Book Review: Dirty Chick – The Adventures of an Unlikely Farmer

Dirty ChickDirty Chick is a fun memoir by Antonia Murphy recounting her family’s move from America to New Zealand, partly because of her son’s developmental delay and partly to be able to afford health insurance and a decent standard of living. Havng found a good school for their children, Peter finds a job in IT and Antonia spends her time getting to know the neighbours (slowly getting used to the gruffness of busy farmers), increasing their number of animals to a total of 19 and looking after their children. I was really impressed by her brave attempts to create various dishes with their home grown produce. She managed to create various cheeses from the milk of one goat which puts my previous efforts regarding the milk produced from two goats to shame! Not to mention that we have 110 cows yet making butter from scratch and trying mozzarella cheese have been on my list for way too long. I did make clotted cheese once by the way but I had a deadline as I had to bring some to a photo shoot picnic! Yes, I need deadlines!

Part of me was amused by the amount of work and angst created by just 19 animals – cats, dogs, sheep, a goat, alpacas, chickens, a rooster and a couple of ducks and part of me was impressed by their efforts as they were completely in the dark before they started – apart from a knowledge that ducks have sharp penises and are capable of raping chickens! When Antonia wasn’t scarred after witnessing that experience, it was clear that she was made for farming. As you might expect, cute animals were treated as pets until they became unruly and these brave owners decided enough was enough. The scenes involving the spitting alpacas are hilarious.

If anyone reading this is thinking of trying to lead ‘the good life’, it would certainly make them think twice before jumping in head first when offered particular animals for free! An amusing and a touching read but even the scenes when coping with their son’s developmental delays will make you chuckle.

Dirty Chick: Adventures of an Unlikely Farmeris published by Penguin and is available in print and kindle. I thought the kindle edition was expensive at ?10.14 and wouldn’t have bought it at that price except as I’m writing my own farming book, I was intrigued to see what it was like. I’d have thought a price of ?5.99 for a kindle copy would be more appropriate.

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