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

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,914 ratings  ·  264 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 Lifelong Books (first published March 27th 2006)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  1,914 ratings  ·  264 reviews

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Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love reading books about people who work the land for a living -- particularly those who have forsaken city life for a "taste of the way life used to be." I'm not sure why I have the fascination as I'm pretty sure this type of life wouldn't suit me at all! Yes, I love raising my chickens, but my basil plants are already dead this year due to lack of attention, and I don't even pretend to plant a garden any more.

This book is an enjoyable little romp through farm life, with quite a bit of depth
Valeria Wicker
Mar 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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,
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Every once in a while, I take a break from reading thrillers and mysteries and pick out something of a different genre, perhaps an historical fiction or a memoir. Honestly, Catherine Friend’s Hit by a Farm would not have been on my radar at all had I not seen a flyer at our local library announcing that she is speaking there next week. Hmm, I thought, I had looked for this book a few times in the past, because I actually knew her partner Melissa thirty-some years ago when we were in a women’s gr ...more
Laura Lough
Oct 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wonderful. Parallel to Beekman Boys, but much more real - more true to the challenges of farming, more true to the feelings of the people, no Martha or Oprah. Not an advertisement for their products, either.

"Half writer, half farmer. Half city girl, half country girl. Half crazy, half sane."

"Nature is not some pristine concept to be marveled at or worshipped.... We are part of nature, not just observers, and must acknowledge that nature has winners and losers, predators and prey."

"But then I ke
Feb 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: animals, farming
The formula has been done dozens of times. Two inexperienced people decide they want to take up farming and it's not all fun and games. The thing that is different here is that the two people are both women and life partners. No men around to help with the heavy work. It was interesting to read about the animals. Sending the animals to the butcher the first time was a traumatic experience. I wouldn't be able to do that even if my animals didn't have names. I only have one critique which brought ...more
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bonny
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
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, farms
I kept waiting for the author to stop complaining and "Love the barn" -- but it never really seemed to happen. While I did enjoy her descriptions of the quirky personalities of her livestock and some of their novice farming adventures -- there was far too much whining and despairing for me to really get invested in the author and her narrative. And it was hard to sympathize with her woes when she and her partner knowingly went from their urban lifestyle with zero farming experience to a flock of ...more
Jun 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it

This book was funny. The author and her partner leave the city for farm life. They do not shed a romanticized eye on their new life. It sounds hard and really hard. But it was so funny. I was certainly entertained.

It turned out to be about more than just farm life. Towards the end, they were near separation. So they dealt with that as well. This was nicely balanced.

Mary Ellington
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed this book about two women, some sheep, some chickens, a couple roosters, a couple guard llamas, some honking geese, quacking ducks, barn cats and house dogs all living together on a farm. Actually the women made a farm out of several acres of land in Minnesota. It had all the elements you'd expect of two city girls who move to the country for a simpler way of life. Besides the problems you'd expect when city slickers move to the country - burning up a tractor engine, sheep sex, l ...more
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
I really enjoyed listening to this book. I was looking for something to listen to while walking the dog, something light that didn't require my full attention if I got side-tracked and missed a couple blurbs here and there. This book fulfilled that quota and then some.
While I cannot imagine ever having a legitimate urge to become a farmer (or a lesbian for that matter), I found parallels with my life and that of the author's. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the farm antics, and move
I found this one to be entertaining. Part of it is that I grew up with family that farms and I know how hard work it is, so when "city" people jump in to farm and there is drama I find it funny. I'm also familiar with the area that these women farm, so that is nice. But as much fun as it was to go with these women on their journey I'm glad that my own role is to listen.

Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love these kind of books. I really appreciated the honesty of the author. Farming obviously was not her forte but I think it was interesting to hear from a less than enthusiastic farming partner. I read several reviews that she complained and whined a lot but I never got that. Perhaps the fact that I listened to the audiobook version, the narrator softened the impact. Either way, I really enjoyed the book.
Monica Tomasello
I always wanted to live on a farm, but it never happened, so now I live vicariously through others who have chosen the farming life. This book didn't disappoint. I enjoyed the author's tales of learning to farm. Some were funny. Others were poignant. All were enjoyable. And the short chapters made it a quick read. ...more
Jane Dugger
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a delightful listen. I truly enjoyed the author narration. Although it felt more like hanging out with a new friend, drinking vino and learning all about her life on a farm. I laughed, I cried, I wondered what adventure would be next. Very fun.
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
2.5 that would have been rounded up to a 3 but the ending was a round-down.

This book could have easily been a whole lot more interesting and a whole less whiny if the author and her partner would have had THIS conversation before buying a farm:

Partner: "It is my dream to be a sheep farmer."
Author: "That is not my dream. But I love you so I want to make this work. However, a farm is a lot of work and it is my dream to be a writer."
Partner: "A farm IS a lot of work, so I will need some help. Ho
Melissa Robinson
Sep 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: glbt
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
Apr 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Friday Reads:

Catherine and Melissa are a couple who reside in southeastern Minnesota who decide to go farming - more specifically, raising sheep and poultry and starting a vineyard. Catherine was an author prior to her and Melissa starting this endeavour and going farming was really Melissa's dream. I listened to this book on audio with Catherine being the narrator. I found her voice so similar to Cheryl Strayed that at times I had to remind myself that Cheryl wasn't narrating.

I enjoyed the book
Sue Way
Jun 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
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! ...more
else fine
May 17, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read2007
Convinced me to never raise sheep. It did, however, sell me on the idea of guard llamas.
Bryn Riekstins
Feb 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I had already read the author's later farm memoir, "Sheepish", and quite enjoyed this earlier peek at her life on the farm. ...more
Melanie Page
I read Sheepish (2011) before I read Hit by a Farm (2006). I ended up feeling like Hit by a Farm covered a lot of the same territory, such as lambing season. In both books, ewes become pregnant at the wrong time (though for different reasons), and lambing season seems no easier or done more logically in the later book. Though I don't expect farming to be logical nor necessarily get easier with time, I wondered why lambing was so focused on in both books.

I found I was more interested in all the t
Elizabeth Boehmer
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an easy read that keeps you laughing and rolling your eyes till the very end. The author writes in a way that you can easily read this book within a day or two and is all about the reality and joys of embarking on a foreign adventure with the one you love. On the cover it says, "particularly riveting for the male reader.." but I'd recommend this book to anyone. If life in solitude, raising animals or crops, building your own home, or changing your perspective on life in general interest ...more
Rachel Cunning
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Friend's memoir is a funny and heartwarming story about the extremes we go to for the ones we love in our life. For her, that meant taking up farming--quite reluctantly--to support her partner's lifelong dream. I enjoyed much about Friend's voice and the stories she chose to share in her memoir. Her story is about the transition from a more urban to rural life, absolutely, but it's more a story of how we grapple with large changes, support people in our lives, and still be true to our own intere ...more
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
I actually thought this was a different book when I started it. I enjoyed that the author herself read it (I listened to the audiobook). This is book is at least as much about marriage/partnership and living with another person as it is about life on the farm.

There were amusing parts and some very serious subject matter too. It was not the most beautifully written thing I have ever heard but I did enjoy hearing about the highs and lows of farm life.
Chelsea Douglas
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did, but as a queer person who definitely romanticizes country living and is also obsessed with reading, writing and Star Trek I really related to Catherine's experiences. I loved how raw and real this book felt, and how truthfully Catherine talked about her relationship with her partner. Their ability to continue to grow and support and love one another through starting a farm reminded me of the kind of love I want to share with someone someday ...more
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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

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  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
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