Thursday, March 24, 2011

April and May's Book - The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball

Join us the Farm Chick's at Polyface Book Club for our April & May Read.
We will start reading the book on April 1st and will discuss different aspects of it throughout the two months.

Coming up next:
June & July - MADE FROM SCRATCH by Jenna Woginrich

 The Dirty Life on Farming, Food and Love by Kristin Kimball


"This book is the story of the two love affairs that interrupted the trajectory of my life: one with farming—that dirty, concupiscent art—and the other with a complicated and exasperating farmer."

Single, thirtysomething, working as a writer in New York City, Kristin Kimball was living life as an adventure. But she was beginning to feel a sense of longing for a family and for home. When she interviewed a dynamic young farmer, her world changed. Kristin knew nothing about growing vegetables, let alone raising pigs and cattle and driving horses. But on an impulse, smitten, if not yet in love, she shed her city self and moved to five hundred acres near Lake Champlain to start a new farm with him. The Dirty Life is the captivating chronicle of their first year on Essex Farm, from the cold North Country winter through the following harvest season—complete with their wedding in the loft of the barn.
Kimball and her husband had a plan: to grow everything needed to feed a community. It was an ambitious idea, a bit romantic, and it worked. Every Friday evening, all year round, a hundred people travel to Essex Farm to pick up their weekly share of the "whole diet"—beef, pork, chicken, milk, eggs, maple syrup, grains, flours, dried beans, herbs, fruits, and forty different vegetables—produced by the farm. The work is done by draft horses instead of tractors, and the fertility comes from compost. Kimball's vivid descriptions of landscape, food, cooking—and marriage—are irresistible.

"As much as you transform the land by farming," she writes, "farming transforms you."

In her old life, Kimball would stay out until four a.m., wear heels, and carry a handbag. Now she wakes up at four, wears Carhartts, and carries a pocket knife. At Essex Farm, she discovers the wrenching pleasures of physical work, learns that good food is at the center of a good life, falls deeply in love, and finally finds the engagement and commitment she craved in the form of a man, a small town, and a beautiful piece of land.

Discussion Posts:


Annie, Morning Joy Farm said...

I can't wait! My MIL gave me this book for my birthday because she thought "it looked like something I'd like to read"! And she was correct. I loved this book!!

Anonymous said...

Arrgh! 82 holds on 6 copies at my library. Hope I receive it in time to join the discussion fun.

Jeffrey Clark said...

Haven't read this book but from the description it seems that folks that like it might enjoy "Gold in the Grass" by Margaret Leatherbarrow from 1954.

I enjoyed it anyway.

Anonymous said...

Great book. Folksy, fun read! As an organic farmer I could relate..she gets!

Sheri said...

Hey! All of you who have already read this book, will you post some discussion ideas? My copy is on back order until May, but I know that several folks already have theirs so I'd rather not delay the talks until mine comes in.
Thanks for the help!

Anonymous said...

Was able to locate a copy and read it in 2 days. Really enjoyed this book.

Merryrose said...

Has anyone else (here... that is reading) gone from a basically typical city living existence (I mean she went from New York City ... that is pretty major city dwelling) to a completely rural , full time farm life ? Was the transition easy ? a complete shock? What was the hardest part? The best part?
Also... I can't imagine starting off like they did with trying to do a FULL diet for their subscribers the very first year they were on the land. That seems an awful lot to take on for your first year anywhere. Even though they did succeed.
I really enjoyed this book

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