A charming but realistic look at the modern farming life.



A memoir delivers essays about leaving the rat race behind to start a small farm in Australia.

In 2006, Featherstone (Small Farm Success Australia, 2018, etc.) and her husband left their city jobs to commit to a farming operation on 89 acres outside Nabiac in New South Wales. With their three young children in tow, they approached the venture with curiosity and energy and worked at acquiring new skills. “I’m going to teach myself to be useful,” the author vowed. For instance, she kept bees even though she was allergic to their stings, and many of the straightforward recipes for vegetarian food and all-natural toiletries in the appendix incorporate honey and/or beeswax. They raised chickens, sheep, goats, and cattle to keep the grass under control and sold their products at four farmers markets per month. Eventually, they applied for government funding to make their farm a tourist attraction—a bee farm with insect-friendly plants—but in the meantime they made money by running the place as a “farmstay.” It was a busy life that suited this “hybrid hippy workaholic,” as Featherstone self-deprecatingly describes herself. Her tone throughout is one of good-natured exasperation, starting with their first farmstay guests’ kids’ shooting cap guns at her rabbits. Another highlight is the entertaining story of the German “Wwoofers” (agricultural workers who volunteer in return for room and board), nicknamed “Sour” and “Dour,” who nearly ate them out of house and home and did almost zero work. Many memorable anecdotes feature animals, from an encounter with an Eastern brown snake to the rescue of Daffy the cow from a water hole. Featherstone has an ear for striking and funny turns of phrase, like “Most lambs have a bucolic baa, a sweet, milky tinkle, but this one is Fran Drescher on a megaphone.” The author makes it clear that small-time farming is grueling work for little reward—“The problem with the simple life is it’s false advertising”—and toward the book’s end, a decade on, she’s exhausted. Yet hope remains that sustainability is worth pursuing and things will look up.

A charming but realistic look at the modern farming life.

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9807475-4-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: CapeAble Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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