Single, 30-something, and 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 500 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 AM, 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.
©2010 Kristin Kimball (P)2011 Tantor
"Kimball has a gift for throwing into high relief contemporary Americans' disconnect between farm-life realities and city ambitions." (Booklist)
I was quite disappointed within the first 20 minutes of the reading to discover that this was more about a woman's fantasy of a "real man" and what he could do for her than it was about farming or a non-sexual transition from city to country life. Would not recommend at all.
City girl farms.
No, never. She is one of these precise, very accurate readers who is careful to enunciate every single vowel and consonant. No one talks like that! She also seems to have a snippy disdain for the very content she is relating. I really would have loved to have heard the author tell this story herself.
Little to much of a love story. Wanted to here more about those PIGS!
Sure....If more was about the Farm
Not what I expected, it was even better. Makes me want to move to the country and start a farm well more like a very small gardens.
Not really, but I'd gladly visit a farm now. And I'm going to invest in a CSA in my area because of this book!
Those of us who buy not grow our food have romantic ideas of what it's like to work the land. This book quickly extinguishes the romance and shows the reader the down and dirty, no pun intended. Nevertheless, I loved this book, the characters were so real. I didn't want it to end. I have a new appreciation for what it takes to get the food to my table.
I really enjoyed this book. I loved her journey! I love the idea of needing to incorporate more physical work in your day! and how rewarding it is. I look at all of my daily chores differently and try to find the joy in them!
What they are doing is amazing, admirable, and inspirational.
Would not. although it does have some good parts, it takes the "bad side" of farm life too far.
too much of telling how hard life is on the farm.
I was initially turned off by the narrator's voice and was worried it would prevent me from enjoying the book. It didn't take long before I was do into the story that I was driving around the block instead of parking my car (where I do my listening) in order to hear the end of a chapter. I enjoyed how the author weaves together farm information, events, and romance. The balance meant it was never too boring or too sappy.
This is definitely a story, not a how-to. That said, my husband and I both found it inspiring...that we can take our dreams and hard work and do something with them, even if its a little crazy.
I can't wait until her next book comes out!
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