The Beef Princess of Practical County

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This is her first novel. Michelle Houts.

The Beef Princess of Practical County by Michelle Houts

Jim Darling named their first daughter Precious the whole town wanted to puke. I grew up in a word-loving environment. My father is the king of puns, spoonerisms, and wordplay. The idea of a character named Precious Darling was intriguing. Would she be precious? Or darling? Of course not.

The Beef Princess Of Practical County

Life rarely works out that way. Precious Darling and her equally ironically named sisters stuck with me and begged me to write about them. Of course they did.

Other characters I write about have more realistic roots. I grew up with farming relatives, but my family and I lived in the suburbs. I used to have nightmares about huge Holstein cows walking up my driveway.

The Beef Princess of Practical County

The level of maturity, the amount of time and energy, and the physical nature of the work they do are amazing. But there is nothing quite like auction night. This is a new novel by a new author named Michelle Houts.

Before we tell you about the story, it may be useful for you to know that Michelle Houts lives on a grain and livestock animal farm in West Central Ohio with her husband and their three kids. When you read the book, you can really see how the author writes about something she knows about and is familiar with — she was inspired to write from her own life experiences living on a farm. Her dad warns her not to become attached to the animals but she goes ahead and names them.

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Libby is feeling the pressure to win at the fair with the calves and then her mother enters her in a beauty contest. The calves names are Piggy and Mule. Piggy has an accident and hurts her leg.


Mom tries to distract Libby by going shopping for a dress for the pageant. Back at the farm Libby takes notice of Mule and decides to win him over. Her friend Ronnie comes by and offers her pointers on how to show him at the fair. Libby decides that she will no longer eat meat as a way of protesting what happened to Piggy. Libby buys a dress from the second hand store for the beauty contest. The day of the fair is finally here and Libby wins in all categories with Mule. She comes in second in the beauty contest.

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Mule is auctioned off and the family heads home. Libby has grown up in the past year and is looking forward to showing another calf next summer.