At Home In Dogwood Mudhole – Volume One: Nothing that Eats {TOS review}

At Home in Dogwood Mudhole Volume One: Nothing That Eats by Franklin Sanders is a narrative that walks readers through the lives of the Sanders family from the years of 1995 through 2002.

The book is 379 pages long and is volume one of a series that includes Volume Two: Best Thing We Ever Did, which is also available (read sample chapter – Home Alone Milking) and is expected to include Volume Three: The Sage of Dogwood Mudhole. I received a paperback copy that I read myself as a mommy-read.

It touts itself as “The unforgettable story of one family’s attempt to live an authentic life.”

The stories that Sanders tells are taken from his newsletter The Moneychanger, which Sanders still writes and has an online location.

Sanders takes us way back to June 1995 when his family is making the move from city life in Memphis, Tennessee to living and surviving on the farm. They struggled as many families do today with supporting their family. The only out they saw was returning to farm living, from which he and his wife Susan were only two generations removed.

We get to see Franklin and his family living the dream that so many of us have, which is to move to the country and begin life anew minus all of the everything that goes along with living in the big city and surviving on our own means. It is an even more interesting experience, because of the multi-generational conditions.

If the name Dogwood Mudhole sounds unusual, then I would say that it is. According to the map that Sanders includes in the book to give readers a sense of direction when trying to locate his home, Sanders is just down the road from me off of Highway 64 near the original Natchez Trace. I may need to consider a visit sometime in the near future.

You may read the sample chapter of Pig Persuader, which is found in section three, Learning Curve, of the book that is divided into four sections. It takes the reader all the way back to October 2001 and gives you good insight as to what to expect as you begin to flip the pages of what you may deem as an interesting read.

Sanders has a sense of humor that will keep you smiling throughout the book. He is even able to get a bit of a smile in the chapter No Hiding from God when he discusses death in a December 2000 entry. Other points of amusement is how the love of their animals pretty much takes over their lives.

I also like the inclusion of plates or pictures that he has in the book, so that you can see some of the family memories that he shares.

There is a lot going on in At Home in Dogwood Mudhole Volume One: Nothing That Eats. One of the aspects of the book that will keep your attention is the fact that you are reading about the life of a real person, so you may have a tendency to fully lend your heart to the stories that he tells. A real person did all of the things or the events happened and they are not made up to keep your interest in reading the book.

As a resident in the same state as Sanders, some of the stories he shares are more vivid to me. Some of the places he mentions, I have been through and others are ones that I have driven past on my way to another place in Tennessee. I know his country, I feel his country, because our family made a similar transition, moving from the big city to the country, but just not on the scale that Sanders and his family did.

As hard as his living (the work part) seems to be, it is something that I still dream about every once in a while.

Sanders’ life is full of so much – animals, farming, war reenactment and family, but he never seems to forget God’s presence and purpose in his life.

War reenactment is a hobby (skill(?)) that I have recently been introduced to since living in the south. I was surprised to see how many people get so deeply involved in the experience and the history (or opinions) that they share, which Sanders also does in the book.

At times, it can be difficult to keep up while reading, because of the compilation of the material that spans 17 years of “life with the Sanders” that is originally from the monthly newsletter he sent to his readers. Sanders has put those newsletter together to make this book. On the other hand, you have an appreciation for the fact that he is an “open book” and does not want to leave anything out, which helps the reader become even more familiar with his family. I’m sure that will be extremely helpful if one decides to continue reading through the series.

Sanders makes many good points in the book like it’s not the lack of money that farming life produces that keeps people from living that life, but rather the desire to really work hard. Our concept of work – computer use, paper shuffling, etc. – verses manual labor that leaves you searching blindly for your bed and a soft place to lay your head at night only to start again early in the morning to work just as hard. I am especially reminded of this as the temperatures are currently dropping for the new season.

If you love family, reading about the hard work of others that brings a wonderful sense of joy and accomplishment in life and all the while seeing how God fits into the picture, then At Home in Dogwood Mudhole Volume One: Nothing That Eats may just be a good read for you.

You may purchase At Home in Dogwood Mudhole Volume One: Nothing That Eats for $22.95 in paperback and $16.95 for Kindle/e-PuB/PDF.

You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members on The Homeschool Crew Blog.

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One Response to “At Home In Dogwood Mudhole – Volume One: Nothing that Eats {TOS review}”

  • 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!

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