Catherine Friend...
Sheepish: Two Women, Fifty Sheep, and Enough Wool to Save the Planet The Perfect Nest Compassionate Carnivore: Or, How to Keep Animals Happy, Save Old Macdonald's Farm, Reduce Your Hoofprint, and Still Eat Meat The Spanish Pearl A Pirate's Heart

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