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 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.
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.
Little to much of a love story. Wanted to here more about those PIGS!
Sure....If more was about the Farm
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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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