Launching ‘Till the Cows Come Home’

The launch of my book Till the Cows Come Home has been and gone. I have to admit that in the run up to it, I was thinking to myself that never ever again will I be crazy enough to launch a book in the spring. Let’s just say that most farmers were at silage rather than thinking about attending book launches!

Book launch: Till the Cows Come Home

Remember I mentioned that I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel seeing myself on the front cover let alone seeing multiple copies at the book launch. It was fine in the end, I honestly don’t even see myself on the cover any more so being a ‘cover girl’ is okay after all! The publishers really did a great job, it’s a lovely size, the dust jacket gives it a distinguished vibe, there’s a cow pattern on the inside of the hardback, there’s lovely detailing in the icons at the beginning and end of each chapter, the photo pages look great, the font is neither too big nor too small – just perfect in fact. I’m really happy with it. There was a lovely atmosphere and buzz at the book launch and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Book launch: Till the Cows Come Home

Media

Lots of other lovely things have been happening too such as radio interviews with Sean O’Rourke, Joe on Shannonside, Karen on South East Radio and Eimear on KCLR. The Farming Independent gave my book a lovely shoutout the day before the launch, Sue Leonard interviewed me and reviewed it in her Beginner’s Pluck interview in the Irish Examiner describing it as a heart-warming and humourous account of life on the farm, and Elaine Prenderville interviewed me for a feature in the Sunday Business Post.

Review of Till the Cows Come Home

The Sunday Business Post feature - Lorna Sixsmith, Till the Cows Come Home

Agriland gave it a lovely write up too, saying it is full of amusing anecdotes. That’s Farming said “The book isn’t just a retelling of memories; it explores how farming has changed for farm women too – their roles; the facilities that made life easier; their finances; their independence. A dairy farmer who is, ironically, allergic to cow’s milk, Sixsmith also recounts trying many cures to get rid of eczema, sometimes with hilarious results.”

Reviews

Back cover of Till the Cows Come HomeI was already delighted with the number of endorsements I’d received, two went on the back cover and the others are on the opening pages. Next up was the book tour via a number of blogs. I had been really grateful to the number of people who endorsed my book, reading the PDF within a short time frame and providing short testimonials to be used to show browsers that the book was worth a second look.

Below are brief excerpts from various reviews with links across to the full review should you wish to read any. I really was blown away by the reviews:

Georgie, a young farmer, blogger at Come by Blog, and organiser of the ‘Young Farmers of the UK’ twitter account, said:

The main takeaway point of Lorna’s book for me, was how enjoyable and easy to read it was. She takes you through the various happenings of life on a modern farm in a way that old timers and new comers alike will be able to follow, and doesn’t shy away from the realities of life and death in the farming world. This book would be an excellent choice for anyone with interests ranging from dairy farming, farm life in general, and rural Ireland’s history with a really human voice and feel to it. It’s like you’re sitting at Lorna’s kitchen table with her, just having a chat about things.

Will, Welsh farmer, podcaster and blogger at Farmer and Father, said

Perhaps my favourite thing is how Lorna’s written about the eponymous stars of the show – the cows themselves.

Her razor sharp wit shines through throughout the book. There are genuine laugh out loud moments, as well as wry observational humour on subjects that farmers everywhere will recognise, and even people that have never stepped foot on a farm in their lives will get. I particularly enjoyed Chapter 8: Silage Making – Trials and Tribulations (which is the perfect title by the way); it’s a testing time of year in many ways, with weather issues often adding to the pressure, and Lorna’s captured both the difficulties and enjoyment of working in a silaging team perfectly. And if you don’t laugh at the stranger at the table I’ll eat my hat.

To sum up, the book oozes warmth, humour, wisdom, and love, and is written in a way that makes it both fascinating and entertaining for farmers and non-farmers alike. I’ve read many books written about farming lives over the years, but this might just be my favourite. If I could write, this would be the book I’d have written myself. So If you want to escape the hectic modern World for a few hours, put down your devices, make yourself a cup of tea, and pick up a copy of ‘Till the Cows Come Home’ by Lorna Sixsmith. I promise that you won’t regret it.

Mairead of Swirl and Thread, a book blogger, said

Till the Cows Come Home is littered with such recollections and memories, told with such a comic voice, making it very easy to visualise the expressions of pure horror when the shame of all the cobwebs came into view.

Till the Cows Come Home is like a warm hug from Lorna. Her upbeat nature, her positivity and her ‘just get on with it’ attitude is an inspiration. Till the Cows Come Home might look like a book that would appeal to only one section of society, but don’t be fooled by those cows on the cover. Till the Cows Come Home is a book for all, a journey back to the days of our grandparents and great-grandparents and I guarantee you will also learn something you never knew along the way.

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Clare, of The TBR Pile, a book blogger and vegetarian / almost vegan, said:

I think people who don’t work or live among farmers can have a one-dimensional view of the life and I think Till the Cows Come Home goes some way to showing that it is a mixture of idyllic and heartbreak, hard work and play, stress and contentment.

Would I recommend this book? I would wholeheartedly. It is an enjoyable and accessible read; informative without lecturing; relatable and entertaining; nostalgic but pragmatic; amusing and down-to-earth. It is part memoir, part social history, and part meet-your-food-producer. Farmers will nod their heads in agreement, rural dwellers will recognise their neighbours, and if all you’ve known is towns, then this delightful book will show you how your country cousins live.

Elaine, of My Slow Lifestyle, a farmer, Montessori teacher and lifestyle blogger, said:

This is a book for anyone, for those born on a farm as a little trip back down memory lane and also for those who weren’t as a look into a different kind of childhood. I loved the memories reading this brought back of my own childhood.

Hannah, young farmer, of Hannah Binns, Adventures of a Farmer’s Daughter blog, said:

I had to hold back tears (both of sadness and laughter) as I imagined Brian’s emotional, and extremely matter of fact, reaction to the devastating news. In fact, throughout the memoir Lorna deploys this kind of humour that left me grinning from ear to ear urging me to read on.

Lorna’s book definitely has a feel good factor about it, through its emotional anecdotes celebrating various stages of Lorna’s farming life and past. It combines history, murder (yes that’s right, MURDER!), birth and agricultural lectures in 24 delightful chapters, leaving you feeling a part of Lorna’s wonderful farming family and her many adventures.

Yet despite our differences in upbringings, Lorna on an Irish dairy farm vs me on a working hill sheep farm in Lancashire, her memoir is littered with sheer relatable content that upon reading brought back floods of memories about my own farming childhood. It left me feeling proud of my farming heritage, my unique upbringing and instilled more motivation to keep writing/blogging about my farming adventures.

Vicky, sheep and pig farmer, with the brilliantly named blog And Then There Were Pigs (which I reckon will be a book someday), said:

The book is described as ‘Memories of an Irish farming childhood’ but the book is so much more than that. It transports you from modern day farming right the way back through the decades, even centuries. Lorna’s storytelling enables the reader to experience a multi-faceted world, like you are watching an episode of “Who do you think you are?”, discovering secrets from Lorna’s family history, and the history of the local area. Then you’re taken back to the present day, as if you’re immersed in an episode of ‘BBC Countryfile’ learning about real dairy farming and all the ups and downs that come with it.

Maura, of Falling for a Farmer, writer, soon-to-be farmer’s wife, said:

The book blends together humorous anecdotes, practical information (concluding with a few farm-favourite recipes, no less!) and insights gleaned from Lorna’s years on the farm.

Sixsmith’s writing style is conversational and pleasant, the pacing relaxed, allowing the reader to settle in and savour at their leisure the idyllic images of an Irish farm life that Lorna’s words depict; cows ready to be milked ambling along country lanes, wayward sheepdogs, hungry labourers gathered around a kitchen table during silage season, children playing in the swathes of grass.

Join Lorna on her rounds and experience all the trials and tribulations of life on a dairy farm from the comfort of your own armchair.

Emma of Farmer’s Wife and Mummy, a farmer’s wife, mum and avid farming blogger, said:

I actually felt Lorna was sat next to me while I read. Such was the warmth of the words and Lorna’s uncanny ability to write like she is talking to an old friend.

One of my favourite stories in the book is when Lorna rode on the back of the trailer with the bales of straw from a neighbouring farm-home. As I read, I was transported onto the top of that trailer with her as the ten year old clung on for dear life. Growing up on a farm must be full of adventures like this.

And if you’d like to know what theme song I’d choose for the book, my favourite read of 2017 and what I’m working on next, check out my interview with Love Books Group.

What’s Next?

Well, I’m now catching up on all the things that didn’t get completed last year such as booking builders and getting some work done on the house. Is it terrible that I was more excited about the new calf shed than I am about choosing a new kitchen? The thoughts of it! The children have their summer holidays now, Will finished his Junior Cert yesterday, so hopefully we’ll get a few days out. Although, in true 2018 fashion, the weather has turned to another extreme, that of almost drought conditions so now we’re feeding bales to stretch the slow-growing grass.

Till the Cows Come Home

Oh, and if you’re thinking ‘I must buy a copy of Till the Cows Come Home, where can I get it’, it’s available in all good bookshops. My previous three books were self-published and hence, I sell them on this website. The new book is published by Black and White Publishing so it’s available in the traditional bookshops. And I spotted it in Tesco’s of Carlow today too so I’m presuming it’s in all branches.

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