At Home In Dogwood Mudhole: Book Review

If you have been following me this year, you have seen that we have added more “farmy” things.  We are adding more and more to become self sufficient.  Maybe not entirely off the grid or anything, but it’s a start.  We have been blessed with this great opportunity to raise our seven children on 11 acres out in the country, I think it’s about time we start using it!  When I was given the chance to review At Home In Dogwood Mudhole, I knew it was for me!

When I received the paperback book, I dug right in!  I read about author, Franklin Sanders’ adventures that spanned 17 years of his life.  Franklin and his wife Susan, did what we are trying to do.  Find a simpler life, provide more for your family and to take the time to observe and enjoy it all.  This book is a collection of the author’s personal letters written for a monthly newsletter, The Moneychanger, beginning in 1995.

This first book is subtitled “Nothing That Eats”.  It was Mrs. Sanders intention to not feed anymore mouths!  Despite her initial efforts they started innocently with dogs and progressed to a full out farm with chickens, pigs (sound familiar?), sheep, horses, cows and ducks!  I’ve been told that chickens are the “gateway farm animal” and I totally believe it!  Their story begins with dogs, and these dogs provide lots of stories!

This is not a book about they easy way to  blissful farm living, but true stories about the ups and downs of a real family trying to do more with their little world.  The story begins with their big move out to farm country- 5 miles at a time!  From one rental house to the next, trying to have enough room to raise 7 children.  The threat of Y2K left Mr. Sanders with a heavy burden to protect and provide for his family.  The threat may be different these days for our family, but wow, what a similarity!  As “want-a-be preppers” and hobby farmers, I learned a lot from Mr. Sanders stories of successes and failures.

Their farm would end up being in Dogwood Mudhole, TN.  Family is definitely at the heart of this book.  You get to see Mr. Sanders’ heart (and humor) as he raises 7 children, builds a farm, welcomes his children and their spouses back to the now multi-generational farm and enjoys his grandchildren.  The reader also gets to learn lots of history, about cars and dependance on God.

The chapter on Christmas traditions is memorable to me as we are getting closer to that season and my daughter is beginning traditions of her own with her children.   Sanders describes the difference between a rut and a tradition like this: “A rut is doing the same things year after year because you don’t have enough imagination to do anything new.  A tradition is something you do once and discover a joy so deep that you do it again.”

A sample chapter is available to read at their website for Volume 1: Nothing that Eats and their new book, Volume 2: Best Thing We Ever Did.  The newest book is not currently available in all formats, but they are coming very soon.

Myself and others on the Schoolhouse Crew received the 379 page paperback version of this book ($22.95).  Others on The Crew received it in ebook format ($16.85).  Please click on the box below to see what they had to say about it.

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