Fifty Acres and a Poodle: A Story of Love, Livestock, and Finding Myself on a Farm


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Until a hot summer afternoon led to a drive in the country, where a place that had existed only in her fantasies turned out to be real—and for sale. And in that moment she knows that this is the spot where her future begins. So she drags her boyfriend Alex, a committed urban dweller with zero agricultural awareness who owns a poodle, into her scheme, hoping that love will somehow conquer all.

But buying a postcard—fifty acres of scenery—and living on it are two entirely different matters. The questions seem endless: How long before the barn roof collapses? Should they buy sheep? Will the place be good for her writing, and for her relationship with Alex? And is there any way to keep Betty the mutt and Marley the poodle from rolling in mud, leaves, and unidentified smelly remains? It is a journey peopled by unforgettable characters: Jeanne Marie Laskas writes with exhilarating wit and extraordinary wisdom about life, love, and finding your true self on a farm.

Especially one like mine, which at first seemed so utterly random. It could have been a sailing-a-boat-to-Tahiti dream, a quit-your-job-and-hitchhike-to-Alaska dream. It was a fill-in-the-blank dream, born of an urge, not content. An urge for something new. I was thirty-seven years old.

I lived on Eleventh Street, the last house on the right,in South Side, a gentrified old mill town on the banks of the Monongahela River. I rented an office in downtown Pittsburgh, a fifteen-minute bike ride away, which is where I spent my days writing stories and magazine articles. I had a garden. I had a cat. I had a dog.

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And I had a farm dream, a fantasy swirling around in my head about moving to the country. Where in the world was this coming from? It might have made sense if I was a miserable person, sick of my life. But I was not.

Fifty Acres and a Poodle

I had a good life; it had taken me a long time to get it that way. A farm dream would have made sense, I supposed, if I was at least the farm dream type. A person with some deep personal longing to churn butter. A person who had had city life forced upon her and now was determined to go be true to herself and live among the haystacks. A person who wore her hair in long braids, used Ivory soap, and liked to stencil her walls with pictures of little chickens and cows.

By the description you think it will be a fun read about stories of her new farm life. But she rambles and drifts away from the fun this book could be where I found myself scanning until I could get back to the actual farm life. Dec 26, Lindsey Lewandowski rated it it was amazing. I read this book in the lunchroom every night for the first week or so of my first "Real-World" newspaper job - and after I finished the book, I wrote the author a thank-you note. Laskas's writing is just awe-inspiring. Not the own-a-farm thing - that part is, yes, interesting; Laskas and her almost-fiance buy a farm and move out of a city atmosphere together, and the book is about that adjustment and dreams com I read this book in the lunchroom every night for the first week or so of my first "Real-World" newspaper job - and after I finished the book, I wrote the author a thank-you note.

Not the own-a-farm thing - that part is, yes, interesting; Laskas and her almost-fiance buy a farm and move out of a city atmosphere together, and the book is about that adjustment and dreams coming real "Dream alive! Laskas for years focused on writing and at some point later down the line chose to shift the focus, and this book is an ode to that. Really, reading Laskas's writing is like talking with her. It's like being her best friend.

Fifty Acres and a Poodle: A Story of Love, Livestock, and Finding Myself on a Farm

It's like sitting down for a chat over coffee. It's like being able to say to someone with whom you have remarkably similar interests: I relate to that! I feel like, too! I do that, too! Read her other books. And when you read all of these things, I hope you respect them as much as I do. Oh, and Laskas wrote back to my thank-you note. This is a very down-to-earth writer. Could not put down. Very real, earthy and soulful.

The author has a magic touch with wording that makes you feel like you are in your head and that she is in yours. Never read a book like it before. Can't wait to buy more of her books. I wanted to love this book, but I was kind of disappointed in how much of the time was NOT on the farm, but thinking about buying a farm, and getting married. I thought it was a good story, and I felt really pulled in by the characters, but I just was hoping for a slightly different angle.

Also, I felt like she used the "poodle" in the title to attract a bit of sensationalism and then she spends considerable time talking about how much SHE would never have gotten a poodle herself. And how they g I wanted to love this book, but I was kind of disappointed in how much of the time was NOT on the farm, but thinking about buying a farm, and getting married. And how they got mutts after the poodle. Nitpicking, maybe, but that is what I felt. Oct 09, Lauren rated it really liked it. It's impossible not to like Jeanne Laskas - she's very personable and funny, and reading this book transported me into her life more so than most memoirs I've read.

Although growing up in Pittsburgh, I suppose I was more able to "see" the farm she so vividly described. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, The Exact Same Moon: Fifty Acres and a Family. Jan 17, Missy rated it really liked it. I really enjoyed this book and it's 2 sequels. This first book takes the Lord's name in vain several too many times, but hardly at all in the following books. That's really my only complaint and is the reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5. These are laugh-out-loud funny at times. Part of the reason I like them so much is that her writing style and my thinking style are very similar.

Feb 07, Sarah rated it really liked it Shelves: Nov 10, Debbie Williamson rated it really liked it Shelves: After all the mess of the week, this was a very lovely escape into love and beauty and farm life. Feb 08, Marie Carmean rated it really liked it. The author, Jeanne Marie Laskas, takes the reader on a journey that is unforgettable. A painfully shy child who craved solitude; who protects the souls of dead animals with her prayers and dreams of one day living on a farm leaves Pittsburg in her mid-thirties and buys fifty farmland acres and a house with her boyfriend.

The results are a truly witty, funny book. I found myself reading passages from it to my husband, after cackling with delight. But, the book was much more Along the way, Ms. Laskas learns that solitude isn't necessarily all it's cracked up to be; she learns, through her wonderful companion cat Bob, how to love completely and how to bear loss; she learns that a farm is a lot of hard work in reality; and she learns how to open her heart to others.

The book is peppered with wonderful characters, Ms Laskas neighbors who come to her rescue over and over and broaden her perception of life. It also has Alex, her older boyfriend who has agreed to share this journey with her, leaving her at the farm alone during the day to write or stew because she's lonely! The farm purchase becomes Alex's journey in a different way, moving out of tragedy and sadness into healing. And Jeanne Marie Laskas finds another kind of healing in her own life.

Through it all, there is a poodle that Alex brought into the relationship, that seems a point of amusement to the country neighbors. He seems as out of place on the farm as Jeanne Marie and Alex. Here is a quote from the book concerning Marley the poodle: He joins his friends. He's a nice guy; he's been nice to Marley up until now. I hope his rotten friends haven't contaminated him. They're laughing their guts out.

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They love their own humor. It occurs to me that they might be drunk. Just then Marley leaps like a windup toy to his feet. He is a black blotch streaking through the sky. Now we're the one's transfixed. Soon he is taking one giant leap into the brush, and before any of us know what is happening, he is swinging back around, like a gymnast that can both lunge and spin at the same time.

As he swings around, we see it: A groundhog a good six times bigger than Marley's head. We stand there motionless, all of us, even Betty, watching this poodle wrestle this mother of all groundhogs to the cold earth; he seems to know right where to go, just how to snap its neck, because within the next blink of an eye, the groundhog is on the ground, dead. Marley stands over it, huffing and puffing.

Thorium.

There are funny moments, yes, but also tender moments, and introspective moments as the journey progresses. A woman comes into her own and learns who she is, and how to share herself. The book resonates with so many truths. I enjoyed it immensely. Oct 29, Cindy Dyson Eitelman rated it really liked it Shelves: The poodle was good. Also the mule, the horse, the ladybugs, and even the invasive multiflora briars. Loved the neighbors and workmen, especially Billy and all the Joes.

Billy is a hoot-- "When I was a kid, everybody took a gun to school," he says. But just to kill supper on the way home. What else was there to do with your spare time? Present tense usually annoys me, but I didn't even notice it. But possibly, just possibly, that's why I found the book so easy to put down and so hard to pick up again.

The author's interior dialog and attempts to relate her struggle with aloneness just didn't grip me. They seemed to be repetitive, unchanging, and boring. And sadly, having to admit a defect of my character here I found myself skipping or skimming those parts. Frequently I skipped too far and missed some of the good stuff. But the book didn't suck. Laugh-out loud a couple of times and excruciatingly painful only twice when it had to be. May 10, Heather rated it really liked it. This was a fun read.

This memoir reminded me of my family's journey from Southern California to a small town in rural Colorado, with a similar band of friendly neighbors who helped my parents with the adjustment to country life with hunting and fishing trips, a neighbor who plowed the driveway in winter for them without being asked the first several years they lived there.

My folks could write their own companion book to this, maybe titled "35 Acres and a Canyon," with their own animal stories o This was a fun read.

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My folks could write their own companion book to this, maybe titled "35 Acres and a Canyon," with their own animal stories over the years - skunks under porches, three donkeys who came to visit and eat our chicken or goat food about every six months or so, and many more. The slow death of Bob reminded me of that of my own cat, Cuddles, though I only witnessed a week of his poor health after I had married and moved away.

This book definitely resonated with me, kept me smiling with moments of laughing out loud, and deepened the conviction that I'm not destined for a lifetime of town living. When the time is right, the pull of the country will have its way again. Jun 10, Mary rated it liked it Shelves: This was an easy read. It was funny at times and at other times seem to go on and on with the same ideas and cutesiness. Written in the first person did make it more real but I don't really know if this is a straight novel or memoir or what. I do know that it seemed way too long for the story that was told.

The author went out of her way to make the country people seem kind but a bit simple minded. The pets she has are endearing especially the poodle Marley. The strangest part for me was when he This was an easy read. The strangest part for me was when her fiancee is diagnosed with a tumor in his colon and a strong family history of death from this that she was so detached as if observing it all from a distance. This was a book that I really wouldn't recommend just because there are way better books in this genre out there.

PS, I don't think she ever "found" herself. May 14, Kathy rated it it was amazing Shelves: Jeanne Marie, writer and urban professional, falls in love with Alex, city-dwelling therapist and poodle owner. This memoir describes how, after she shares her longtime dream of living on a farm, Alex supports her to the extent of helping find and buy an idyllic place in PA.

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Of course, these two are real greenhorns, so their experiences are hilarious. What makes this account different from other similar books is the attitude she and Alex have toward the country people they come to rely on; and h Jeanne Marie, writer and urban professional, falls in love with Alex, city-dwelling therapist and poodle owner. What makes this account different from other similar books is the attitude she and Alex have toward the country people they come to rely on; and her amazement at the depth of Alex's love for her, as evidenced by his efforts to understand her and to help her realize her dream.

Feb 03, Jack Barbour rated it really liked it.

Fifty Acres and a Poodle: A Story of Love, Livestock, and Finding Myself on a Farm Paperback – January 2, Jeanne Marie Laskas had a dream of fleeing her otherwise happy urban life for fresh air and open space — a dream she would discover was about something more than. Editorial Reviews. linawycatuzy.gq Review. Jeanne Marie Laskas is 37, with a house, garden, dog Fifty Acres and a Poodle: A Story of Love, Livestock, and Finding Myself on a Farm - Kindle edition by Jeanne Marie Laskas. Download Jeanne Marie Laskas had dreams of life on a farm that she couldn't get out of her head.

I found the title while searching for books on Farm Life. I too purchased a small farm and loved the many local characters in the Scenery Hill Pennsylvania community - good ole country people - always willing to provide a helping hand. There is something about life on a small farm that reaches the depths of my soul.. A delightful and fun read Jun 26, Willie Latane rated it really liked it.

This is a delightful read about a career woman who has a comfortable life in the city. She owns a cute little house, a couple of pets and her gentleman friend is there for her but neither are in a hurry to change things. And, then she gets an 'itch' to own a farm!! What follows is sometimes hilarious, entertaining and so true to life when you don't know what you are doing, like cranking an old tractor, clearing land, finding out the 'booms' you are hearing are really hunters and so on.

I enjoyed This is a delightful read about a career woman who has a comfortable life in the city. I enjoyed reading this book and I think you would too. Going for the dream Loved this book. A story about a dream, fear of the dream, plunging ahead with the dream, then the, oh my gosh what have we done? Part of the dream. A story of learning, loving and loss but finding the meaning behind each.

Making a new life, meeting new friends and taking us along, made me smile at times and want to cry at other times.

A Story of Love, Livestock, and Finding Myself on a Farm

I do that, too! A person who wore her hair in long braids, used Ivory soap, and liked to stencil her walls with pictures of little chickens and cows. A dream of fleeing her otherwise happy urban life for fresh air and open space. And in case that was not enough to make him charming, they have a fantastic backstory of being friends for years and becoming more after consolation over a hurt pet. It's not a bad book and there are parts I really enjoyed but she didn't seem to know what type of book she wanted this to be.

If you ever wanted to leave the city life and live the country life, this book will be a must read. May 13, Carole rated it it was ok Recommended to Carole by: My brother bought the book. The best part of this book was the cover. I loved the poodle on the tractor. I had a poodle and I had this tractor only bigger a cub tractor.

Parts of the book were good, funny but there was a lot of "thinking" that I did not like. It was a good story, good animals ect. This one I had no problem. I read a chapter or 2 a day.