A Book to Savor

Farm anatomyYou know how sometimes when you’re reading a book that you really really love, you slow down towards the end, or you keep finding reasons to set it down so that it doesn’t have to end? That usually happens to me with fiction, but not so much with nonfiction. Until now.

The book that I couldn’t put down yet didn’t want to finish is titled Farm Anatomy. It may not sound so very appealing, but that is exactly what this book is: appealing to the 10th degree. It is a treat for the eyes, plus I learned a ton!

The full title of the book, Farm Anatomy: The Curious Parts & Pieces of Country Life, may give you a wee bit more insight to the book’s character. The author, Julia Rothman, is an illustrator, hence the visual appeal of the book. But, as mentioned above, it isn’t just pretty, it’s educational.


There is a small section on cloud formations and what various types of clouds indicate about upcoming weather. Altostratus clouds indicate stormy weather, while stratus clouds create fog and drizzle. I learned about different types of barns (I don’t believe I was aware there are different kinds of barns), and different types of trusses. I learned about farm machinery and the difference between a cultivator and a harrow. I learned how to fell a tree and stack a cord of wood.

This was particularly fun over the weekend as we were driving through farmland. We often pass by the Littfin Truss assembly plant, and this time as I looked I noticed that there are in fact several different kinds of trusses—something I had never noticed before. (Rothman illustrates 10 different kinds of trusses.) And those farm implements I had idly wondered about several times I now identified as disk harrows.


In the food section she illustrates all kinds of fruits and vegetables, including popular varieties of summer and winter squash, varieties of dry beans, types of corn (as well as the parts of the corn plant), pepper and eggplant varieties, popular tomatoes, different kinds of carrots, herbs, kinds of millet (I didn’t know there were different kinds of millet), and apples. There’s more but I think you might be getting the idea.


She includes a number of recipes (illustrated, of course): borscht, freezer dills, carrot cake, dandelion wine, and several more. I am particularly  interested in trying the oven lamb stew. It makes me long for autumn!

In the section on animals you learn the parts of each animal (rooster, cow, goat, horse, pig, sheep, rabbit, and bee) common terms, common breeds, and something fascinating about each and every one of them.

comb styles

In the Wining and Dining section, we learn about edible flowers (calendula, marigold, nasturtium, bachelor’s button, dianthus, and violas), breadmaking, cheesemaking, and how to cut up a chicken. There are also bits on pressure canning, building a simple smokehouse, making maple syrup, and root cellaring. She winds up with carding and making yarn, candles, quilts, rag rugs, and how to make a flower press.

Something for everyone.NA

She has another book out, Nature Anatomy, which looks every bit as fascinating. I may start it tonight.

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