The Bookworm Sez
‘Barnyard Confidential’ belongs on your bookshelf

December 13th, 2012    Author: Administrator    Filed Under: Opinion

“Barnyard Confidential” by various authors, edited by Melinda Keefe; c.2012, Voyageur Press $21.99 / $23.99 Canada; 240 pages

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

There’s only ever been one place where your heart belongs.

It’s the place where four cars on the dirt road is “traffic.” It’s where your co-workers wear leather because they were born with it, probably in a straw bed spread on a concrete floor. It’s where 9-to-5 hours are somebody’s idea of a joke, you’re intimately familiar with the body parts of animals you never thought you’d be intimately familiar with, and the “rat race” only happens in the granary, dang it.

Yep, your heart belongs in the country and it always has. So why not spend some reading time there, too, with the book “Barnyard Confidential” by various authors, edited by Melinda Keefe.

Folks who live in the country are exceptionally fortunate.

In the country, people visit, go courting, and do a lot of porch sitting. There’s quilting (oftentimes in a group), harvesting (ditto) and lots of fresh, homegrown meals on the table, invitations welcome, thanks.

Terri Schlichenmeyer

For the mechanically-minded, the country is a bounty of goodness.

There are augers on farms and ranches, the use of which will give you “a fanatical hatred of shovels.” You’ll find branding irons, always accompanied by the south end of a calf and the words, “Look out!” You’ll find all kinds of tractors, some in one form of “fix” or another – which leads us to one of the most interesting places in the country: the machinery graveyard.

There are buildings in the country that you’d probably never find anywhere else; a corn crib, for one, because where else would you store your corn? You’ll sometimes find a mill out near a pond and sometimes, it works. You’ll find all kinds of sheds in the country, as well as hoppers, granaries, and outhouses.

The country is where you pick up after your animals, only to cast it all over the ground again. It’s a place where kids, dirt, and chores all go naturally together. Where a farmer or rancher must know “about 150” different trades and professions to run his spread right. It’s where baling twine and barbed wire are multipurpose tools.

And it’s a place of miracles, as anyone who’s ever held a baby chick, watched a newborn colt, birthed a lamb, or seen a new Mama cow can attest.

Surely, someone at some time or another has asked you why you live in the country. If you didn’t have a quick answer, “Barnyard Confidential” gives you dozens of reasons from A to Z.

Flip through this book and you’ll find pictures that will bring back memories. Stop on a page and learn about maple syrup, electric fences, manure, and farmer’s dress codes. Read Michael Perry’s musing on his father’s sheep. Learn how to talk like a farmer. See Terry Chamberlain’s warning about country music, Ben Logan’s words on a farm kitchen, Patricia Penton Leimbach’s thoughts on junk, and E.B. White’s reasons why you shouldn’t procrastinate.

And that goes for this fun, light-reading little book: get it. Don’t wait, because “Barnyard Confidential” really belongs on your bookshelf.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books.

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