At Home In Dogwood Mudhole (review)
It’s a frequent daydream of mine, to put rentals on tiny lots in my past, and find a *home* somewhere – a place with a little bit of space to stretch, room for a generous garden, and of course, some outbuildings and fencing for whichever animals we chose to bring home. While my daughter is always hankering for a horse, I’d be content with some chickens, a few sheep, and a [secure] place to grow a hog or two… at least to start with.
I’m always envious – and a bit curious – about those who don’t just dream, they actively make their dreams happen. Franklin Sanders from At Home in Dogwood Mudhole, details just that in his new series: the story of how he and his wife, Susan Sanders, moved from suburb to farm, and took their children – and future grandchildren – with them.
Despite Susan Sanders’ rule that they should “acquire nothing that eats”, the Sanders add a great many pets and farm animals to their life. Throughout the story, they gain dogs, chickens, horses, cows, pigs, ducks, and sheep. While living through both the joys – and the challenges – of farm life, they discover and share the rewards of life on a small farm. Many times, author Franklin Sanders is able to tie their real-life experiences to a greater understanding of family. community, and faith.
At Home In Dogwood Mudhole is a unique sort of book; in it, the author has collected personal letters he’s written over the seventeen-year span of his The Moneychanger newsletter. Via the diary-like format, heavy with internal thoughts, the reader is given an insight not always achieved through a narrative tale.
I must admit, At Home In Dogwood Mudhole isn’t something that I would have normally chosen for myself, at least not at retail. In the first place, I don’t read much in the way of autobiography, and in the second, my first impression of the blurbs would have been along the lines of “interesting, but not something that belongs on my absolutely-must-read-now” list. And my must-read-now list is pretty long these days, so I likely never would have returned to it.
However. It *did* end up in front of me, and I’m pleased that it did, for a variety of reasons. It’s entire existence is a solid reminder that, yes, no matter how unrealistic it may seem right now, there *is* a way to move away from the dependent-on-others city lifestyle, and return to a more sustainable way of living.
Also, it’s filled with constant, matter-of-fact confidence that all we encounter in this life, good or bad, has a reason for happening – and at the heart, most of those reasons are to teach us something. We might understand the instruction now; we might never understand. It’s always up to us, though, to at least be open to that understanding, and to accept it if it comes.
Such is the way of life, I believe, and it greatly surprised me to find such solid assurance as an undertone to At Home In Dogwood Muddle; that quiet, yet potentially so strong, faith and *knowing*, well, it isn’t something that we encounter the peace or grace of, anywhere near frequently enough!
Nothing That Eats (vol. 1) has convinced me; I need to put vol. 2, Best Thing We Ever Did on my reading list… and make certain that it rises to the top.
There are sample chapters of both Vol. 1, Nothing That Eats, and Vol. 2, Best Thing We Ever Did, viewable online. Read chapters Pig Persuader (vol. 1) and Home Alone Milking (vol. 2) here; be aware these may take a moment to open, they’re PDF links!
At Home in Dogwood Mudhole, Vol. 1: Nothing That Eats, may be purchased in either paperback or ebook formats. The paperback is $22.95, while your choice of Kindle, ePub, or PDF is $16.95.
Pricing is the same for Vol. 2, Best Thing We Ever Did. The paperback is now shipping, and PDF format is available; Kindle and ePub will be ready in late November.