Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Review: At Home in Dogwood Mudhole

At the end of September, I was asked if I would like to read and review At Home in Dogwood Mudhole: Volume 1 - Nothing That Eats, by Franklin Sanders

I knew I had a lot on my plate, but I researched the book. I wanted to consider this book seriously, because it had 379 pages, and I wasn't sure I had the time to read that much in a month. But... I had the opportunity to read an excerpt to help me decide, and I was immediately hooked.

Franklin Sanders has been publishing a monthly newsletter called The Moneychanger for nearly 20 years, and has been running his money-changing business (dealing in gold and silver) for over 30 years.  His At Home in Dogwood Mudhole series is taken from the Dear Reader column of the newsletter.

Some of you may be too young to remember the hub-bub that occurred as Y2K (Year 2000) was approaching. Folks in the computer industry were concerned that the nation's entire infrastructure would collapse because
all computers had been programed with dates written with years as two digits instead of four (as in "96" instead of "1996"), which meant that when 2000 arrived, all dates would be out of whack (because "00" comes before "99"). There was, I'm sure, a lot more to it than that, but that is one simplification.

In addition to the concern about the nation's infrastructure at that time, the Sanders family had also gotten into trouble with the government at that time over a difference of opinion about sales tax. Constitutionally, gold and silver are legal forms of tender -- they are money. The paper money we usually deal with, called "fiat" money, legally is not really money per the constitution. The Sanders family's business was exchanging silver and gold for fiat money. Theoretically, since silver and gold are money and paper is not, if anyone should have been collecting sales tax it would have been the folks who were "selling" paper money to Sanders, who was "buying" it with silver and gold. Sanders was not collecting sales tax for exchanging money for paper. He didn't interpret it as necessary. The government disagreed. And as a result, he had to serve some jail time while the issue was hammered out.

All that was put behind him, finally, as 2000 approached. And as the years passed, property by property, the Sanders family was migrating from an urban residence to a rural one, finally landing permanently in Dogwood Mudhole. (Yes, that's really the name of the place.)

Franklin Sanders' writing style is just hilarious. I tried to keep this book to myself, but as the days went by I just couldn't. I kept reading sections out loud to my son. And as I got to the end of the book, and read every single bit of print printed AFTER the end of the book, I just couldn't take it, and I started the book over again, reading it out loud to my 14 year old son, who also regularly laughs out loud at things in the book.

Let me give you a couple of examples of short blurbs that are so funny.

From "I Love Cats":
Stella is very respectful. She waits patiently and quietly until I am fully concentrated, then begins a long, silent run across the room. Halfway through the room she leaves the floor, flying through the air to land open-clawed on the back of my office chair, producing a sensation not unlike being attacked by a runaway fire hose or an enraged dust bunny with claws.
From "Sheep Handling":
I wrote you last month that we had bought some sheep, a.k.a. The Stupidest Animals in the World. My opinion has not changed in the last thirty days, and working with them didn't improve it.
Bear in mind that a grown sheep, weight about a hundred pounds, can jump five feet flatfooted, straight into the air, hover thirty seconds, and then disappear into the distance faster than your four-wheeler can drive. Electric fence doesn't bother them. At all. Not even five-strand electric fence. Sheep are covered with insulation.
At Home in Dogwood Mudhole  is like a diary of the ups and downs of life, as Franklin Sanders and his family learn how to be successful at running a farm. Starting with a couple of dogs, they go through loss and acquisition of dogs, chickens, cows, pigs, and sheep, with all the care and mucking that goes along with it. There are vehicles and batteries and transmissions, horses and horse-pulled equipment, runaways and injuries, and hoe downs, just to keep it fun. To the end of the book I kept hoping Franklin would get to have his sheep dog, but no dice. Clearly he eventually got one, though, based on the photo on the back cover.

If I can't have the pleasure (and don't have the energy) to live on a farm, I'm so glad I can enjoy the experience from my easy chair, living through the experiences of Franklin Sanders and his family. I have just loved reading Nothing That Eats, and I think you will, too.

Franklin Sanders is a hoot!

This is basically a book for adults, but easy enough for your kids to enjoy as a read-aloud (or older kids to read to themselves). I received a 379-page paperback copy of Nothing That Eats for free, for purposes of this review. Nothing That Eats is the first book in the series, and sells for $22.95 in paperback or $16.95 in digital format (Kindle, ePub or PDF). Volume II: Best Thing We Ever Did, has also recently been released (read excerpt here). If you haven't started your Christmas wish list yet, start it now and put Nothing That Eats at the top of the page.

Best Thing We Ever Did
There were 100 Crew Members signed up to read and review N, so to see more reviews click on the button below and go check them out.


  1. On behalf of the Sanders family, thank you for taking the time to read the book and post your review. We would like to let your readers know they can get free shipping (for up to 2 books, to US addresses only) by using the discount code TOSFREE at checkout. Thanks again, and God bless!

  2. Sweet! Thanks! So nice of you to offer such a nice deal to my readers! The real question we all want answered, though, is when will book Three be ready!?... :) Blessings!