The morning after Phil's party I stopped for breakfast at the Machine Shed in Rockford, IL. While settling up I noticed this book for sale on the counter, Any Damn Fool Can be A Farmer - Growing Up on a Wisconsin Farm, by Bob Knopes. I am working on a family history project of my own - and it looked like a good airplane read. So I bought it.
Turns out that Bob grew up just a few miles from where I worked in Janesville, WI. I must have driven past his family's farm hundreds of times. Small world.
What makes the book worthy of his efforts and yours - besides the writing which is much better than typical books of this kind - is the reminder of a way of life that is fastly disappearing. Family farming was - and is - hard work. It is reassuring that it usually does not make hard people.
Bob's story may not have enough drama for some; I'm sure that was just-as-well for his family. A couple of fires will have to do. But it is as real as that wonderful smell of earth being turned about now on Wisconsin's farms. I recommend it, especially to my friends along the Rock River.
P.S. - In case the book's title offends our friends in the agricultural community, Bob is referring to something his father often said, but did not really mean. Barnyard humor.