"The best view on the farm" hits book shelves and hearts

Jess Gorman
Granite Falls Advocate Tribune

Southwest Minnesota’s rural region is brimming with artistic talent but with each new creation that emerges, creatives like author John Homme continue to capture audiences in new beautifully done ways.

John is a retired science teacher and media specialist. His background is in writing curriculum, but retirement changed much of that when Homme had the time to sit back and take stock of his experiences growing up in the Minnesota river valley. Then he did something not many remanencer's do, He wrote it all down, eloquently, colorfully, and with the planning and detail one would expect from an educator. Thus producing, “The Best View on the Farm” his first historical novel.

Born in Granite Falls and raised in Sacred Heart, he now lives in Rochester, Minnesota with his wife Martha. John attended the University of Minnesota, Mankato. His undergraduate work was in Science and Math, with his Masters degree in Environmental Education and a second Masters in Information Media. Homme was a public school teacher for 32 years.

"The Best View on the Farm" by John Homme. A historical novel produced and set in Minnesota.

Most educators would relax after retirement from a 32 year stint of molding young minds, maybe take a cruise or visit a foreign country. Not John. All the peace and beauty he needed to reflect and create could be found on a farm right here in the Minnesota river valley.

“The Rochester Public Library put out a call for short novels of 20,000 words or more on the general subject of water. Mine was on the effect water has had on my life” said John of his encouragement to write.

“Our family has a farm in the Minnesota River Valley which now belongs to me.”, explained Homme, “We lived in a log home on the farm until I was 6 years old. The beauty of the Minnesota River Valley was something I took for granted until I saw it through the eyes of others. It is truly a special place.”.

Homme still gets to the farm about four times a year even though it is about a 400-mile round trek. The trips encompass a list of rural Minnesota activities such as hunting, fishing, picking wild fruit to make jellies or time with grandchildren. John and Martha have three sons, three daughters-in-law, and 15 grandchildren. Two of their sons are doctors at the Mayo clinic. The other son is an electrical engineer for T-Mobile living in Plymouth.

The hunting cabin coined the "Homme Hilton" on the Homme river valley land drawn by Dalen Caspers.

“The Best View on the Farm” was published earlier this past year in May and has already seen excellent reviews and sales. One amazon buyer said “Easy book to read that starts with the history going back to the Sioux Indian uprisings of the1800s. This family farm has many interesting uses today from hunting deer to fishing the Minnesota river. You can easily see why third and fourth generations keep this special land in the family and share it with so many friends over the years.” Another review read “This son, father and grandfather has definitely painted a beautiful legacy in words and pictures for his family focusing on his love of a beautiful piece of God's creation that has been in his family throughout his lifetime. More of us might consider writing such for our families.”.

The novel is published by Pyramid Publishers out of Buffalo, Minnesota where they produce it print on demand. Since printing approximately 150 copies have sold, primarily through Amazon. The publication chronicles 70 years of interaction, beauty, and experience on the Homme farm. In his book, John shares stories about himself, his family, friends, and his neighbors that bring life to the history of the river, its various moods, and how it affects plants, animals, and people.

A good friend of the Homme's, Mike Lorentz, said this about his visits,

“The wonder of the Minnesota River Valley at the Homme Hilton. For about 14 years I have accompanied my friend to the farm he grew up on in the Minnesota River Valley south of Sacred Heart, Minnesota. My impressions today are much like they were it is a beautiful place and the stretch of the river has native prairie Grasses and undisturbed forest I've seen birds that you don't find many places in Minnesota in quite an abundance there in the oaks savanna the River meanders and wanders through the edge of the property. A calming restful place to enjoy a quiet afternoon fishing or walking along the shores investigating the wildlife the beavers and the trees that they toppled into the river. For me, it's been a place of rest and renewal and re-connection with nature, with God, and with friends. I look forward to every visit and every time I find something new to wonder and enjoy.” Through the years the Homme's have touched many hearts, shaping many spirits, by sharing their land.

John is known to often include the phrase ““It is said that the values of one generation are passed to the next through the stories” when signing copies of his work. The phrase seems to capture the near century of treasured gathered experiences from connections woven on the family land.

Readers looking for a slice of authentic local storytelling can't miss ““The Best View on the Farm”. With rich characters, well-articulated scenery and relatable insight into growth and connection with an honest perspective, this first work by John Homme is another jewel in the creative crown of rural Minnesota.

John can be reached at john@hommegroup.com. The book can be found on various online buying formats including Amazon as well as Barnes & Noble with copies available at Carl’s Bakery in Granite Falls.