Welcome to a Party!

Last night (April 30) Common Good Books of St. Paul (MN) hosted the book release party for my latest book (The Compassionate Carnivore, Or How to Keep Animals Happy, Save Old MacDonald’s Farm, Reduce Your Hoofprint and Still Eat Meat.) It was scary and fun at the same time.

The party was held in the Virginia Street Swedenborgian Church, a small, charming church in an old St. Paul neighborhood.

Eric, the church’s minister, introduced us. He and I are both shepherds, but I think my flock is easier to lead than his.

The event was hosted by the proprietor of Common Good Books, Mr. Garrison Keillor (aka Guy Noir for those of you who listen to A Prairie Home Companion every Saturday night.) Here’s Garrison laughing.

Here’s Garrison not laughing.

Here’s me talking with my hands.

Here’s the crowd dispersing after the talk and questions. I’d share what we talked about, but I can’t remember. It took so much concentration to keep up with Garrison that I had to shut down the memory chips and was unable to record the conversation.

Every party needs cake.

Signing books….

And this is Melissa and our dear friend Willard, the guy who taught Melissa so much about farming. He loves to look at me with a twinkle in his eye and say he doesn’t know if he should take the credit…or the blame… (I tell him he can take both.)

Thanks to Common Good Books, Garrison Keillor, my parents, family and friends, and some total strangers who came to celebrate with me.

What you can’t see in this last photo is that the photographer managed to snap this shot just before exploding with pride. Dads are like that.

21 thoughts on “

  1. I could post my schedule, but I like finding out where you guys are from!

    Well, okay. It’s a short list:
    Milwaukee, May 6, Harry Schwartz
    Madison, May 7, A Room of One’s Own
    Chicago, June 18, Women and Children First

    Sorry, no Indianapolis…yet!

    Few publishers send writers on physical tours these days, but mine’s sending me on a radio tour.

    I’m doing 30 radio interviews April and May. If I get my act together, I’ll put those on my website, but then again, I may feel too shy to do that…. one of the drawbacks of being an introverted writer, I’m afraid.

  2. Catherine,
    Am reading Carnivore…though, unlike Hit By a Farm, I’m finding that I need to read shorter chunks and then set it aside to ruminate (sorry 🙂

    It’s very thought-provoking and has really opened my eyes to the concept of buying from the farmer’s markets, etc. rather than the grocery store.

    Question: At what point (how many miles) does using gas to travel to the farm or butcher to pick up meat nullify the benefit of buying “locally?”

    In other words, how much gas use cancels out the green benefit of not using long distance transport/shipping of meat?

  3. cjw,

    Rumination is good!

    You ask a question that lacks an easy answer. How does one estimate the transportation costs of factory meat?

    Were the steers shipped from MN to feedlots in CO, then shipped to a processing plant in TX, then the meat shipped to a distributor in Kansas? I think it’s nearly impossible to know.

    “Experts” say our food has traveled 1500 miles by the time it reaches us. It seems that buying directly from a farmer, or from a farmer’s market, is going to use less energy but studies are all over the board on this. It’s crazy-making, actually.

    There’s no way the average consumer can hope to know all these calculations, so I always look at the animals’ lives instead.

    But we each have to make these choices, and we’re doing so without a lot of hard data.

    How’s that for a waffle answer? While I was researching the book, I couldn’t find anything that gave me a definitive answer to your question.

  4. I just love that picture of Melissa & Willard. You can just see how much he must care about Melissa / you two. He looks like a proud, proud friend. 🙂

    (And, to travel all the way up to The Big Sh*tty – as I call it – to see you “in action”! Wow!)

  5. Congrats on the release of the new book! Haven’t got a copy yet…too busy to even consider reading something new, but it’s definitely on the wish list.

    I’ll be in Chicago just a couple days after you for a PHP/geek work conference – bummed I won’t get to attend your signing… Oh, and what a week to be in Chicago – you DO know it’s International Mr Leather there that same week, right? ROFL (no no, that’s not why I’m going…) You know, leather comes from cows – I noticed a theme… Seems like Chicago has it all!

  6. Chicken Mama,

    Melissa and Willard adore each other, which comes through in the photo, doesn’t it?


    Sorry I’ll miss you in Chicago. But as for the International Mr. Leather, hmmm, not my cup of tea either…but thanks for the tip…I’ll have to use some leather/cow joke in my presentation. 🙂

  7. I purchased your book yesterday and finished it today. I LOVED it! It is so refreshing to have such an informative book that does not get into an all or nothing name calling rant. It was very thoughtful and well researched.

    One thing I have noticed when I purchase from my local farmers around Duluth is that meat can actually be less expensive direct through the farm as opposed to getting the same meat at a local co-op store. And when you purchase from a local store, you can’t nuzzle a nose or scratch an ear.

    Thanks so much!

  8. Debbie,

    Thanks—so glad you enjoyed the book. Yes, it often is cheaper to buy directly from a farmer—you’re basically paying wholesale rates!

    I need to remind interviewers of this when they throw the whole price thing at me!

  9. I am reading your new book now and adore it. I also listed hit by a farm in my book coming out in decemeber as a resource! I think it’s just as informative to people who want to get into our world as any how-to book.

  10. Jenna,

    Maybe you should refer to Hit By a Farm not as a “how-to,” but as a “how-not-to!”

    What’s the title of your book? Please share the details with us!

  11. It’s called Made From Scratch, and it’s about a year in Idaho learning to farm/homestead as a complete, hopeless beginner. I learned to garden, raise chickens, keep bees, and tend a pair of giant angora fiber rabbits for spinning/knitting. Plus there’s some dog and cooking adventures as well. Storey’s the publisher. It’s been a ride, this is my first book.

    But anyway, my dream is sheep, and your book was so amazing at showing people the beginner’s take on ruminantland. I think I read it twice already! It’s what got me to take workshops and extension classes already, so thank you.

    I hope to shake your hands someday – you and Melissa’s – you’ve been an inspiration to this future shepherd, that’s for sure.

    If you get bored on a rainy day check out coldantlerfarm.blogspot.com – that’s where I hang out online.

  12. Jenna,

    It sounds like a great book. Don’t be shy about dropping by again when it comes out and mentioning it. Storey is a wonderful press.

    Giant angora rabbits? I don’t know why, but I find that idea frightening. I must have watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail too many times with that killer bunny…

    Good luck with the sheep dream, but be careful. They are addictive…

  13. Don’t be afraid of bunnies, they’re the easiest livestock ever. We raise California Satins (in Northern California) for meat and it’s very easy, plus you get excellent manure and they’ll eat all your fruit tree clippings.

    Yeah for compassionate carnivory!

  14. Yesterday I ran out and bought “Hit by a Farm” (I’d previously read a friend’s copy) and “The Compassionate Carnivore.” I re-read HBaF first, then read CC. Wow. I’d been telling people how laugh-out-loud funny HBaF was, but there I was, re-reading it, laughing out loud again.

    And CC was awesome. Heck, the most critical review on Amazon is three stars. Silly sentimental vegetarian. I’m so glad there are farmers like you making it possible for us compassionate carnivores to eat great meat. We just bought a chest freezer in preparation for our quarter-share of a grass-fed cow from a family farm down in Half Moon Bay. These are good times to be an ethical eater.

  15. SFValues,

    Thanks for the compliment—glad you enjoyed both books.

    And congratulations on your freezer—you won’t regret it! Right now ours is packed with strawberries and beef and lamb and chicken…with a few frozen fruity treats as well!

    Rabbits, hmmm? Don’t give Melissa any ideas for new projects around here!

  16. In my world, having a book event with Garrison present, is the height of success. Amazing! I hope he was way cool to hang around with for a few hours! Congratulations!

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