About Catherine

After twenty-five wonderful years with sheep, llamas, goats, steers, ducks, chickens, and peacocks, Melissa and I sold the farm and moved on to our next adventure: city life. We wanted to leave while it was still a choice and not a necessity, and for many reasons it was time. Now that we aren't doing chores every day, or caring for 53 acres, both of us are exploring new interests. (Melissa has become crazy about orchids, and I'm painting and playing the ukelele. She spends hours looking at photos of orchids, which I call "orchid porn." And I spend a fair amount of time drooling over expensive ukeleles, which I call "ukelele porn.") The energy we used to build our farm is now being channeled into improving and repairing our 1924 brick home, which desperately needs some TLC.

The farm enriched our lives beyond measure. It gave Melissa an outlet for her love of animals and plants and fixing things. It gave me a writing career. Our friend Kim warned us that the farm would ‘haunt’ us long after we’d left, and he was right. But we are haunted in a good way—by memories of the land we knew so well, by the faces of individual animals, and by farm story after farm story. A young family has now taken over the care of the land. They are raising cattle, so the farm continues to be a farm, which makes us very happy.

Hit By a FarmSheepishI wrote Hit by a Farm to chronicle the beginning of the farm. Then I wrote Sheepish, a memoir about the middle of my farming life. Now that we've had a few years to recover from all that's happened in our lives the last four years, I've decided it's time to wrap things up in a third memoir about the struggle to let go. Stay tuned!

Thank you all so much for being part of our amazing adventure.

Melissa Peteler and Catherine Friend
Zumbrota, Minnesota

  Minnesota State Arts Board