Read Sheepish: Two Women, Fifty Sheep, and Enough Wool to Save the Planet by Catherine Friend Online


What do you do when you love your farm . . . but it doesn’t love you? After fifteen years of farming, Catherine Friend is tired. After all, while shepherding is one of the oldest professions, it’s not getting any easier. The number of sheep in America has fallen by 90 percent in the last ninety years. But just as Catherine thinks it’s time to hang up her shepherd’s crook,What do you do when you love your farm . . . but it doesn’t love you? After fifteen years of farming, Catherine Friend is tired. After all, while shepherding is one of the oldest professions, it’s not getting any easier. The number of sheep in America has fallen by 90 percent in the last ninety years. But just as Catherine thinks it’s time to hang up her shepherd’s crook, she discovers that sheep might be too valuable to give up. What ensues is a funny, thoughtful romp through the history of our woolly friends, why small farms are important, and how each one of us—and the planet—would benefit from being very sheepish, indeed....

Title : Sheepish: Two Women, Fifty Sheep, and Enough Wool to Save the Planet
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780306818448
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 280 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Sheepish: Two Women, Fifty Sheep, and Enough Wool to Save the Planet Reviews

  • Dashka
    2019-03-28 22:54

    This is one of those books that makes you say, "What is wrong with me that I like this book so much?" I can't explain it, really -- it's about things like sheep and wool, serious farm girl nerd stuff. But Friend is such a witty and engaging writer, plus I just like that she -- like me -- writes fiction, non-fiction, and children's books, which makes her seem multitalented (whereas it just makes me seem like I have a bad case of ADD). If you knit, if you like sheep (in a platonic, non-gross way, as Friend puts it), if you fantasize about farming, if you puzzle over environmental questions about the impact of eating meat and wearing fiber, if you like historical trivia and hilarious farming anecdotes, read this book.

  • jess
    2019-03-24 00:48

    This book is an quick, easy memoir. The subject matter interests me immenesely- a lesbian-run sheep farm is one of my most precious secret dreams. The author is clearly a skilled writer. And yet this book was just "ok" to me. It reads a lot like a blogger's book, and I found out halfway through that the author in fact keeps a blog about her sheep farm. I would guess that a lot of the blog material is given a second life in this published form. Here's one of my favorite passages:We stick by our 'no naming the female sheep' rule. Then Melissa buys two Muscovy ducks, big waddling things that don't quack but sort of whistle in a nonthreatening way. The female proves to be a great mother, so she becomes Mother Duck. The male struts around imperiously waiting for Mama Duck to walk by so he can have sex. I was to name him Oversexed Asshole, but Melissa, being more generous than I am, dubs him Mr. Duck.In moments like this, I enjoyed the book. I wasn't impressed by the structure of the book, though. Many of the chapters were disjointed and there were weak segues between them. The quotes at the beginning of each chapter didn't frame or add to the story. And the story itself was a little slow (she learns to knit. then she learns to make a sock. then she makes another sock. some lambs are born. she has a small fight with her partner. etc) Towards the end of the book, Friend meditates on the "middles" of things - the middle of her life, the middle of her relationship, the middle of the farm - and how they are less exciting than beginnings and hard to feel good about. I thought this was really precious and endearing because I haven't read a lot of lesbians reflecting on their relationships twenty years into it. Despite my affection for many parts of this book, it was a real slag for me to get through due to the aforementioned issues of flow. Consequently, I would recommend it as airplane reading or as your gym book. Also, it's maybe not so great for really tender vegans because they do sell some of their sheep as meat, although most of the book is about the sheep's fiber and Friend's relationship with it and butchering is not a primary part of the story.

  • Gretchen
    2019-04-05 19:44

    I came to like the author as a character over the course of the book, but overall the writing was a reminder of how hard it is to do funny, self-deprecating, engaging memoirs well. The short choppy chapters, short choppy thoughts, and short choppy jokes don't hold together to make a particularly compelling read. I got the feeling that Friend's personal despair and the problems in her relationship were deeper than she really wanted to share in full, making for a weird ricocheting back and forth between her declarations that it was all falling apart and her breezy quips about the humor of farm life. "Fiber freak" that I am, I was interested enough in the topic to stick with it--and it made me appreciate wool as a fabric more than ever--but I don't think I'd recommend it to anyone who wasn't already hooked on sheep, wool, or knitting.

  • May-Ling
    2019-03-30 21:29

    this book was a really fun ride and i'm compelled to throw out my whole wardrobe and replace it all with wool - i mean, i couldn't be happier with all of my merino wool clothing from icebreaker, so why not? i so appreciate all of the wool and sheep trivia i have in my brain as a result of reading this one.i still can't decide if i loved or disliked how short all of the chapters were. instead of flying through the book, it stalled me a bit, but if you like to pick up and read in small bites, this book is ideal for you. it's a wonderful memoir that i was laughing out loud at in many places - you feel like catherine friend is speaking directly to you about sustaining her energy to keep up with the exhausting life of a sheep farmer.

  • John
    2019-03-28 01:33

    Friend is a truly fantastic writer, but I'm deducting a potential fifth star as the book was just too long for me, with my interest starting to flag beyond the halfway point; animal people shouldn't have such a problem. I'll give her a bit of that back though for the way she deftly handles the sexuality issue, so that it's neither hidden "Where's Waldo?" style, nor trumpeted as "Yo! Dykes ahead!" Definitely read Hit by a Farm: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barn first.

  • Nostalgia Reader
    2019-04-10 01:39

    This didn't seem to be sure whether or not it should be a farm memoir, a craft memoir, a history, or an environmental manifesto. Also, even though they were focusing on farming for meat, the fact that they didn't even fathom selling the fiber until many years later was, imo, stupid. As Friend points out, wool is used in a wide variety of objects, so just throwing away (*cringe*) all that fiber every year was just throwing money away. Maybe it was just Friend's hatred of "fiber freaks" and their yarn that she didn't think to look past that until much later? Attempts at self-deprecating humor ended up just making many decisions seem stupid and whiny rather than funny, learnable moments.

  • Kristi
    2019-04-11 17:35

    Sheepish takes us back into the life of Catherine Friend, following the successful memoir Hit By a Farm. More than a tale of rediscovering the joy of working with sheep, Sheepish takes us through several vignettes of life on the farm. In between stories of sheep sex (success and failures), lambings, hay bales and fencing comes reflections on recycling, on her relationship with her partner, Melissa, on writing and on discovering FarmVille. Friend gives highlights in the history of sheep and wool, then her own path to becoming a "fiber freak". Her first fumbling with spinning yarn to handling her first turquoise-dyed roving; from knitting a lot of rectangles to showing off her handknit socks in the airport, Friend learns the love that people have for wool. It is one that she has discovers for herself.I adored Friend's first memoir, Hit By a Farm, and Sheepish is an excellent continuation of her story. I couldn't help but be drawn into Friend's life once again. She is not afraid to poke fun at herself, or the others interacted with through this time period. The theme of middles is a definite part of this tale. As Friend writes, "everyone needs a reason to keep going when they're in the middle." (p. 85) The idea of hitting the point in your life when you question whether or not you are doing the right thing or should be doing something else? Working with what you have, and finding out what you want to do with it, is all part of the journey. Being able to do it with a sense of humor and self-discovery? This makes sharing the story one that brings the reader along for the journey too.Catherine Friend brings another wonderful tale of life on her Minnesota farm. With laughter and a few tears, Friend weaves together her stories like the threads on a loom, and as any fiber freak can tell you, this is a yarn we like to spin!

  • Mary Beth
    2019-04-11 00:52

    This book was very fun to read. It is written with humor. The story is about 2 women who decide to start a farm and end up with a lot of sheep. They sort of figure it out as they go along and somehow manage to survive while doing so. The writing is good and done sort of as essays, although each one moves the book along in a chronologic order . I did enjoy reading this and I was glad to discover that Catherine did get to become a fiber "Freak" as she puts it. She also becomes a mad sock knitter. So altogether a read good read if you like do-it-yourself, laugh at yourself stories.

  • Gretchen
    2019-04-16 17:32

    Whether you're a knitter, spinner, or farmer-wanna be, you'll love this book!

  • Denise
    2019-04-17 00:52

    Sheepish continues the wild , sheep farming tales started in Hit By a Farm. Catherine and her partner Melissa are still living on the farm, but beginning to struggle making ends meet. Their bodies are protesting the heavy farm labor and Catherine still questions her commitment to the farm. But everytime doubts arise there is a warm, cuddly lamb to be bottle fed or some heroic friend stops by to help out. Catherine uses this latest installment in their farming adventures to explore the idea of middles. Why is the middle of something so hard to get through? In the middle of her farm life, in the middle of her relationship, and in the middle of her life she feels marooned, unsure of what she wants and which direction to head in. As in Hit By a Farm, Catherine intersperses hilarious sheep and duck stories with serious reflection on her life and emotions. She also examines her relationship with the environment trying to reconcile her desire to be good to the earth with an utter lack of the shear time and energy required to recycle, compost, and reuse every possible thing. In the end, of course, the answer comes back to sheep.I just love Catherine Friend's non-fiction! She is so down to earth, honest about her faults, and downright funny! Her stories of life on the farm with her tough and stubborn partner are ultimately so heart warming that you can't help but want her to make things work. Her foray into the world of fiber freaks gave me a new, if skeptical appreciation for wool and knitting. I ended this book feeling like I had reconnected with old friends and was pleased to see them doing so well. I will recommend this book to every animal lover, eco freak, knitter, and person just looking for a good laugh.

  • Vanessa
    2019-04-03 01:46

    I find this author's writing style completely captivating. I started reading this book as a fun break from studying for the CPA exam, and ended up spending most of the next day finishing reading the book! We get to see more of life on the farm that Catherine Friend and her partner own together. Her description of the sheep on the farm was endearing. This book follows her discovery of a love of fiber arts, including spinning, dying, and knitting. I enjoy knitting, so I enjoyed her descriptions of her learning the art. The interesting thing is that I got so involved in reading Catherine's experiences with her sheep on her farm that I started fantasizing about how maybe I could get a few sheep and see what it's like to sheer them, spin their wool into yarn, dye it (or not), and knit it into something to wear. Then I remembered...I live in a small apartment in Northern Virginia, for goodness sake! Not to mention the fact that I have no idea how to tend a farm. So, this will forever be a fantasy for me ;) Anyway, you will enjoy reading this book, regardless of if you enjoy the fiber arts or not. I am planning on checking out anything else this author has written - reading her books is a lot of fun!

  • Judy
    2019-04-14 19:51

    Catherine Friend starts life on a sheep friend without farming experience, wearing cotton clothing and no knitting needles. Her memoir explains how that changes through revealing humorous anecdotes and plenty of hard-learned lessons, sore muscles and tears. Friend doesn't skirt issues regarding her own sexual orientation, although she isn't militant about it. Her honesty also shows as she pokes fun at herself regarding her inability to consistently recycle and reuse. I appreciated her openness in relaying her story. It provided a level of comfort for me knowing there weren't going to be any environmental lectures looming as I feared by reading the sub-title. (I'm as concerned as the next person about the environment and do my share to help; I just hate being guilted and wrangled about it.)I found most of Friend's humor funny, but there were a couple of joke lines that kept appearing in the book a bit much. For these, I must sheepishly admit, I wool gladly have proffered the means to have them sheared off as they became baa-adly overused...

  • Jinksb
    2019-04-08 01:55

    I was drawn to this book because I have a friend who has shorn sheep, and I had a mother who, on her death, owned enough wool to save the planet - or at least enough to knit it an eclectic-looking cozy. I was not disappointed. (By the book. Or my friend. Or my mom, for that matter.)Catherine Friend is a reluctant farmer's wife who isn't a big fan of hard labor, dirt, or oogy bodily fluids. But she came to love sheep ("in a healthy, platonic, and non-gross sort of way" as she is fond of saying) and the farming life. She's got an engaging style, and a wonderful sense of humor. I zoomed through "Sheepish" in two days, and wished it had been twice as long. Her previous two books, "Hit by a farm" and "The compassionate carnivore" are now on my to-read list.Go find a copy of "Sheepish." You'll sproing! You'll worfl! And you'll close the book with a better understanding of sheep, the life of small farmers, and fiber freaks.

  • Susan
    2019-03-25 20:28

    Another goodreads member wrote that this author could make a book about watching paint dry entertaining; I think she may be right, in fact, I just ordered a (used) copy of another book of hers (The Compassionate Carnivore), not because I'm on the fence about being a carnivore or anything, I'm just looking forward to reading more of Catherine Friend's writing.Sheepish is the second of her memoirs of being a (reluctant) sheep farmer I've read, and it was immensely enjoyable, written with great good humor, a bit of sadness, angst, spirituality (not religion), and lots of fascinating lore on sheep, shepherds, wool, wool products and then even more on sheep, shepherds,...........I highly recommend this one. It's written in short essaylike chapters, so it's easy to put down and pick up again, although I enjoyed it so much I finished it in a few days. Highly recommended.

  • Amanda
    2019-03-26 18:47

    This was a book I found at the Denver Post sale, and my sheep -- and now WOOL -- fetish won out. I was very pleasantly surprised. Friend is an excellent, funny writer a la Bryson, and her stories of being stuck in the middle (not the beginning of an experience, nor the end) are honest and endearing, making me laugh out loud. The essays are loosely compiled into a narrative of sorts, of finding one's focus and renewing one's energy through growth and creativity. I almost gave this a 5. I really, really liked this book and am going to find her others ... and maybe visit their sheep farm in Minnesota, too.

  • Megan
    2019-03-20 19:39

    If I weren't horribly squeamish about 50% of the tasks required to be a shepherd, this book would have made me want to get some lambies and make some wool!! Each individual story flowed nicely and I laughed out loud a LOT - I love how its a book about two lesbian farmers (one very enthusiastic, the other not so much). My only criticisms are that the super short chapters made the book feel choppy and sometimes I wasn't sure if she was talking about one particular event or the events in general (such as lambing season). I will be looking for her other books for sure, though.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-04-12 17:30

    I read this book because the title made me think of my mommy, and I decided it was time to read something that wasn't fantasy. It was an enjoyable read about farming, raising sheep, and falling into the dangerous world of fiber arts.I now have a greater appreciation of wool and feel like I should go and buy things made with it. (Turns out it's much better for the environment than cotton, doesn't get smelly, wicks moisture very well, and won't let dust mites grow.) However I still feel safe from the fiber arts obsession (sorry mom).

  • Marsha
    2019-03-29 22:52

    I was utterly charmed by this book. I laughed out loud multiple times and felt compelled to read aloud portions to others around me. The writing is personal, hysterically funny in many places, and in others recognizable as a reflection of things in my own life. It's a great read for fiber artists to want to know what a life with animals might be like. This book has encouraged me to love sheep even more...""in a healthy, platonic, and non-gross sort of way" that is.

  • Vashti Braha
    2019-03-26 01:26

    Savored this book cover to cover, slowly. It's layered, contemplative, authentic, and subtly revelatory - my favorite kind of writing.One interesting layer is an exploration of the "middles" of things (of a life, a relationship, a venture such as a farm). I also enjoyed the author's slow, resistant progress toward producing yarn from her sheep. And, her layered self awareness of how she resists. I hope to visit her farm some day.

  • Kathy
    2019-04-05 21:54

    I laughed out loud reading this book, and sometimes laughed until I cried. I don't know if being a knitter made it more enjoyable for me than it might be for others, but I can say I recommend it. The second half has considerably fewer laughs, but lots of information on the benefits of using wool rather than other fibers.

  • Jena Gardner
    2019-03-22 22:31

    I am pretty sure I would be well entertained by Catherine Friend if she were to write a book about watching paint dry. I find her style funny and engaging. I like the way she writes in short vignettes. I really enjoyed this and plan to read her other work as well. I laughed out loud several times in the first few pages alone...give it a try!

  • Donna Jo Atwood
    2019-03-28 18:39

    The subtitle pretty much covers it. There is a bloggish sort of feeling to this book about 1. sheep in general, 2. a specific sheep farm in Minnesota, 3. the women who run the farm, and 4. saving the planet, or not, from global warming. This was a fun read AND very informative. I thank Catherine Friend and Melissa, and all other hard-working farmers out there.

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-28 00:41

    a fun book (true) about 2 women who, in their 30's, bought a farm and started raising sheep. The book opens as they are nearing or in their 60's. Lots of funny and heartwarming stories about their experiences and much interesting information about wool. it made me reconsider my decision to replace wool sweaters with fleece!

  • Debbie
    2019-04-13 23:28

    I enjoyed this book very much. I found the descriptions of life on the farm fascinating. The book became a bit disorganized in the later chapters, but by then I wanted to know what would happen next to the writer, so this was not too annoying.

  • Gregory
    2019-04-19 22:32

    Fun book of essays you will enjoy if you like, as the author says, sheep in a platonic, health, non-gross sort of way - which I do. Laugh out loud on occasion and purely farm nostalgia for me since I've been away from it for so long.

  • Jessica
    2019-03-22 20:31

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this memoir of life on a small sheep farm in Minnesota. Friend actually had me laughing out loud. She shares her trials and tribulations while providing an historic perspective on the wool industry. A Must Read for any and all Fiber Freaks!

  • Antoinette Buchanan
    2019-03-23 18:30

    Knitters, spinners, weavers, tree-change dreamers - read this book! A memoir of Catherine and her wife Melissa's life as sheep (llama, duck, chook and steer) farmers. Humorous and real. And featuring the conversion of a nay-sayer to full on fibre-freak.

  • Jessica
    2019-04-08 21:37

    Loved this just as much as her previous two memoirs, even though her descriptions about aging make me think it might already be too late for me to start my own farm. :) Catherine's warmth and wit draw you into each short chapter--I laughed out loud frequently and already want more.

  • Clare
    2019-04-03 20:52

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! I find her writing style very easy to read, so it's not suprising that I devoured it this weekend.It's also a reality check about farming, aging, responsibilities and creativity all wrapped into one.Highly recommend!

  • Mukeary
    2019-03-24 01:47

    I loved this book! It's a funny, poignant memoir of two women who raise sheep in Minnesota. There's a tad too much political discussion about global warming, etc., to suit me, but that's more a comment on my shallow self than the book itself.