Hit By A Farm


Recently, I stumbled across a book called Hit By A Farm by Catherine Friend while searching around on Amazon. I impulsively downloaded it, which is known as The Curse of the Kindle, also known as immediate gratification disease, but it’s the first book that has made my addictive reading list since the Little House book a while back. I stayed up a little too late on a number of nights inhaling it.

Hit By A Farm is Friend’s memoir of her experiences after she’s talked into buying a 53-acre farm in Minnesota with her partner, Melissa. Neither of the women know much about farming going in. They take a very organized approach to their preparations, yet find over the course of their adventures what everyone who buys a farm finds out: You can’t prepare for a farm!

Still, their preparations are admirable. They start out by settling in a small town, getting their country bearings. They research different breeds of animals and find land. They build a house on their new farm and buy books about farming. They go to fairs and meetings and field days. They take a hands-on class about raising sheep.

They take a hands-on class about raising sheep. BEFORE THEY GET THE SHEEP!

Such awesome planning is beyond my ken.

Then they buy 50 ewes and begin a sheep operation as well as establish a small vineyard. Eventually, their farm expands to include chickens, ducks, geese, llamas, and goats. I found it fascinating how they graft any motherless lambs to the goats (which is the reason they keep the goats). I was also really impressed with the stories about their guard llamas. If llamas weren’t so expensive, I’d run right out and get one.

Without even taking a class about llama-raising!

Because you know me!

It’s a good thing I don’t have enough money for a llama!

Farming had never been Friend’s dream, by the way. It was her partner’s dream. Friend is a writer, and the distraction a farm presents to her writing goals is a familiar one to me. The demands of a farm will suck you in, and Friend often feels as if she’s drowning as the farm takes over her life. At some points in the book, particularly at the beginning of their farm journey, they take some high-maintenance approaches. Whether it’s hauling chicken tractors every day, constantly moving electric net fencing for rotational grazing, or obsessing over every pregnant ewe, I sometimes had the urge to tell them to calm down, but balance is something they have to learn on their own. No matter how meticulously they plan, sometimes they can’t stop a sheep from getting sick and dying. And all the instructions in the world can’t stop them from planting 200 vines upside down. I think most of all, they learn that they’re human, and there is nothing more forceful on a farm than that truth. They struggle with the farm, with their relationship, and with themselves, in the end coming to the acceptance that none of it will ever be perfect and that that’s okay.

If you’re thinking about buying a farm in the future, I recommend this book for the methodical approach Friend and her partner take to starting a farm. If you have no plans whatsoever for buying a farm, I recommend this book for the humorous and heartbreaking adventure of their story. One of the things I loved about the book was Friend’s honesty. There is no sugar-coating of the hardships entailed, both physical and emotional. Toward the end of the book, which covers the first 10 years of their farm, she notes, “The things that went right just weren’t funny enough or traumatic enough to remember.”

I enjoyed the book so much, I found Catherine Friend’s website and wrote her an email to ask her if she would be willing to provide a giveaway of signed copies of Hit By A Farm and her follow-up book, Sheepish. Luckily for us, she said yes!

You can find Catherine Friend’s website here and her blog here.

If you want to see more about the book on Amazon, you can find Hit By A Farm here and Sheepish here.

For a chance to win: Leave a comment on this post and let me know you want in the draw! One winner will be drawn by random comment number to receive Hit By A Farm and Sheepish. Eligible entry cut-off is midnight Eastern (U.S.) time tonight (August 11). This post will be updated with the winner by 9 a.m. Eastern (U.S.) time tomorrow (August 12). Return to this post to claim the prize if your name is drawn.

NOTE: You must be registered to comment. If you’re not registered, you can register here. If you’re already registered but not logged in, go here to log in.

UPDATE 08/12/11: The winning comment number for the signed set of books, drawn by random.org, is comment #30, KristinaMTT. Email me at CITRg[email protected] with your full name and address for shipping!



  1. middlemamma says:

    :happyflower: I would love to read this book! Please add me to the drawing! Thank you so much!

  2. perry says:

    I would love to win a copy of these books. I have enjoyed your experiences so much It would be very interesting to see how these two women approached such a massive undertaking.

  3. Linda G. says:

    I would love a copy of both books. My daughter raises lambs through 4-H and we would both love more information about how other people raise their animals. It sounds wonderful. :happyflower:

  4. Sonia says:

    Oh Yes!! Put my name in the hat!

  5. Evelyn says:

    if I don’t win it, I’m so buying it πŸ™‚

  6. collector1 says:

    Please enter me in the drawing — thanks so much to you and Catherine for the opportunity

  7. buckeyelady says:

    Please enter Me. Thanks.

  8. twiggityNDgoats says:

    Sounds like great reading. Put my name in the hat too!

  9. TRUDY says:

    Sounds like a good read…put my name in the pot,please!

  10. Cheryl LeMay says:

    Sounds like a book I’d like to read. Please enter me too.

  11. cincyjojo says:

    I want to be “Hit By A Farm”!!!! Hit me, Hit me!!!!

  12. Windswept Farm says:

    This sounds like my farm life 3 years in. CB

  13. Anita says:

    I’d love the chance to read either of those books – please put me in the drawing for the freebie!

  14. sruszkowski says:

    ME ME!! Choose me!!!! I would love to read this book. πŸ™‚

  15. twoturkey says:

    :fairy: I would also like to win this book. I love to read and this book sounds so interesting.

    Mrs. Turkey

  16. kellytorrey says:

    Please include me in the drawing! Thank you!

  17. Sheila Z says:

    Sold me with the book review.

  18. Rah says:

    Oh, what a wondrful opportunity! Please include me. Oh, and I am your sister in the Kindle Downloading Sorority!

  19. STracer says:

    Sounds like a great book. Yes I am interested in getting a copy. I am just finishing another of this type by Michael Perry – “Coop: A Family, A Farm, and the Pursuit of One Good Egg”. Very funny book!

  20. Hlhohnholz says:

    Reminds me of a book I read recently called The Dirty Life by Kristen Kimball. Except she’s a city girl that marries a farmer and they move to nowhereville Connecticut (I think?) to start a farm. Anyway, I’d love a copy!

  21. enjay says:

    I have had this book on my wish list for a while now, it’d be nice to win a copy. Please enter me πŸ™‚

  22. xlibbax says:

    I would LOVE a copy of either of these books! They sound fabulous. Thank you for sharing!

  23. Jackie Satterfield says:

    Sounds very interesting. I would love to win.

  24. Jennifer S says:

    I would love to win these books!

  25. VABigMama says:

    Enter me please! Thanks!

  26. pensiero says:

    Sounds like a book I would love to read!

  27. ColleenSmith says:

    Sounds like a great book, and one that I could really use right now!

  28. KristinaMTT says:

    Sounds interesting! Please count me in.

  29. rurification says:

    Count me in!

  30. momma6cat says:

    I am so glad to have to have stumbled upon your blog and Facebook page! Love reading about your “adventures” and would love these books as well!

  31. wvbetty says:

    Count me in. And if I don’t win, I’ll probably end up buying the book any way!

  32. babyberry says:

    I would love a copy!!!!

  33. prayingpup says:

    Years ago, I decided to raise a lamb – in town, no fence, no food, no idea about what I was doing! I had her with a dog collar, on a leash, eating the lawn . . . . what what I thinking? Well, I came to my senses after 1 day and gave her to a sheep farmer – probably a very thankful little lamb! Ah . . . lessons learned . . .
    Please enter me for the drawing!

  34. GA_in_GA says:

    I love ready about the farming life, and will be putting both books on my to-read list. My local library is a great resource . . . I try to avoid the Kindle Instant Gratification urge by going online and putting a hold on books at my library.

    One of the the most interesting books I read this year, was “See You in a Hundred Years,” by Logan Ward. Also enjoyed “The Dirty Life.” I highly recommend “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” by Kingsolver. If I can pinpoint the beginning of my own journey, it began when I read AVM.

  35. hershiesgirl says:

    Sounds like a good read, no matter ‘why’ you chose to read it! Sign me up! Jackie

  36. AuldGreyMare says:

    I love that the author doesn’t try to make it sound easier than it is! I would really like to be put in for the draw. Thanks to you both for making this available!

    Lynda “The Auld Grey Mare”

  37. luvthecountry says:

    Would love to win these! Add me to the drawing please.

  38. Hugh says:

    The more you plan, the more interesting the unexpected will be. Count me in. Thanks.

  39. CasieD says:

    Add me in for the drawing!! Sounds like a great couple of books!
    Off to check out their blog.

  40. Julia says:

    Please drop my name in the hat! Thank you Suzanne, and thank you Catherine Friend.

  41. NancyD in NH says:

    I need to read this book as I am planning the same sort of thing!
    Suzanne- contact a llama rescue group- you can probably get one for very little money.

  42. Merryment says:

    This could be us! We’re moving to a farm in 4 years (see?! We’ve been planning, down to going to goat school in a couple of years). We need all the help we can get. That’s why we need this book, which we’ll buy if we don’t win it. But it would be nice to win! :happyflower:

  43. BeppyCat says:

    I already own Hit by a Farm (which I loved), but I would love a copy of Sheepish if it happens to be my lucky day! Thanks for the giveaway.

  44. Kathi says:

    Yes, please include me in the drawing.

    Sounds like a great read. Thank you!

  45. Liz Pike says:

    Yes, put me in the drawing please!! I jumped over to her blog, and happened to read her blog post on the Jane West doll–I had one growing up too!! Kindred spirit immediately!

    I can’t get enough reading about others on farms, especially from women in their later years. I’ll be reading her books even if I don’t win!

  46. Rockyshore says:

    I’ve been reading her blog for a while now and I love her sence of humor. I also wish I could knit socks the way she does. Sign me up please! Thanks so much to you and Katherine for offering this give-away!

  47. dfpanter says:

    Please enter me into this drawing! Thank you! πŸ™‚

  48. fogebotom says:

    Though growing up on a farm, my husband, the city boy, has officially been “hit by a farm”. I’ve love to have a copy of this book for him!

  49. quietstorm says:

    Sounds like something I’d love to read!!! I need a book on deck for when I finish “The Help”…please put my name in the hat & good luck to everyone!

  50. oneoldgoat says:

    I’d love this book – please include me!

  51. sandrava says:

    The book sounds like a lot of fun, thanks for the chance to win it! Say hi ti Clover for me…I think she needs a cookie… :sheep:

  52. SumrBreeze says:

    Please add me to the drawing πŸ˜€

  53. DeniseG says:

    I’d like to be included in the drawing. I need a reason to sit and read for a while. This sounds like a great story. :happyflower:

  54. Kat43082 says:

    :snoopy: I would love a copy of the book.

  55. merng says:

    I’m always looking for a good read – especially one that comes highly recommended. Thanks Suzanne!

  56. Bonnie S. says:

    I would love to win and read this book! Count me in, please.

  57. Pete says:

    Oh, yes, either of these would be a most excellent addition to the library! Thanks to both the author and to you, Suzanne!! :happypuppy:

  58. lauren says:

    I would love a copy πŸ™‚

  59. tinamanley says:

    I would love to read these books! I have a Kindle and I had a llama for a month!

  60. gingergoat says:

    Count me in!


  61. sam says:

    I would love to read the books. You really do need a LLama, just think of the stories you could tell then.


  62. marymac says:

    Please enter me for the drawing!

  63. Shelly says:

    Please add me to the drawing!!

  64. alosyu says:

    Since I will never have a farm, much as I might like one, this book may be my vicarious way of doing so. Yes, I would love to win this.

  65. momtoadiva says:

    I would love a copy! Please enter me in the drawing.

  66. Bells says:

    I headed over and started to read her blog – I know I would like this book!

  67. judyktw says:

    I would love a copy–! Thanks!

  68. brookdale says:

    I would love to receive the books! Thanks to you, and to the author.

  69. MalagaCove says:

    This sounds great, I would love to read these books! Thanks for asking her to donate them.


  70. IowaCowgirl says:

    “The demands of a farm will suck you in, and Friend often feels as if she’s drowning as the farm takes over her life”…ha. this is my life!

    Thanks Suzanne for the chance to win this book. I’ve heard of this and it sounds really good!

    Thanks to GA in Ga for the recommendations and to STracer for the other book ideas. I love reading about other women’s farm experiences too. Some might enjoy Linda Hasselstrom’s books….I know I could really relate to her book “Windbreak”.

  71. doxie says:

    I’d love to read this book, sounds interesting, cause I love to hear how others do their farm. Love the title. LOL

  72. absinthe says:

    I would love to read these books! Please consider me.

  73. Atlas farm says:

    I would love to win a copy of the book, please add me to the drawing! Thanks!

  74. DebbieInMemphis says:

    I’d love to read these books. Thanks to Catherine Friend and Suzanne for the chance!! Please enter me πŸ™‚

  75. jbbtjbbt says:

    Sounds like a great book! I would love to read it!

  76. kmcc325 says:

    Please put my name in the drawing!

  77. Landodixy says:

    Would love to win a copy!

  78. holstein woman says:

    Suzanne, I’ll help NancyD. Sometimes you can get them FREE on Craigslist.org.
    I would like to own both so I could read them. I do it the old fashioned way, ha No Kindle here.

  79. Miss Nellie says:

    I would love to win one of the books. Please put my name in the pot.

  80. ashmmorgan2 says:

    My husband and I just purchased and moved onto a 3 acre farm a couple weeks ago. We’re hoping to eventually start up a small scale chicken/produce/milk product operation and I would love love LOVE to read either of these books. I just can’t get enough real life startup farm stories. That’s why I’m totally addicted to Chickens in the Road!

  81. MrsC says:

    Sounds like a book I need to read!


  82. Karo says:

    After reading the reviews on Amazon, I definitely want to win! Pick me!

  83. Minna says:

    I’d love to read this book!

  84. mjpeters says:

    Though I’m 99.9% certain that I’ll never try farm living, I’d love to read the book. Count me in!

  85. cabynfevr says:

    I would love to win a copy! :sheepjump:

  86. Raiquee says:

    I would like to be entered for both books please!!! :sheep:

  87. HomesteadJen says:

    Please include me! (But even if you don’t, I am buying a copy for my library. You sold me.)

  88. RobynAnderson says:

    Enter me please! πŸ™‚


  89. denisestone says:

    I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to win either book!

  90. Dreaming of Poultry says:

    We are looking to buy a farm… I’m sure this book could help!!

  91. kpbarnett says:

    :chicken: The books sound amazing! Please put my name in.

  92. joykenn says:

    Count me in on the drawing! I’ve heard of Greyhound rescue groups and various other animal rescue groups but Llamas? Ok, I guess I can add another animal to my list of “never let certain people buy one of these”. Sigh. They are fascinating looking animals, though.

  93. ebuscemi says:

    Sounds like a great book!

  94. Pippi says:

    After seeing the pictures of Annabelle’s puppy, I’m completely smitten and convinced that I need to get some sheep! Please include me in the draw — maybe the books will shake some sense into me before I do something drastic. Like actually get one.

  95. denny144 says:

    It sounds like a female version of the Beekman Boys, which I love.

  96. Debbie says:

    I love to read and these books sound like somethinf I would really enjoy so…please pick me!

  97. Diane in Upstate NY says:

    Don’t worry about entering me in the drawing. I read Hit by a Farm about two years ago (and then got sheep anyway!), and then read Sheepish (after I got sheep) and they are two of the best books I have ever read. There were some passages in Sheepish that were so good that I marked them so I can go back and read them again and again.

  98. 4jsMOM says:

    This sounds like a book I would enjoy reading. Count me in the drawing.

  99. Blyss says:

    You just can’t make up funny farm experiences… the animals and Experience do that for you! I would love to read these books!
    Also, Suzanne, you can get a llama for practically nothing now. They are great for wool too! I traded a pair of lambs for a pair of llamas that were sterile. About 6 months later I had three llamas, but that’s another funny story for another time! However, I have always said, if I could pick the farm animal to have again, just to have one, it would be a llama. They don’t escape or challenge fences, are very clean (go to the bathroom in one place only,) give great wool, and will attack ANYTHING threatening their herd without being trained to do so. They are just wonderful guard animals by instinct. Keep your eyes and ears open… I bet you could get a great gelding for cheap or free!

  100. mtnmedx says:

    Sign me up! Sign me up!


  101. jeepdriver says:

    I love how to contact total strangers just to give us the chance to win some books….they sound like really good reads. Sign me up please.

  102. moorege says:

    We already have the farm, might as well have the book too! πŸ™‚

  103. Vicki in So. CA says:

    Oh, how I would love a copy of these books. Please count me in for a chance to win. Thanks so much for the opportunity!

  104. joeyfulnoise says:

    They sound like great reads – enter me in the drawing – but I will still check it out on Amazon

  105. BunnyRuth says:

    Thanks so much for this book review. I had not heard of the book but would love to get a copy. Please include me in the drawing. If I’m not lucky enough to receive a copy I will definitely go out and buy one!
    Ruth in NH

  106. Grouchymama says:

    We started with two goats about six years ago and now we have 11 goats. They have maneuvered their way through four different types of fences. We finally put in cattle panels and added a herding dog. The herding dog wants to herd them in straight lines, then in circles and then to the corner…over and over all day long if they escape. Escaping just isn’t worth it to the goats when they have to be herded all day long, they are exhausted. Whew! Would love to have a copy of this book. Thanks.

  107. Books4me107 says:

    Ooo! Pick me! Pick me! I’m just sure my dream of having a farm will one day come true. In the mean time though, I can drool over your farm Suzanne. I’m such a planner too. I would probably attend classes like she did. Before having any actual animals. πŸ˜†

  108. Estella says:

    Would love to read the books!

  109. SusanH says:

    I would love to read this book! Love your blog and wonderful photos of your animals!!

  110. Lana says:

    Please enter me in the drawing! I live in the city, but would so love to be in the country on a small farm. I can at least read about it for now!


  111. linda0210 says:

    Count me in, too!

  112. [email protected] says:

    I live vicariously through you! I have always wanted to live on a farm, but, this never came to fruition. My husband and I reside in a suburb of Manhattan…OK, stop laughing! We are in a small area of Harrison known as Purchase. There was a time (when I was young) when people lived on large estates along Purchase Street. They had stables, barns, chicken coops, horses, goats…it was lovely. Today, the area is full of new, McMansions. Just one estate gave way to at least 30 homes with huge yards, pools, etc. There were many estates. It is so sad.
    I thought that I would be able to have chickens because one of the neighbors had a rooster. But, I did not have enough land for chickens or goats. Instead, I ended up with four dogs and seven cats, an iguana, turtles, a guinea pig and hamsters. Now, I am down to two dogs and looking for a change.
    I so enjoy your stories, and, reading about farm life. I would love to read these books. I shall wait for tomorrow to see what happens with your contest: then I will be placing an order with Amazon, depending the outcome of your contest.
    Happy Farming! Blessings!!!

  113. justdeborah2002 says:

    I would love to win these books….I’m trying to convince my partner to buy a smallholding with me. Maybe if he read these as well, it might help with the convincing! :purpleflower:

  114. Merino Mama says:

    This book sounds great. Sign me up for the drawing.

  115. mintamichelle says:

    Yes Please, put me in the hat!!

  116. Angela P says:

    Fantastic book. Did someone mention they needed or wanted a Llama?? Another good choice, love our JEff the Llama. Go get yourself a Llama Suzanne!

  117. Cousin Sheryl says:

    Suzanne, I would like to read the books. I wish I could just “Borrow” yours but in the age of Kindle that is a little impossible?!

    Sounds like a good read.

    PS – Don’t know if you consider me eligible. It’s OK if I’m not.

  118. cmbender says:

    Yes, please!

  119. gardnerh says:

    They both sound like fantastic books. Please include me in the drawing. thanks

  120. dma2195 says:

    Either books sounds fantastic. Thank you both for offering us this chance. Here’s hoping I win.

  121. Beecie says:

    Please please please please. This sounds like a great book!!

  122. laurie hamar says:

    Sounds like something I should read as we plan our future farm. Count me in. Thanks.

  123. Leah's Mom says:

    Please enter me! Sounds like a book I’d love to read :yes: !

  124. heidinawrocki says:

    This is on my wish list on Amazon! Count me in πŸ™‚

  125. Leaves of the fall says:

    I LOVE memoirs, especially about this subject!!~ Would love to be entered!!

    With the economy down, this is a buyer’s market for llamas and alpacas. πŸ™‚ And, I’ve heard it doesn’t take much more than a large dog to feed them. Not to mention that fabulous fiber!! And poo for the garden. πŸ™‚ No, I don’t have any but would love an alpaca or ten. πŸ™‚

  126. TwistedStitcher says:

    I’ve been told that snakes like chicken eggs so that did in my dreams of keeping chickens in my suburban back yard but maybe what I really need is a llama? Please enter me in your drawing as I am living out my farming dreams vicariously through everyone else with a farm. Thanks.

  127. knititblack says:

    Those books sound AWESOME! πŸ™‚ My friend Lesa and I just spent a few hours in Barnes and Noble reading all the farming magazines together – we’re both planning farms of our own in the near future!

  128. boulderneigh says:

    How could I not want these books after such a wonderful review? Sign me up!

  129. Valerie says:

    I NEED this book. Because I live in Minnesota; because I live in rural Minnesota; because I live on a farm; because I’ve had sheep goats AND A LLAMA!!

    Side note to Suzanne: many llamas may be had for next to nothing at an animal auction. Alpacas, the llama’s little cousin, are expensive because their wool is so prized, but llamas usually aren’t expensive. And they are a wonderful pet.

  130. mafong says:

    Please enter me in the drawing. The books sounds wonderful.

  131. farmershae says:

    I would love to be entered. I have a tendency to go off half-cocked, so I’m sure I won’t learn anything about planning, but I do love a good farm story!!!

  132. Wendy says:

    This sounds like a fascinating read!

  133. patricialynn says:

    Oooo, please sign me up for the drawing! The book sounds fascinating.

  134. rainss61 says:

    oh :woof: please put me in the drawing suzanne!! :shimmy: and I should have a good chance-since there are only a couple others in the running!!! :snoopy:

  135. ksredhead says:

    These sound like two books I would LOVE to read! Count me in, please.

  136. alba says:

    I SO WANT A LLAMA OR A ALPACA Sheep( annabell & mini belle) clover nutmeg and babies.
    My love for Farming began when I fist saw a picture of Clover & gang going for cookies.
    Why dont you have a book Susanne I think you are BRILLIANT. Your photos & comments have me in stitches it also make me come back EVERY SINGLE DAY. Even DH is now asking if anything exciting has happened on the farm….
    please put my name in the hat for the book.
    Have a good one Ann/alba

  137. quiltinggranna says:

    Sounds so interesting. Would love to read it.

  138. maryellen51 says:

    Please enter me in the drawing,too. I would love to read these books.

  139. LaChienne says:

    That sound wonderful! I would love a copy of that book. I plan on starting up a small farm once I finally get done with school.

  140. Ilovetoreadbooks says:

    I would love to read these books. Thanks for the opportunity to win. I so enjoy reading about your adventures. Keep up the good work.

  141. CindyP says:

    Would love to read these books! I live vicariously through you, might as well add Catherine!

    Found a few llamas on craigslist for $200….just saying πŸ˜‰

  142. wannabefarmer says:

    OH…been reading alot but first post. Midlife 2nd marriage to veterinarian 2 years ago & just now looking for FARM & acreage! Want goats, sheep & dairy cows (and guineas, peacocks, and chickens). Need to learn to make cheese and soap !!!! Always laugh out loud about your animals and farm life. Just starting to look for acreage and would love hit by the farms & sheepville book . corporate america not worth the stress!

  143. EightPondFarm says:

    I would love to win this, but it sounds like a “must read” regardless.

  144. Liz says:

    :sun: I need a new book to read! Enter me please!
    Sounds very interesting.

  145. Hrist says:

    Aw, NancyD beat me to it, I was going to suggest a llama rescue. Oh well, enter me in the draw for the book anyways πŸ™‚

  146. Turtle Mom says:

    I would absolutely LOVE to read these books! Count me in, please!!!

  147. momma6cat says:

    Congrats to KristinaMTT. :snoopy:

  148. KristinaMTT says:

    Thank you! I was reading her blog and she is neat and entertaining. Thanks again.

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