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 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!
Little to much of a love story. Wanted to here more about those PIGS!
Sure....If more was about the Farm
... as I listened to this book. This gifted writer made me feel, smell, taste, touch her new experiences as she transforms her life from urban sophisticate to farmer. Humorous and elegaic, a pure delight. The reader, Tavia Gilbert, gives perfect voice to this story.
She did a very good job of accurately portraying starting a new farming venture - at least from my own experience. What I did not like was that in spite of her regular professed love for the work and experience, much of the book felt negative - not the events themselves but her experiences of them. Having had many of the same experiences I would have liked to hear more of the uplifting, enlivening, purposeful, and inspiring experiences that cause her to love what she does.
I loved listening to Tavia Gilbert's voice tell the story as much as the story was good to hear in itself! I even loved hearing the "yummy" sounds as she described the food that was grown and how it was prepared.
For me, the best part of the story was how a complete city girl threw her "familiar" to the wind in order to have a simpler life. Not that a simple life is necessarily easy, it's just nice to know that a simple life is still obtainable in this day and age. I envied the main character for her story.
I was moved the most at the end of the story when the draft horse, Silver, died. I could picture my parents farm that I grew up on, as I listened to the story, and our own horses with all of the adventures with them and I remembered how attached to them we were...and how heartbreaking it was for them to pass away after the years of companionship and hard work that they had given to us.
Any city person that longs for a self providing life of simplicity and hard work or even, someone like me, that grew up in an agricultural environment, would love this book!!!
I loved this combination of memoir, advocacy for local food, and treatise on farming. Kimball seamlessly wove together food, relationships, farming, hardships, and life story to create something well worth listening to. I found myself longing to head for a farm and grow all my own food. I cringed along with her at the experiences of slaughtering her first animals, and wondered what it would be like to eat only the things which I'd grown and raised myself. Definitely worth the listen!
I love a city girls point of view on farming, organic farming at that. How hard the work actually is.
The point of farming on a budget. Buying second hand and living off the land. This is not an easy task.
I was moved by the decision of the drastic move from city life to drastic do it yourself organic. This decision is not for the light of heart.
Great book, great story teller!
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