Category Archives: Book Reviews

Lesson 1122 – Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maquire – Book Review

eggspoonAs you might know I recently saw Gregory Maguire at our local Barnes and Noble where he was kicking off his book tour for his newest book: Egg & Spoon.

IMG_20140910_180359008During his presentation he said that this book, which is classified as YA (Young Adult) is really a cross-over book. He told us the story about how he sent the original manuscript to the publishers of his last YA book (What-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy) and told them that they could publish the manuscript as a YA or he would be sending it over to his fiction book publishers (who have published among other books, his Wicked series) who would publish it as an adult novel.

In either case, no words were going to be changed.

His YA publishers quickly agreed to publish the book. Continue reading

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Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook – review

Book Review – Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook – recipes for the best pan in your kitchen by Sharon Kramis and Julie Kramis Hearne.

cast iron cookbookAs a chicken owner (even though I don’t eat our chickens) I have always had this nagging feeling that I should be proficient with a cast iron pan. Cooking with such a pan seems … so very right.

Alas, it was my lack of knowledge that has always kept me from trying. How does it work? I’ve heard the pan needs treatment, how do I do this? Can you really put it in a modern oven? Continue reading

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Lesson 827 – Fifty Weeks of Green – a CSA love story

I know, two book reviews in a row. I usually don’t put book reviews up here (I save them for a writer’s blog of which I am a part of) unless the book is of relevance to this audience (usually chicken related.)

In this particular case, the book is CSA related and it’s the romantic (don’t worry the only dirty part is when she gets her hands dirty from the vegetables) story of a young woman whose idea of a good dinner is defrosting a “frozen block of food” and an organic farmer whose goal it is to teach her about healthy living.

It’s a great story, it teaches you about CSAs and vegetables and you learn to cook right along with the main character, Sophia, using the recipes relevant to the story. I’m going to make sure that all my kids read this one and you’d be doing yourself a great and healthy service by checking this one out yourself.

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I love me a good parody. So when I found out about Linda Watson’s Fifty Weeks of Green (a turn of phrase from the 50 Shades of Grey) I simply had to check it out (look, the tie on the cover is actually a farmer’s suspenders! – brilliant)

greenLinda Watson writes about food. She’s the founder of Cook for Good (my go-to website for great farmer market and seasonal recipes) and if you don’t have her book: Wildly Affordable Organic – Eat Fabulous Food, Get Healthy, and Save the Planet All on  $5 a Day or Less, then you are doing yourself a great disservice. I purchased the book to help me with this review and already I’ve incorporated some of her money and time saving tips into our family’s menus and food buying habits. Continue reading

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Lesson 826 – Chick-O-Saurus Rex – Book review

As you know, if you like chickens, people tend to send you chicken things. A good friend of mine (hi Gina) recently dropped off a new children’s picture book on chickens for me to take a look at.

chickosaurus

Chick-o-Saurus Rex by Lenore and Daniel Jennewein is the delightful picture book story of a little chicken who was not allowed into the farm animal club house because she was not brave enough.  The chick, in talking to her father soon discovers that chickens are related to the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Armed with this information, the little chick bravely fights off an intruder and is permitted into the farm animals’ club. Continue reading

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Lesson 777 – Gaining Ground by Forrest Pritchard – interview

gaining groundHey folks, there’s a new farming/organic living book out that is generating a lot of buzz. Written by Forrest Pritchard (and with a foreword by Joel Salatin) Gaining Ground is the true story of how a young man chose to take on the task of literally saving the family farm by turning it into an ethical and profitable way to make a living.

It’s a great story filled with ups and downs, humor and life lessons. In short, it’s the kind of book that makes you feel good after reading it. That’s the kind of story that I love most to read.

You can tell me about an adventure and I might read your book, but tell me how that adventure changed you and what you learned as a result and chances are, your book will make it to my reading list. Gaining Ground falls in the latter category, it simply was a pleasure to read and from which to learn. I have tremendous respect for Forrest, not only for his accomplishments and how he was able to share them, but quite frankly, anyone who sends a picture of himself kissing a chicken is first rate in my book.

 

Forrest Pritchard

Forrest Pritchard

I was able to ask Forrest some questions about his farming experiences. 

What’s the one lesson you want people to get from your farming experience? Continue reading

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Lesson 756 – Chickens in Five Minutes a Day Winner

First things first. The winner of Murray McMurray Hatchery’s Chickens in Five Minutes a Day is: Connie – the *last* person to enter a comment. (Which is funny because yesterday when I saw that comment, I thought, poor her, it’s never the first or last person. Just goes to show me, right?)

Well this time, it is the last person, so let’s hear it for being last! Here’s the proof from Random.org.

True Random Number Generator Result: 33 

Connie, please send me your shipping information and I’ll forward it to the publisher who will be getting a copy of this book out to you. (My contact information is at the right top of this page.) Congratulations.

For those of you who didn’t win and who are starting out with chickens (or who have an existing flock), I would encourage you to check out this book. It’s one of the better ones on the care and management of a backyard/urban flock. Continue reading

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Lesson 753 – Chickens in Five Minutes a Day – Book Review and Giveaway

We all know that raising chickens has become a current trend. I even wrote a post for GRIT on this. People are starting to catch on as to how (relatively) easy it is to have chickens.

Chickens in Five Mins Cover_hiresThis is not to say that chickens aren’t work, for goodness sake, they are living creatures and thus demand a minimal amount of care and attention, but people are always surprised to hear me say that once your flock is established, the care for your chickens can literally be accomplished in just a few minutes each day.

The problem is that many of us, unlike our parents, didn’t grow up with chickens. We think that the care of a flock must be easy, but we’re a bit on the clueless side of how to go about it. To solve this problem, McMurray Hatchery’s has just published the book “Chickens in Five Minutes a Day” (to be released May 14th) and they’ve asked me to take a look at it. Continue reading

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Lesson 730 – Once Upon a Flock by Lauren Scheuer – Giveaway

Lauren Scheuer is definitely a rare bird. She’s one of those people who has tremendous talent, a huge heart, and is someone who understands chickens  – a winning combination in this game called life. She’s written a book about living with her backyard chickens and forgive me, but I’ve just got to crow about this accomplishment! once-upon-a-flock-cover-3

Lauren and I found each other on Facebook years ago, I had seen her chicken art from her fabulous blog Scratch and Peck, (if you haven’t seen it, go over now and have her illustrations make your day) and she had noticed I wrote about chickens. We started conversing. When chicken people meet chicken people, nothing can stop us. It was a friendship meant to happen.

It was Lauren who invited and organized the NE chicken ladies (Hencam, Tilly’s Nest, Scratch and Peck, and me, Lessons Learned from the flock) to attend the Northeastern Poultry Show two years ago in January.

It was a cold day, the kind of day where you think twice about retrieving your water bottle from your car parked at the far end of the lot. (Then you realize, there’s no need to fetch it because it’s probably frozen solid anyway.) We all showed up at the designated meeting place.  We met.  We clucked with each other over food.  We saw the most incredible chickens.  We left with newly found chicken friends.

And I also came home with Charlie.

charlie lo res

Continue reading

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Lesson 425 – “Everybody Sees the Ants” by A.S. King and brain trauma

One of our literary-chicks (Good Egg Interview) authors; A.S. King has come out with a new book. I picked it up and took a look at it this weekend.

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I completely blame Young Adult author A.S. King (Amy) for my getting SMASHED in the face with a soccer ball not once, but twice, this past weekend.

I picked up her most recent book Everybody Sees the Ants Friday afternoon at our independent book store (Toadstool in Milford – can I hear an Amen?)

Saturday was a wash at our house – between soccer games, yard sales, gymnastics, and a haunted corn maze (so much fun) there wasn’t much time leftover for reading – that usually has to wait until my Sunday morning coffee.

So Sunday morning rolls around and I grab Everybody Sees the Ants – interesting cover. Yup, there’s an ant in the kid’s eye. Amy’s a great writer, I knew that this was going to be a good read so I settled down and started reading while the kids were still asleep.

A tiny disclaimer here – I’m not, for the most part, a Young Adult reader, oh sure, I’ve read some outstanding Young Adult stories (Harry Potter, Matched, Please Ignore Vera Dietz) but the genre seems to have been co-opted by Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies these days. And if there is one thing I’ve had enough of, it’s those damn sparkly vampires.

HOLY COW.

One by one, my kids woke up.

“Mom, do you know where….”

“Shhh, I’m reading.”

Logan had to get new soccer shoes to wear at a game he was reffing later that day.

I brought the book with me. There might be time in the parking lot to read a few pages while he unbuckled himself to get out of the car.

Marc took the girls to their soccer game, Trevor went hiking with a friend, and I sat reading until it was time to take Logan to his soccer game.

“What’s for lunch, mom?”

“Fix it yourself, I’m reading.” Continue reading

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Project Chickens before the Eggs – Lesson 216 – Good Egg Interview with A. S. King

I have met one of the most amazing writers.

A little back story here.

It seemed there was quite a buzz about a book called “Please Ignore Vera Dietz” written by A.S. King. It’s a Young Adult (YA) book about a girl who was secretly in love with her neighbor and who has to deal with her guilt and some secrets when he dies.

Please, my simple description of this book doesn’t do it any justice. Quite simply put, this book is brilliant and one of the most intelligent and creative books I’ve ever read both in YA and Adult fiction. In Vera Dietz, there are chapters from different points of view (some views are even from inanimate objects), there are flowcharts, wonderful dialog, and a to-die for main character who is smart (really smart), compassionate, and confused. It’s a kick-butt combination.

I read the book and adored it, so I passed it on to my son Logan (aged 14) who is willing to read anything I say is good. I wasn’t too sure about this one though because the main character in this book is a girl and well, you know how young teen boys can be about girls.

Here’s the incredible thing: Logan literally could not put the book down. He finished it at night under the covers with his flashlight (and for the record Logan, I knew but I decided it was for a good cause and so let it be). Continue reading

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