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The Reluctant Farmer of Whimsey Hill

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We all know the saying - opposites attract. But the serious question is how long can such a relationship really endure? That’s what troubles animal-phobic, robotics engineer Brad about his recent marriage to animal-rescuing Nancy. According to the Meyers-Briggs Personality Test, their union is doomed. There’s only one problem: they took the test after the wedding.
Whether he’s chasing a cow named Pork Chop through the woods with a lasso, getting locked in a tack room by the family pony, being snubbed by his wife’s dog, or trying unsuccessfully to manage their barn using the latest technology, the odds are stacked against him. Why does it seem like everything with four legs is out to get him?
Come enjoy the true, warm and frequently hilarious stories of Brad’s early marriage and the bumpy road from his urban robotics lab to a new life on a rural Virginia farm.

344 pages, Paperback

First published June 29, 2016

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Bradford M. Smith

2 books2 followers

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5 stars
340 (58%)
4 stars
169 (29%)
3 stars
52 (9%)
2 stars
9 (1%)
1 star
7 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 54 reviews
Profile Image for Linda.
2,380 reviews
October 31, 2021
A delightful and humorous memoir by a couple who had absolutely nothing in common and were seemingly incompatible. He enjoyed city life and computers, while her dream was to live on a farm, where she'd rescue horses. Although he wasn't at all fond of animals, they fall in love and marry. What could possibly go wrong?
Profile Image for Karen Plummer.
355 reviews44 followers
June 14, 2018
Memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies are my favorite types of nonfiction, with history as a close (and related) second. This memoir had me giggling almost from page 1. This is the story of Brad, a Navy engineer. Brad has disliked animals since he was a youngster after a cat viciously scratched him. Unfortunately, he happened to meet and fall in love with Nancy, an animal lover par excellence. Their differences are many: he wants a city life, she wants a farm; he doesn't want pets, she has both a horse (that Brad's a bit scared of) and a dog (who doesn't seem to like him) and she loves them deeply; he doesn't want a barn full of horses, she is a rescuer who takes in horses and rehabilitates them to give them a chance at a real home.

Seems impossible that they will marry, but Brad loves Nancy and Nancy loves Brad, so in the end they marry and make a deal. They will rent a farm for a year and see if it works out. They find a nice place and Brad begins his education as a "farmer" which is where the fun begins.

As their family (both human and animal) grows, they outgrow their little rental and find a bigger place. Money is tight and there are problems, but this couple seem to be able to deal with just about anything, from hurricanes to multiple mortgages and from suddenly being inundated with puppies and cats to dealing with the antics of a pony who's an escape artist. With their ups and downs, their lives are certainly interesting.

The story is written in a light-hearted, breezy style and the people are drawn so well that you feel as though you know them with each passing page. Then there are the animals, and I'll admit I fell in love with almost every one of them.
Profile Image for Sharon Huether.
1,439 reviews8 followers
December 28, 2016
I won this book through Goodreads First-Reads.
Brad and Nancy have differing ideas on where they should live after they are married.
Nancy has a horse, so that means country. Brad goes on with the idea of country living, a little reluctantly.
As time goes on there are more horses, dogs and cats and one steer. Brad is quickly getting the hang of it.
There are funny stories through out the book. An easy and humorous read. There are laugh out loud moments too.
Their little girl named her cat Mary, Mother of God. Out of the mouth of babes.
Profile Image for Kerry.
51 reviews
September 27, 2018
I had to laugh at the timing this book. Drew and I just spent a Sunday putting in a horse pasture, when quite clearly he would have liked to be doing something else, like getting camp ready for hunting season! (Who can blame him after spending the entire summer putting up a high tunnel!) At the end of the night, he says to me, "I complain, but you know I love every minute of it!" Lol. Drew could have written this book! Growing up without animals, except maybe a small dog, he is/was definitely a "reluctant farmer". In this autobiography, the author, a robotics engineer, is not sure about his wife's way of life, but soon discovers it has a lot to offer.
450 reviews2 followers
July 15, 2022
I love stories about animals. This is a fun story. It will make you laugh. It may make you cry. You will want to go get a farm of your own.
320 reviews3 followers
January 14, 2019
This is a delightful holiday read about an IT bloke who meets a girl who loves horses and animals and in the course of the book he is converted to become a dedicated farmer. Essentially it is series of anecdotes as he learns to cope with the vagaries of the seasons and the behaviour and personalities of horses, dogs and cats. A happy family, friendly read that leaves you with a smile on your face.
60 reviews
November 20, 2019
This book caused me problems. I choose to read this type of work for a brief breath of comical, yet poignant stories of real life in the world of human and animal interaction. I picked it up with the expectation that I would be able to share a laugh or two and a tear or two with the author. I only got the one. Smith did deliver several deep chuckles. The most memorable is his naked romp down the street, trying to return a horse to the barn. This scene also packed a fright as he was shadowed by two drunk rednecks, making him allude to Deliverance. Actually, Smith is quite honest with his telling of the mistakes he made during these early years of becoming a farmer. I couldn't believe that he gave up the log house simply because he had jokingly told a real estate agent that he would sell for twice its worth. Then to have only four months to move, and then the deal falls through. Wow, what a comedy of errors. But, in the telling of his experiences with the animals, Smith does not deliver the tear or two. I felt no emotion in the telling of the death of Amy. This scene was several.paragraphs of searching for her, ending in the gruesome discovery. And that is where he leaves it. There is no sense of mourning here. I felt it was rather callously written. Not until he finds her ball months later and offers it to the new dog did I feel he was impacted by her death. I also wanted to strangle him on more than one occasion as he relates his ignorance of the animal soul. He approaches every animal species he encounters with a blatant disregard for their sentient and emotive natures. He repeatedly espouses that animals have no feelings and no way to reason or problem solve. As he confronts the evidence that contradicts his ideology, he continues to try to dismiss it as an anomaly or exception. By the end of the book, I still felt that he learned nothing. He never accepted that he was wrong about the capabilities of animals. It is this lack of development and the lack of poignant emotion that leads me to rate the book as I have. I will remember this book, which makes it worth reading, but my memories of it will include feelings of frustration and exasperation. Not an experience I can wholeheartedly recommend for others.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Susan.
342 reviews3 followers
August 2, 2016
What a fun story. This is a memoir of boy meets girl, boy and girl marry, girl has babies. But, what happens in between--girl loves everything boy doesn't but ooooh those blue eyes--Brad would do anything for Nancy. How many men would give up their city life and buy a farm for the love of his life and then-----she just can't say no to animals and kids in need, oh yeah, and adults also. Brad takes us thru the many trials of working a full time job and becoming a farmer/caregiver of animals. Brad and Nancy raise two girls, take care of up to 26 horses at a time, have a crazy steer and several dogs and cats--they are on speed dial for the local shelter. I am exhausted just reading the story but I loved it. I highly recommend this book. For those that have horses--remember the one that always wants to stomp on your foot
July 14, 2016

Anyone who loves animals, has a sense of humor and appreciates a good, clean book (plenty of mud though) will love this book!
1,047 reviews12 followers
June 30, 2022
This memoir was a delight to read. I was flying home from Iceland and decided to read it instead of watching movies on the airline's screen. Good choice! There is lots of humor in Brad's dealings with the many animals, who all have personalities of their own. Who wouldn't love Amy, Junior, and Figgy? Or even Duck, whom we meet toward the end of the book? Brad and Nancy have so much love for their animals, their two children, and the children they bring into their home that it overflows on each page. There is also a bit of drama, and as with any book on animals, some sadness as well. But what a bucolic childhood their two daughters had.

I did notice two printing errors where sentences dropped into a new line in the middle of a page, but for a self-published book, it was pretty well designed.
Profile Image for Ruth Dresher-Brown.
98 reviews1 follower
March 28, 2019
I really enjoyed this book. As Brad learns about country life vs city life, becomes aware of animal awareness and personalities, as well as the other farm critters it brings big smiles. His desire to have the best life for Nancy and his daughters and ultimate decision making process raised my spirits that he had become fully aware. Nancy reads as a great Mom, the daughters and other young people in their lives all benefited greatly by her way of seeing life and sharing the love and caring, and responsibilities entailed. The after book information proves the point in how Anne and Lynn went on to be in their adulthood. I love animals and this was a great story
Profile Image for Sam.
273 reviews1 follower
March 19, 2022
A fascinating look into an amazing couple who love quirky animals and good kids

An outstanding insight into the lives of an extended family which included friends, relatives, and wonderful animals. The rescued dogs, cats, horses, ponies, and more are an interesting mix, each with appreciated personalities and individual endearing traits which only a life of care and casual observation allows to develop and expand. A page turning delight in an age of electronics and hustle where time to stop and smell the flowers carries its own reward and becomes priceless and memorable. Well worth the time.
378 reviews
August 5, 2018
A reluntant farmer's life

This is a must read. What an incridable journey through life's
ups and downs. Family life, where horses, dogs, cats and cattle,
help teach life lessons in compassion, love, mercy, and trust,
between humans and the animal kingdom. To have courage to
pick up ones self when disaster strikes and continue to pick up
the pieces and keep moving on to ones love and dreams till they come true.
Pick this book up today and read it. When you do you can't put it down
till it's done.

Profile Image for Randall Allen.
12 reviews
April 17, 2022
Bradford M. Smith's "The Reluctant Farmer of Whimsey Hill" is a very humorous story about the transformation animals and living on a farm can bring about in the life of a self-proclaimed animal hater. It also helps if you are madly in love with an animal lover. As someone who lives on a farm and raises livestock, I found myself laughing out loud throughout the book at Brad's difficulties with learning about the ways of animal and his efforts to please his spouse. What I admired about Brad is that despite his ongoing inner struggles with getting his way or giving in to the desires of his wife or the needs of the animals is that he always put them first. Despite his objections to finding new cats in the barn, taking on new dogs, rescuing more horses, and trying to figure out how to pay for it, his willingness to make sacrifices for the good of his wife and animals helped him to discover in the end that the life he found himself living on the farm was the life he wanted. If you love farm stories and animals, I think you find this story very refreshing and fun read.
1 review
July 23, 2022
Gratifying and realistic farm life

As a positive reactor in sometimes negative situations, his sense of humor and genuine kindness sheds a loving shadow over his entire realm of family and friends. As I read his concern for his wife's approval throughout trials and irritations, I looked at myself and saw that his attitude of peace at all cost will improve my marriage! I truly value this book as a guide to real family happiness. The positive lessons and true love shown to his children are priceless..
Profile Image for Vinoth Kumar Kannan.
66 reviews6 followers
November 17, 2020
Fast read. Lots of fun moments and the narration has a good flow to it.
It gives a decent insight on the farm life - the happiness and difficulties, antics of animals, financial distress, natural calamities, back-to-back fixing/repairing, etc.
It ends with the author concluding that it was all worth it and may be it really is, we have to try and see for ourselves.
It is indeed inspiring and makes you want a piece of that life.
Profile Image for Theresa Materazzi.
182 reviews5 followers
August 4, 2021
A wonderful story to read!

I grew up in Northern Virginia, and my early years were spent close to where Brad and Nancy had their marvelous adventures.
I felt like I was back in Chantilly as a kid reading this book, I laughed out loud and enjoyed every minute of reading this book. I miss those days when Northern Virginia was still mostly farm land and rolling hills.
This is truly a lovely story to read!
56 reviews
January 18, 2018
Wonderful story!

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It is appropriate for any age level. I can't believe anyone could have a life like this family did. The antics their animals got up to were hilarious! I laughed out loud at some of them. If you love animals and a heart warming story, read this book!👍 👍 👍
January 25, 2018
Such a fun read. I could almost envision (and smell) the farm! I loved the sweet, crazy life of this family and I couldn't stop laughing at the 'green fuzzy slipper' episode. Bradford Smith's love for his family and friends (furry, as well as human) shines through the story and makes the reader part of this wonderful story.
24 reviews
February 11, 2018
Great time to spend...

reading this book. I loved it. Never a dull moment. Every chapter is exciting with a proper mixture of humor and retrospect of life on a farm. The couple in this book were personable and very likeable. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the challenges city folk have with farm life.
9 reviews
March 27, 2019
Good book that you can relate to it you ever lived or worked on a horse farm

Yes I agree with the authors all animals do have their own unique personality just have to live watch and learn them i laughed i cried all in all a great read and thanks for the epilogue that really helped complete the book
Profile Image for Missy Ivey.
521 reviews28 followers
February 17, 2021
I really wanted to LOVE this book. The title, the cover page and the subject matter are all right up my alley. But, the author's interesting story just didn’t capture the humor that I know it was supposed to have. I felt like it was just a story about another city guy who meets up with a country girl, and from there keeps a journal of their transitioning mishaps from city life to farm life. Unfortunately, about halfway through the book, I started counting the pages…a sign that I’m bored. I did like the fact that he included pictures of the characters in his story and a short "where are they now" update at the back of the book.
Profile Image for Sara.
286 reviews
December 18, 2021
As a horse mom and farmer, I loved this book. It was so real with the problems that can occur with horses and farm animals, weather incidents, financial pressures and so much more. Also a beautiful love story and love of family story. Just a feel good read in so many ways.

I think every person who keeps horses at home will love this book. A quick, fun and great read.
13 reviews
January 25, 2022
Delightful read

Loved this book, the horses and dogs and cats are a delight. The steer Pork Chop was better as hamburger! We live in the country and have friends similar to the variety in the book, “working farmer” from generations of farmers and “hobby city farmers “ who have pigs and chickens as pets along with rescue animals. I laughed and shed a tear.

80 reviews
May 11, 2018
Loved it

Enjoyed this book. Awesome. I was laughing the whole time while reading this story although I am sure at the time the antics of the animals were frustrating. But all the love comes shining through and that is what life is about. A balance between work and family.
Profile Image for Diane.
127 reviews2 followers
July 9, 2018
This humorous account of Brad Smith's marriage to horse-loving Nancy is the perfect reading fare for a hot summer day. He grows to love his life in the Virginia countryside as they find themselves raising their 2 daughters along with 3 dogs, several cats, and a rotating number of horses.
50 reviews
January 8, 2020

A wonderfully written book about the joys and headaches of ending up on a small ranch/farm. Easy and entertaining read. You become a part of their crazy adventures and intelligence of animals.
1 review
July 10, 2020
A delightful read!

A true testament to the enrichment of our lives through our connection to and the wonders of animals and kids.

The author captures and does not shy away from all the emotions, challenges, and growth of our lives
Profile Image for Deb.
37 reviews
November 29, 2020
An easy, enjoyable read. As an animal lover, I enjoyed the tales of all the critters they acquired and the unexpected joy the author found living on a farm. Just a nice, uplifting story that I needed.
Profile Image for Gillian Oyston.
79 reviews1 follower
July 29, 2021
Great book

Have really enjoyed reading this book about whimsey farm, it's really well written, the characters are a lovely mixture and interesting. It's fun hoe the horses and dogs all come to the farm and reading about their different characters and what grey get up too.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 54 reviews

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