A Memoir about Leaving the City Behind for Life on a Farm, For Fans of Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and James Rebanks’s The Shepherd’s Life
In a world increasingly filled with questions of where our food comes from and dissatisfactions about our modern lives, Country Grit is a story that will resonate with countless people itching to get back to the land. Told with humor and hard-earned wisdom, it is also an account of what small-scale farmers across the country experience every day.
Scottie Jones lived a typical suburban, professional life in Phoenix until her husband, Greg, got into a near-fatal car accident. While recovering, he became convinced that they needed a change to a simpler way of life, more connected with nature and each other. So, driven by a desire to cut ties with a material and convenient suburban life that had left them feeling empty, they bought a peaceful-looking farmhouse on sixty acres in Oregon and said good-bye to everything they knew.
But the road to pastoral bliss is fraught with hardship, mishap, and financial risk. When the burden becomes almost too much, Scottie hits on the idea of creating a Farm Stay, where people could visit and learn about Leaping Lamb Farm. The Farm Stay becomes the niche that rescues them from foreclosure. Having found a sense of purpose and a sense of place, the couple now had the means to sustain it. This edition includes a new foreword by Joel Salatin.
Scottie Jones is the executive director of the US Farm Stay Association, which started as a guest house on her farm. Funded by two USDA grants, it has grown into a nationwide network of farmers whose website has over 600,000 users. Scottie has built a new travel market in the United States and has become a nationally recognized speaker at both tourism and farm conferences across the country. She has written articles about Farm Stay for many magazines including Country, Dressage Today, and Southern Farm & Garden. She is also a founding member of the Oregon Agritourism Network. She still lives at and operates Leaping Lamb Farm in Alsea, Oregon.
“As I read Scottie's self-described farmoir, I laughed, cried, muttered, ‘Amen,’ and kept turning pages. This story of love, life, and land will touch you profoundly and bring you along as one of the few who cares about participatory stewardship and agrarian authenticity. Thank you, Scottie, for touching our hearts.”—Joel Salatin, from his foreword
“I laughed, I gasped, I cried, and I laughed again at the reality of the farming life as told by a city girl who had no real idea what she was getting into when she and her husband bought a sheep farm in Oregon. Told with self-deprecating humor, Country Grit challenges us all to get the most out of life, even when change seems scary . . . and to make lemonade out of lemons if we have to.” —Lainey Morse, author of The Little Book of Goat Yoga
“Sometimes a book not only teaches you about a whole new world but also tells a story so deep and true that it teaches you about yourself as well. Country Grit is one of these rare books. I laughed and cried, and earmarked my favorite pages—to revisit when I want to remember the truth of the story and to share with others when it resonates.”—Alyssa Ravasio, founder and CEO of Hipcamp
"Humor-filled . . . The book focuses on the various joys and travails that came their way as they figured out farming: lambs roaming onto the lawn, broken fences, trying out turkeys, wasp stings, barn building, lambing, changing sheep breeds, scared horses, and harvesting."—Register-Guard
“Scottie Jones and her husband bought an Oregon farm despite lacking agricultural experience and proceeded to encounter every setback in the book. . . . Her memoir recounts her experiences with abundant humor.”—Oregonian
"Scottie writes with vulnerability and honesty about the reality of making it as a farmer today. Creating an experience for visitors while following a dream is clever and inspiring! This book has heart." —Jenna Woginrich, author of Cold Antler Farm: A Memoir of Growing Food and Celebrating Life on a Scrappy Six-Acre Homestead
"In Country Grit, Scottie Jones narrates her inventive and rocky quest for sustainability in the troubled landscape of today's small American farm, crafting what should not only be a primer for all who dream of returning to the land but also an entertaining tale for all packed with quirky characters, hilarious and heartbreaking challenges, and the pursuit of happiness against all odds. Her ultimate success on the heels of repeated disasters inspires us all to find our own 'heart of a farmer,' wherever we may be." —Suzanne McMinn, author of Chickens in the Road: An Adventure in Ordinary Splendor “I smelled the mud, felt the chill, loved the critters and the characters and got lost and found with Scottie and Greg as they embarked on their idealistic vision of farm life. Reminded me of the old TV series Green Acres. City folks putting their hearts and minds and backs into making a living on an Oregon farm situated in the Coast Range. No easy task! Scottie has a remarkable talent for writing with warmth and wit. Highly recommend this for anyone looking for a good read, a good laugh, and a good exercise in how to make a dream come true.”—Danuta Pfeiffer, author of Chiseled: A Memoir of Identity, Duplicity, and Divine Wine