Good books written by farmers, about farming, can be few and far between, so I’ve been looking forward to reading what Lorna Sixsmith was going to write about for some time. As it happens, it didn’t need to wait to buy the book, as Lorna asked me to review it as part of the ‘Till the Cows Come Home Blog Tour’ (such a cool idea!) so here we are.
I’ve been paying attention as I’ve been reading the past week or so, and have spent some time thinking through what I wanted to say in my review, which is a bit of a daunting task despite basically reviewing novels, poetry, plays etc. for two years as part of my English Literature, Classics and Drama A Levels!
The main takeaway point of Lorna’s book for me, was how enjoyable and easy to read it was. She takes you through the various happenings of life on a modern farm in a way that old timers and new comers alike will be able to follow, and doesn’t shy away from the realities of life and death in the farming world. This book would be an excellent choice for anyone with interests ranging from dairy farming, farm life in general, and rural Ireland’s history with a really human voice and feel to it. It’s like you’re sitting at Lorna’s kitchen table with her, just having a chat about things.
An aspect that I really enjoyed was just how seamlessly Lorna takes you through the decades of development that have taken place on her family dairy farm. From pitchforks and manual labour to big tractors and bale trailers (and still some pitchforks and manual labour!). Lorna managed to weave in so much of the rich history of their farm through her anecdotal story-telling, I was sometimes surprised when I remembered she wasn’t actually alive when there was no hot water or electric! As I’ve said above, there’s just such a human voice and feel to the book that it feels as though you begin to know the generations of her family as if they were your own, through Lorna’s friendly tone and descriptions of individuals that everyone will come to picture in their mind’s eye.
Part of the charm of Till the Cows Come Home, alongside its factual information on historical and modern farming methods, is the constant anecdotes and short stories that Lorna includes to bring the reader to the modern day. Whether it’s a perilous ride atop a bale trailer as a child, moments spent reading by the fire, or her own children taking part in daily farming tasks, in just one book Lorna manages to introduce you to all the individuals, human and otherwise, that contribute, and have contributed, to the rural Irish community and success of a modern family dairy farm.
I’d like to congratulate Lorna on writing a book that I believe will be a great success. It was so fascinating and heart-warming to read about, and get to know, the people and experiences that have shaped her and her farm and family over the generations. And thank you for giving me the opportunity to review your book! It’s helped me actually start, and more importantly, finish a book in a respectable amount of time, something that was on my to-do list for this year!