Thursday, November 14, 2013

Reading Journal: At Home in Dogwood Mudhole by Franklin Sanders (TOS Review)

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I recently had the opportunity to review At Home in Dogwood Mudhole Volume 1: Nothing That Eats by Franklin Sanders from At Home in Dogwood Mudhole. This book is a collection of letters collected from his The Moneychanger newsletters.

I have to admit up front I am very leery about reading memoirs type books (or personal letters for that matter). I either hate them or love them. There is no middle ground. I will also admit the At Home In Dogwood Volume 1 fell in the "love it" category.
Told in letter format, Franklin Sanders tells his family's story piece by piece of how they bit by bit move out of Memphis while looking for property to start their farm. During this time he is fighting the government concerning whether or not gold or silver sales are taxable and all the while preparing for to survive Y2K.

After many years including a year that Mr. Sanders spent in prison they eventually find their farm in Dogwood Mudhole. Thus begins his family's journey to create a multigenerational farm, which makes for a fun and encouraging read.

There were several things I really enjoyed about this story. First was the focus on family. In this story we meet his wife Susan and his seven children. As the story progresses several of his children marry and eventually grandchildren enter the picture. The fun they share as a family as they attempt to farm show through in the writing and was something I could relate to.

I also enjoyed and appreciated his faith in God and which he unabashedly shares throughout the book, beautifully I might add.
      Some modern writers view life as a ghastly repetition of the pointless--another child is born, only to rear more like him and die. The labors of our life can seem pointless and burdensome. 
     What they fail to see is that the repeated journey, universally aloke but perpetually unique, delights the heart of God, who never tires of making daisies--and men. In our frenzied striving, we long for the Great Hit, the Excitement, the Stimulation. We miss, all along, the tireless mystery shown us in the sacramental procession of our days. Ahh, kiss the ones you love and sing in your heart for the work given you this day, and bless your Creator! 

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Another was their experience in farming and all the animals they acquire.  In the beginning the reader meets Jack the thirty dollar dog, who eventually becomes the thousand dollar dog. More dogs join and along with pigs, horses, cow, and chickens.
When we shop for chickens, "dog-resistance" is our first concern. Our dogs are what you might call chicken fanciers. They never met a chicken they didn't like. Hence Susan immediately ruled out the giant rooster with the bass voice. Not only was his crow too low, he wouldn't last two nano-seconds around those dogs--too big and slow. At our house, any chicken with a life expectancy great than a quark needs both supersonic speed and a profound mastery of evasive tactics.
The Sanders family were also involved in Civil War re-enactments and have a love for the South. He sings the praises of many of the Confederate generals. I smiled when I read about his great love for the South. We lived in Texas for 6 years and I always got the biggest kick out of their southern pride and their continuing fight of the Civil War while living there.

At Home in Dogwood Mudhole isn't told in the smoothest style, but honestly, I liked it just the way it was. It is a real story told about real people who had no farming experience, yet they were willing to try and even when things didn't go right they just kept trying. I almost (repeat--almost) wanted to take up farming myself!

This was a book that I had a hard time putting down and I was constantly having laugh out loud moments and couldn't resist reading parts aloud to whoever was nearby. Yes, it was that funny!! (The pig stories alone make the book worth reading.)

Franklin Sanders' At Home in Dogwood Mudhole will be go down as one of my favorite reads for this year. Highly recommended!

At Home in Dogwood Mudhole will be a 3 Volume Set. Volume 1: Nothing That Eats is available in paperback for $22.95 or in Kindle/ePUB/PDF format for $16.95. Volume 2: Best Thing We Ever Did is available in PDF for $16.95 with paperback and Kindle/ePUB formats coming soon.
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  1. On behalf of the Sanders family, thank you for taking the time to read the book and post your review. We would like to let your readers know they can get free shipping (for up to 2 books, to US addresses only) by using the discount code TOSFREE at checkout. Thanks again, and God bless!



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