Book Feature: Flat Broke with Two Goats

Article by Gina Malone. The Laurel’s book features introduce regional books and authors. Send information on new or recently published books to

It’s one thing to choose the homesteading life and quite another to have it thrust upon you. That’s what happened to Jennifer McGaha and her family when settlement of back taxes five years ago meant that they had to sell their suburban home in Asheville and move to a 100-year-old home outside of Brevard to cut expenses.

“We knew basically nothing about farming when we started,” she says, “so we had a lot to learn—everything from how to clean a chick’s blocked vent to how to help a pregnant doe through labor and delivery.”

McGaha’s family roots go deep in the Appalachians, with both her parents, and generations before them, from Haywood County. Still, she needed help to become comfortable with living close to the land and raising chickens and goats.

They did things the new-fashioned way—by reading books and blogs and watching YouTube videos. “Our best sources of information, however,” she says, “were other farmers we met at local markets, feed stores and in line at the grocery store.”

McGaha hopes the book will resonate with many readers—“homesteaders and those interested in homesteading, people interested in Appalachian culture and other people who have gone through trying times and have had to start from scratch, to reenvision their lives. The book also contains recipes,” she adds, “so people interested in cooking may also enjoy it.”

Flat Broke with Two Goats, January, 2018, memoir, softcover, $15.99, by Jennifer McGaha, and published by Sourcebooks, Naperville, IL. A book signing will be held Tuesday, January 23, at 6 p.m. at Malaprop’s Bookstore and Café. To learn more visit

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