True Confessions

True Confessions

Some memoirists make things up. Others omit critical or damning information. While I don’t believe I’ve committed either of these offenses, I am wracked with guilt over one offense I did commit. So before someone finds out my secret and spreads the word via some scorching blog, I hereby confess to my Failure to Update.

I finished revising my memoir several years ago, and let my agent do her thing. When she sold the manuscript to Marlowe & Co last fall, I needed to make a decision: did I bring the farm totally up to date in the book, or just stop events where I had stopped them? A farm is constantly changing, so the idea of being up to date is a little impractical. Most importantly, however, was that if I were to update, I would have to reveal my secret and ruin a perfectly good chapter in the book.

Attentive readers may remember my comments about a book called Fifty Acres and a Poodle. While it was a lovely book, I said, and I quote: “If you owned a poodle on a farm, should you really be admitting this to the rest of the world? I think not.”

I hate eating my own words, but this is me, munching away. I learned a few years ago that poodles don’t shed, and I was so sick of dog hair in the house that I decided we should give a poodle a try. This reveals some sort of deficient logic on my part, because adding a poodle does nothing to eliminate the dog hair shed by our two other dogs.

But add a poodle we did. (See above photo of happy girl.) She’s an elderly standard poodle named Porsche whose owner had health problems and didn’t want to send poor Porsche to the pound. Turns out Porsche had a few health problems of her own. Our vet had to remove most of her teeth because they were rotting, so now we soak her food until it’s nice and mushy. We put her on one medication for incontinence, and another for upset tummy, so now she doesn’t pee or vomit as often.

Good news is she’s really a sweety. She’s very well-behaved, doesn’t let the border collie or the Great Dane push her around, and doesn’t shed.

So, do I now think that if you own a poodle on a farm you should admit it? Yes, you should, but not in the book itself. Best to admit this in your blog and hope no one reads it!

3 thoughts on “True Confessions”

  1. Loved your book! I too have been Hit by a Farm, but I was disappointed that in it you didn’t follow up on how the border collie worked out for you. We’ve grown tired of chasing pigs, hogs, and, less frequently, cows. When we are breathlessly up to our ankles in muck and the hogs are laughing at our attempts to load them into a trailer, Husband has menioned more than once that a border collie might be just the thing. I’m afraid that he has that gleam in his eye……Please tell me that they are a treat to have around, and that a coople of 20 minute training sessions once a week will hone their natural instincts, and they will keep my laying hens out of my garden, and steer hogs write into a stock trailer! Okay….I’m ready tell me the truth. How’d it really work out for you?

  2. Dear NorthernMN Farmer,

    Yeah, I sort of let the ball drop on the border collie, basically because I tended to write about things that went wrong! Robin has been a joy. Training him was harder than we’d thought, even though we were experienced dog people, so we sent him away for 6 weeks to be trained.

    He helped out quite a bit those first years, but eventually the sheep got used to moving from paddock to paddock, and pretty much did it on their own. Then one day the two llamas ganged up and decided it would be fun to pick on the border collie!

    Robin’s semi-retired now, helping out when we have problems. Border collies have incredible energy, and aren’t the best house dogs. I love Rob, but would I have a border collie again? Not sure. Melissa would likely have a different answer, of course.

    And no, border collies won’t keep hens out of your garden! They want to move the animals, not protect stuff. So a border collie might have fun actually driving the chickens straight into your garden! They are incredibly smart, but can get a little wacko if they don’t have enough work to do.

    Ahh, loading pigs into a trailer! Yikes. We’ve had fun loading sheep in to a trailer, and not even fear of the border collie helped. One time we had to catch and wrestle each ewe (175 lbs) up into the trailer, and stop the ones inside from running back out.

    Crazy to be farming, eh?!

    Thanks for writing,


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The Big Pivot

About Me

After twenty-five years on the farm, I’m adjusting to the adventures of city life. Part of that adjustment is figuring out what I want to write about now, since sheep are no longer part of my daily life. I’m challenging myself creatively by painting with pastels and playing the ukelele as I seek my new writing path.

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