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The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love | [Kristin Kimball]

The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"Kimball has a gift for throwing into high relief contemporary Americans' disconnect between farm-life realities and city ambitions." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (262 )
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  •  
    Roberta Herald, CA, United States 10-09-11
    Roberta Herald, CA, United States 10-09-11 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "That's what organic farming is all about"

    I am a gardener. I prefer vegetables to flowers. If I am going to put all that effort into growing things, I want food to be the result. I have often thought about expanding and growing enough extra to sell and to make a small business of it. After reading this book I feel the effort would be rewarding, but I would be too exhausted to enjoy. These people are young and driven. But they live the dream. The dream of most organic gardeners.
    This is a lovely book. Not lovely, pink flowers and butterflys, but lovely in its joy of life, of creation, of respect for tradition, past and future. It is short, but full of appeal to those of us who seek to find fulfillment in working with the soil.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Abino ELMA, NY, United States 10-02-12
    Abino ELMA, NY, United States 10-02-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "All the down and dirty aspects of the farming life"

    This is a lovely honest description of Kristin's life transition into farming and marriage. Both of those commitments are gritty and difficult at times. As I was hearing Tavia speak Kristin's words I came to appreciate the doubt and hard work that accompanies the choice to farm in a less modern way in a difficult place. The community support was there whenever they seemed to need it. It is a compelling recommendation for getting closer to the earth in whatever way works for each of us.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Coastal North Carolina 10-02-12
    Amazon Customer Coastal North Carolina 10-02-12 Member Since 2012
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    "You'll never look at food the same...."

    A well written, engaging book about how two young people turned a run-down farm into a profitable business, providing people with wholesome, organic food. The author gave what seemed like an honest behind-the-scenes account of the hardships--and rewards--of growing vegetables without chemicals and raising and butchering animals without causing them undue stress or pain. It made me appreciate, all the more, the difference between "factory farming" and humane, sustainable farming.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L HASZ WETHERSFIELD, CT, United States 09-17-11
    L HASZ WETHERSFIELD, CT, United States 09-17-11 Member Since 2011
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    "amazing story!"

    Loved this book, so inspirational! And such a cool way to enjoy a book. I listen to it in the car and around the house when doing chores. Makes my time so much more enjoyable!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. SAVANNAH, GA, United States 07-26-12
    E. SAVANNAH, GA, United States 07-26-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Loved it!"
    Any additional comments?

    As a farm girl that now lives in the city, I loved this book.... the details and descriptions were spot on. I love the authors style and humor... I have been an Audible customer for several years, and I can honestly say that this is the first book that as soon as I finished it, I started it over again... a very enjoyible calming.... informative listen!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Lafayete, LA, United States 02-01-12
    Andrew Lafayete, LA, United States 02-01-12 Member Since 2011

    I love sustainability, food, ferns, and architecture.

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    "This book was so captivating."
    What made the experience of listening to The Dirty Life the most enjoyable?

    I loved how descriptive this story was. It was also very real, it wasn't sensationalized or exaggerated. I could place myself in the seasons of the story, and I found myself longing for a farm of my own.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Manette Atlanta, GA, United States 01-24-14
    Manette Atlanta, GA, United States 01-24-14 Member Since 2005

    Manette

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    "The narrator is completely annoying"
    Any additional comments?

    The story is interesting enough in a "coming of age" kind of way, but the supercilious tones of the narrator make it a dreadful listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    history buff louisiana 06-26-13
    history buff louisiana 06-26-13 Member Since 2008

    carol

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    "fun and easy to listen to"

    lots of fun to listen to if you are a country life person. if you can't appreciate bad weather, hard work, good dirt, crazy animals, and total exhaustion at the end of the day, forget this book. if any of that is appealing, then this is a great book for you. living on a small farm, i empathized and sympathized and laughed and cried.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken Newport, MI, United States 09-12-12
    Ken Newport, MI, United States 09-12-12
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    "Good...Because I was looking for more about Farmin"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Little to much of a love story. Wanted to here more about those PIGS!


    Would you be willing to try another book from Kristin Kimball? Why or why not?

    Sure....If more was about the Farm


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Tavia Gilbert?

    Sure


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Sure


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Herr Santa Fe, New Mexico 05-30-12
    Bruce Herr Santa Fe, New Mexico 05-30-12 Member Since 2005
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    "I walked in her Carthartt boots..."

    ... 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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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