HOMEGROWN Book Review: “Farm Anatomy” by Julia Rothman
Should fresh eggs sink or float when placed in water? How many square feet are in an acre? Can you identify the anatomy of a corn stalk? Find out these answers and more in Julia Rothman’s book Farm Anatomy: The Curious Parts & Pieces of Country Life.
Image courtesy of Amazon
Exquisitely illustrated and full of simple descriptions and definitions, Farm Anatomy is a lovely primer for newbies hungry for a taste of life on the farm. The pure aesthetic beauty of this book is reason enough to spend an afternoon curled up under a handmade quilt pouring over the pages. Julia’s hand drawn and painted illustrations are a charming accompaniment to her morsels of knowledge on everything from topsoil and tractors to pig anatomy and dry curing.
The book starts out, literally, from the ground up. Chapter 1, Breaking Ground, explores our soil and progresses through barn construction, farm machinery and tools, plant taxonomy, animal identification and care, cooking, crafting, and everything in between.
Julia provides handy, straightforward how-to’s on making simple crafts like rag rugs and corn husk dolls, to more advanced recipes and skills like syrup-making and pressure canning. It’s refreshing to have the basics of cheese making sketched out in 11 easy steps, but I wouldn’t use it this as the be-all and end-all manual for DIY cheese making at home. It’s a little more difficult than salting the curds and waxing the cheese! I truly enjoy the simple beauty of the book and it has inspired me to hone my own country skills.
(Click here to view the full-size excerpt)
One of my favorite sections was on shearing sheep. While I’ve seen it done on the farm, I’ve always wanted to learn the skill behind raising sheep, shearing them, skirting the fleece, grading the wool, and spinning it into yarn. Julia uses her clear voice and artwork to simply explain the process. I wonder if it’s as easy as it seems to card wool and make yarn…probably not, but Julia’s presentation sure makes this work look mighty appealing!
(Click here to view full-size excerpt)
The boiled-down facts and figures that complement Julia’s quirky artwork make Farm Anatomy a perfect book to read with your kids or to inspire daydreams of country living in yourself. The lovely illustrations and clean and simple language give readers a sneak peek of the inner workings of a homestead without bogging you down with technical jargon. This book is a delight – and will definitely make those of us reading it on the subway yearn for a farm of our own!
The giveaway has ended **We’re giving a copy of Farm Anatomy to one lucky HOMEGROWNer. To win, leave a comment below about your favorite home/garden/kitchen/farm tool and why you love it. The winner will be announced on Friday, February 10th!**