The Reluctant Farmer of Whimsey Hill #nonfiction #memoir

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An urban, animal-phobic robotics engineer marries a woman who wants to live on a farm and rescue animals.

The Reluctant Farmer of Whimsey Hill

by Bradford M Smith with Nancy Raven Smith & Lynn Raven

Genre/Keyword(s): Non-Fiction, Beach Read, Humor, Humorous Memoir




We all know the saying—opposites attract. But the real question is how long can such a relationship endure? That's what troubles animal-phobic, robotics engineer Brad about his recent marriage to animal-rescuing Nancy. According to the Meyers-Briggs Personality Test, their union is doomed. There's only one problem: they took the test after the wedding.

Whether he's chasing a steer named Pork Chop through the woods with a lasso, locked in a tack room by the family pony, or trying unsuccessfully to manage their barn using his robotics experience, the odds are stacked against him. Come enjoy the warm, unique, and hilarious stories of Brad's early marriage and the bumpy road from his robotics lab to rural Virginia.


- 1971-

If a black cow crosses your path, is it worse luck than a black cat? I’m not a superstitious man. And yet, here I stand in the middle of the road about a mile away from our farm in rural Virginia wearing my best navy pinstriped suit. Doesn’t sound like such bad luck, does it?

But if this were a good news, bad news thing, that would actually be the good news. The bad news lies at the other end of the thick rope I’m clutching in my hands. That’s where it circles the neck of a Black Angus steer named Pork Chop. There’s no doubt in my mind that this unruly beast was put on earth to torment me.

My family disavows all connection to Pork Chop. They refer to him as “my cow,” as in, “Honey, your cow’s out” or “Daddy, your cow needs to be fed.” Somehow this animal has managed to alienate my entire family. Not an easy feat with a family as besotted and overrun with animals as mine is. But for once, Pork Chop is not being rowdy. Actually, quite the opposite. He’s lying on his side with all four feet stuck out stiffly. He looks dead, but he’s just asleep. I can see his chest rising and falling steadily. Dead might be easier to deal with.

A honk shatters the quiet. A neighbor slows down in his dusty, battered Ford pick-up. I raise my hand to wave him down. He waves back and drives on. I can see him snickering in the rear view mirror. Our working farm neighbors don’t know what to make of me. I’m still the outsider who works nine to five for the federal government. I can understand their confusion. The country is not my habitat of choice. As a Boston native and a Cornell graduate with a Masters in Electrical Engineering, order, logic, and cleanliness matter to me. The robots I work with suit me perfectly. When I program them, they do what they’re supposed to. Robots never pee, poop, bite, kick, or drag me where I don’t want to go. Unfortunately my wife’s animals do.

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