Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Dirty Life

On the Farm
Anne Perez-Guerra

Horses in the pasture lot,
A windmill whirling 'round,
Apples on the orchard trees
Tumbling to the ground,
Cattle grazing 'long the road,
Porkers in a pen,
Chickens scratching near a coop
Where lives the mother hen.
Sliding down a stack of straw,
Jumping in the hay,
When I'm on the far, I go
Barefoot all the day.

I have this idyllic dream of living on a farm, growing my own food and raising chickens and milking cows.

When I tell my husband about it, he laughs. Then he looks at me very seriously and says, "You think you want a farm. But you do not want a farm."

And he should know. He grew up working on his grandparent's and uncle's farm. His parents own five acres - they rent out three to a neighboring farmer. When he was a boy, my husband's parents would bring cows from his grandparent's farm to graze the other two acres. It cut down on the mowing.

But farms still fascinate me. I hate getting my hands dirty, but I like reading about others who do. Kristin Kimball writes about her amazingly quick transformation from city girl to farm girl in The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love.

Kimball's transformation is a great story. I find it amazing that this freelance writer gave up Manhattan to move north and start a farm. Not just any farm, but a tractor-free farm, designed to provide all the food people would need. In addition to raising vegetables, Kimball and her husband milk cows (by hand), raise beef cattle, pigs and chickens.

I loved reading this book. Kimball not only tells about the hard work on the farm, but also her personal shortcomings she had to confront in the midst of hard work and lots of dirt. In between it all, she tells of meals she and Mark (her fiance) share - some sound fantastic, others made me shudder and shake my head in amazement at her adventuresome spirit.

If you're looking for a book to read this summer, I highly recommend The Dirty Life. If nothing else, you will 1) appreciate your current life; 2) want to investigate a local Community-Sustained Agriculture (CSA) farm; and 3) enjoy a really good book.

Read more poetry here, for Poetry Wednesday.


Kris Livovich said...

All these great books you are recommending! You should come to the book club!

I agree with you - I want a farm. I just don't want to render my own lard, or clean up chicken poop. I had a pet chicken as a kid and the amount of poop one little chick could produce was awful. When you find a book on being a gentleman farmer on thirty grand a year, be sure to pass it along!

Beth said...

This does look like a great book club pick and I believe my turn is coming soon. Thanks for the heads up. You know I have dreams of chickens, cows, and the whole bit. Don't really ever see that happening but you never know. Hope you had a joyous Easter.