A Farmers Diary, A Year at High House Farm by Sally Urwin

A Farmer's Diary

At Book Social we love to shine a light on anything local and bookish. Shops, events, and of course, authors. So when we heard local lady the pint sized farmer aka Sally Urwin was writing a book, we were very excited. Our excitement levels rose further when we realised Sally was writing about High House Farm, the farm her family own and run in Matfen, Northumberland. Just up the road from us.

Publication day is today, yey! We already have our hands on a copy which means you can be one of the first ones to read a review.

A Farmer’s Diary, The Blurb

‘I am going to do the whole bloody lambing. I’m going to lamb all the lambs. I imagine myself lean and strong, with thin thighs, in attractive waterproof overalls, striding through the lambing shed like I own it.
I spend the rest of the evening searching through eBay for waterproof trousers, short leg, size 14, that don’t look like a pair of plastic bags stitched together at the crotch.’

Sally Urwin and her husband Steve own High House Farm in Northumberland, which they share with two kids, Mavis the Sheepdog, one very Fat Pony, and many, many sheep. Set in a beautiful, wild landscape, and in use for generations, it’s perfect for Sally’s honest and charming account of farming life.

From stock sales to lambing sheds, out in the fields in driving snow and on hot summer days, A Farmer’s Diary reveals the highs, lows and hard, hard work involved in making a living from the land. Filled with grit and humour, newborn lambs and local characters, this is the perfect book for anyone who has ever wondered what it’s like on the other side of the fence.

Dear Diary

There is something about reading a spring themed book in spring. And this one, following the life of a sheep farm was definitely a lamb fest.

The book actually takes you through Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer in short diary entries with all the main events of the farming calendar included. The idyllic moments are captured as well as the hardships, and of course the animals, including ‘The Fat Pony’.

My favourite pint sized farmer

Whilst reading this book I fell in love with Sally. Her sense of humour shone through in (sheep lick) buckets. I mean who names their rams Thrusty Clappernuts and Randy Jackhammer? Her observations were spot on – how women have many years experience in dieting and usually know to the ounce how much they weigh. Her down to earth attitude was refreshing and her self deprecating was very relate-able. I’m five foot on a tall day! Sally offered a brutally honest account of farming, yet her love of her life style and family was plain to see.

Right up my street

Whilst I loved Sally, I also loved the book for its location – on our doorstep. The Urwins went to Beamish at Christmas. So did we. Sally half froze. So did we. Yet it was definitely worth it. Hexham, Corbridge, Newcastle. I know all of these places and this heightened the sense of enjoyment when reading. Do you ever find that?

Party time

In case you haven’t guessed I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s one of my favourites this year. To celebrate its publication Sally, Forum Books and High House Brewery are holding an event tonight at the brewery. There are still tickets available however if you can’t make it, signed copies of the book are available from Forum Books who you can contact here.

If you liked A Farmer’s Diary also try The Shepherd’s Life or The Yorkshire Shepherdess.

A Farmer's Diary. A Year at High House Farm