This is a marvelous first time out for an author who took to heart the adage "Write about what you know." Yet what Susan Basquin came to know was something few women learn. Late in her 40s, after several years as a writer for a weekly newspaper in Santa Fe, New Mexico, she accepted an invitation from her brother to start a goat farm on an island in Lake michigan, off the tip of a peninsula in northeastern Wisconsin. She wanted to do something different--and different this book is.
It is full of life and death and the natural order of things--which, of course, is life and death. Knowing nothing about goats or farming or island life, or anything else that she had chosen, Basquin just did it. Starting with 21 angora goats, whose wool someday was supposed to bring a profit, she set about keeping them alive and growing the flock, which ultimately numbered 100. The emphasis soon centered on keeping them alive.
Disease, accident and injury were her companions, and she learned how to cope with each of them. With the help of the tight-knit island community, she became a farmer equal to anyone. But isolation--and sometimes loneliness--also became familiar to her. For six years she ran the farm. But then her brother decided to shut it down.
Basquin returned to Santa Fe, and now has written this memoir. it sings with a commitment to life, and the new life she found for herself, surrounded by goats on an island. This is not a life that most women, or men, would choose. But for anyone with an imagination, it is a compelling read. It will make you wish you had been there--and glad you were not. It will expand your concept of the possible. What is still waiting for us all?