Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Book Review: How to be a Perfect Farm Wife by Lorna Sixsmith

 

 
You have to look closely, but it's there. Wedged between my Italian dictionary (learning a foreign language at 56? What was I thinking?!?) and my Western Civilization Text, (snooze-time) sits one of the best books I've ever read. By "best" I mean most humorous, most helpful, most honest, most absolutely human.

Most of you already know this, but farming is hard. See my last post for my own personal whine on this topic. But the author of this book, "How to be a Perfect Farm Wife," is a woman who doesn't just introduce problems; she gifts her readers with real workable solutions and she does it without being afraid of getting her Wellies all mucked up.

 
The author, Lorna Sixsmith of Garrendenny Ireland, and I, have been blog buddies now for years. Sadly we have yet to meet in person. We tried this summer while I was studying at NUI Galway but schedules and finals would not co-operate, which was probably best because I know she was working like a fiend at that time to complete this second publication of hers. Recently released, its now available for purchase and so worth the minimal investment required.

This well organized book is part How-to-Manual, part Self-Help and part oh my God, did she really just say that? Her sense of humor is self deprecating in the most positive way and her realistic approach to a tough and busy life is loads of fun. In Part One for example she prepares us for the day when money earmarked for a special event gets spent instead on a manure spreader (been there, smelled that) and in Part Six  she tells us how to (allegedly) forge our partners signatures. Good advice all.

Although the text is the perfect smaller size (5" by 8") to carry in a purse, tool belt, or feed sack it still contains a huge amount of information in its 230 pages.  Granted there are fun times to be had in the reading; I personally never get tired of the "Irish Mammy" sections, but there is within these pages a wonderful history lesson as well.  The role of farming in Ireland in general, and the role of farm wives in particular, is presented in part via actual newspaper clippings for wives. Not for wives to read, I mean men looking for wives to marry based on...get this...the size of their acreage. Oh man, those ads boil my blood and make me giggle at the same time; they make fabulous social commentary of the times.  Farm partners have come a very long way over the decades, not just in Eire but here in the U.S. as well, and Lorna does an excellent job of spelling out the challenges of either sex who might be sheep deep in the profession.

Most appreciated was Lorna's ability to address both the seemingly silly, i.e. being wise enough NOT to ask your farm partner if your bum looks big in a particular outfit, and the crucially important advice such as how not to get a divorce. When your farmer hubby asks for a meal before you've finished the last farm task, she tactfully suggests you quietly had him the potato peeler. Doing it with a stabbing motion is entirely optional.

Filled with recommendations, anecdotes, recipes, historical content and useful hands on advice, "How to be a Perfect Farm Wife" by Lorna Sixsmith would be a great Christmas (or birthday or St. Patrick's Day or National Alien Abductions Day) gift to any farm wife, farm love, farm lover, farmer lover, farmer wife wannabee, etc..etc...It is so much more than a collection of interesting stories and useful advice; it is also testimony to those who make their living in agriculture, a skill millions of people rely on, yet few fully understand, let alone appreciate. Small family farms are disappearing every day, here, in Ireland, all over the world, but this hemorrhaging of talented individuals, the experts in land and animal management, the farmers, can be slowed, maybe even reversed with enough community support. Lorna understands all that and so will you after reading, "How to be a Perfect Farm Wife."

There ends my review, I hope you found it useful. Because I am the last in line of Lorna's Book Blog Tour I'd like to redirect you to her site so you can read other blogger reviews as well. Have fun!
http://www.lornasixsmith.com/book-blog-tour/

7 comments:

  1. A huge thank you for such an engaging review Donna, I'm really delighted that you enjoyed it so much. We do have to meet in person some day!

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  2. How's it going Donna? Hope things are progressing.

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  3. This sounds like a book I would really enjoy. I'm going to see if our library will order it.

    My own book news is that Critter Tales is finally done! Drop by my blog to help me celebrate and to enter my giveaway!

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