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Humor Essays

True Confessions from the Ninth Concession

The Harrowsmith Years

by (author) Dan Needles

Douglas & McIntyre
Initial publish date
Aug 2017
Essays, Personal Memoirs, Animals
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2017
    List Price

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Author and playwright Dan Needles has long delighted readers and audiences alike with his insightful and laugh-out-loud perspective on small-town life, published in such bestselling books as Wingfield's World (Random House, 2011), Wingfield's Hope (Key Porter, 2005), With Axe and Flask (McFarlane, Walter and Ross, 2002) and Letters From Wingfield Farm (Key Porter, 1988).

In 1988, Needles and his wife left the city to start a family in a country community located two hours north of Toronto. Together they stocked their farm with sheep, cattle, chickens, pigs and, eventually, four children. Needles' charming chronicle unfolds in essays dated from 1997 to 2016, offering homespun advice for successful country living--like whether to wave from the elbow or to merely raise one finger from the steering wheel when passing a neighbour in the car. He cautions on rural superstitions, such as when his neighbour hesitated before selling him weaner pigs because every time he does the wife of the farmer who's buying them becomes pregnant--which turned out to be true. Here too is the tale of an unlikely friendship between a "borderline" collie ("he's never bitten anything in his life and the sheep are catching on") and an odd duck named Ferdinand, as well as other hilarious stories involving an assortment of farm animals, including the weapon of choice to properly dispatch a rooster-gone-bad; the risks of giving a name to a potential Sunday dinner entrée; and how to outsmart a free-range pig. With his witty insight, Needles shares the art of neighbouring in the country--a place made for visits, and "where a figure walking across your field is more of a reason to put the kettle on than to call the police."

True Confessions from the Ninth Concession is a sesquicentennial crop of antics and aphorisms by Canada's funniest farmer--one that presents a wonderful escape for world-weary city dwellers, and affirmative reading for anyone who is from, or has moved to, rural Canada.

About the author

DAN NEEDLES is the creator of the popular Wingfield Farm plays, full-length stage comedies that have filled theatres across Canada and the United States for more than 3,000 performances since 1984. Wingfield’s Inferno, the sixth in the series of plays starring Rod Beattie, opens at the Stratford Festival in 2005. A 21-part CBC television series, based on the first four plays, aired in 2001. In 2003, With Axe & Flask, a history of fictional Persephone Township, won the Stephen Leacock Medal for humour. A regular columnist for Harrowsmith-Country Life and Country Guide, Dan Needles lives with his wife, Heath, and their four children on a small farm near Collingwood, Ontario.

Dan Needles' profile page

Other titles by Dan Needles