Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Today's Wednesday Wonders features Gail Jenner's  
Ankle High and Knee Deep: Women Reflect on Western Rural Life.

About the Book:

 Colicky horses, trucks high-centered in pastures, late nights spent in barns birthing calves--the trials and tribulations of farm and ranch life are as central to its experience as amber waves of grain and Sunday dinners at the ranch house. Ankle High and Knee Deep collects together essays about lessons learned by ranch women, cowgirls, and farmers about what they’ve learned while standing in or stepping out of “mud, manure, and other offal” in their day to day lives on the land. This collection of entertaining and inspirational voices offers unique perspectives on relationships, loss, love, marriage, and parenting and other universal issues. These are contemporary accounts of women struggling to keep a lifestyle intact, recollections of childhoods spent in open spaces, and tales of overcoming obstacles--inspirational reading for city dwellers and country folk, alike.

You may purchase Ankle High and Knee Deep from Amazon by clicking HERE.

It is available on Barnes & Noble by clicking HERE.


“Farming seems easy when your plow is a pencil and you are a thousand miles from the corn field.”  ~  Dwight Eisenhower

          Life is all about the learning, and the “family farm” is a great schoolhouse. Ankle High and Knee Deep represents what 40+ rural/farm women have learned while standing in or stepping out of mud, manure, and other “offal.” It is a collection of entertaining and inspirational essays that offers a unique perspective on love, marriage, parenting, relationships, loss, and other universal issues. These women’s connection to the land and to the people and animals in their lives is documented here.      
          Concepts that the general public has now adopted, words like sustainability and renewable/recyclable, come to us directly from the life of a farmer or rancher. Working within a landscape that can change with the seasons or alongside the forces of nature that demand commitment and sacrifice develops deep character; interestingly, the word “character” comes from the Greek word meaning “to chisel.” That describes perfectly what living and working in an often harsh physical environment does to the human soul.
          Several of the best lessons I’ve learned have come from forty-two plus years spent onour fifth-generation ranch:

          *Sometimes the mud and muck gets ankle deep, but it can always be washed off.
          *You’ve got to plant the seeds before there’s anything worth harvesting.
          *Waiting is time well spent. After winter comes spring, and after spring rains comes the summer harvest.
          *Never think anything is not worth saving; sometimes it’s just the odd piece of baling wire that keeps things from falling apart.
          *Don’t be in a hurry; that’s when you run through fences or get stuck in ditches.
          *Always watch out for the soft places:  Anything that looks that good has got to be dangerous.
          *Don’t ignore the rotten apples. They can destroy the entire barrelful if overlooked.
          *Don’t be afraid of hard work and sweat. There’s nothing finer than a shower or warm fire after a day well spent.
          *Love your job. It’s what you do, all day, every day.
          *Just because a skunk is cute doesn’t mean he won’t stink!
          *Don’t look back: that’s when you find yourself belly up in a low spot.
          *Don’t hold onto trouble; you’ve got to spread the manure around in order to make it effective fertilizer.
          *Do things right the first time so you don’t have to do them twice.
          *Be willing to invest – not only money – but sweat and time. In the end you’ll have something worth keeping.
          *Out of the garbage heap grow the seeds you ignored.
          *Good fences make good neighbors; know what people’s boundaries are and learn to respect them.
          *To have a good garden, you’ve got to live in it; weeds take over quickly.
          *Weaning time can’t be ignored; there’s a right time to let go.
          *Most of the time there’s no choice:  Success requires frequent sacrifice and persistence. 
          Though not a faith-based book, this collection of essays does underscore traditional values while providing an ofttimes humorous look at life spent at the wrong end of a tractor, cow, or horse. Many reflect the lessons learned from a life centered around work, work, and more work. Trivial moments become significant moments of transition – revealing that maybe the destination isn’t as important as the road that leads there.
          Maybe that’s why farmers eventually become philosophers.

About Gail Fiorini-Jenner:

Gail Jenner is an author and editor who has completed two novels and five regional histories:

ACROSS THE SWEET GRASS HILLS, WINNER 2002 WILLA Literary Award from Women Writing the West
WESTERN SISKIYOU COUNTY: Gold & Dreams, Arcadia Publishing (2002/2005)
IMAGES OF THE STATE OF JEFFERSON, Arcadia Publishing (2006)
THE STATE OF JEFFERSON: Then & Now, Arcadia Publishing (2008)
BLACK BART: THE POET BANDIT, Infinity Publishing
HISTORIC INNS & EATERIES IN THE STATE OF JEFFERSON, including a chapter of recipes, from Old American Publishing
She also edited/contributed to the 2014 anthology, ANKLE HIGH & KNEE DEEP, TwoDot/Globe Pequot, a collection of memoir/reflections by 40+ rural/ranch women, from all over the West. In its first week on, it reached #3 in the Top List of books on Rural/Country Living.

Enjoy and follow Gail's Amazon Author Page to see all the books she has written by clicking HERE.  


Jenner Family Beef:

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40+ rural women talk about farm life in ANKLE HIGH & KNEE DEEP edited by Gail Jenner #WedWonders  

1 comment:

  1. The stories these women share are just so wonderful, truthful and awe-inspiring at the same time. Doris McCraw/Angela Raines-author