The Dirty Truth

Photo taken from the Official Publisher Page for Ms. Kimball
This past Christmas, my husband bought me a Nook.  As an avid reader and one who has a nasty habit of having 4 books going at the same time, I was thrilled to have everything in the same place.  And instead of purchasing a hard copy of the book and it taking up space, it’s right there on the hard drive waiting for me.  The first book I read on my Nook was the The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball.  I’ll admit that I picked the book simply because I liked the cover and upon reading the synopsis, I was convinced that this would be another book that would fuel my desire for my urban homestead.
In actuality, I’d have to say that this book did just the opposite.  In this book, Kristin chronicles her life as she met a farmer in Pennsylvania and then moved with him to Upstate New York to start a farm that would provide a full-diet CSA.  At the time that she and her farmer where doing this, the CSA culture wasn’t really as trendy as it is now and they were starting from total scratch on a muddy, run-down piece of property that only her farmer could see the true value of.  As I read, I was struck with the realization that farm life is real.  If one is to be truly self-sustaining, then you have to fully participate in the circle of life.  I personally, am not strong enough to do that.  I can grow things, but I suppose the livestock will have to be left to the professionals.
Throughout the book, as Kristin talks of their life and the changes that they made to the farm, including returning to the roots and using horse power to plow their fields behind an old Amish plow, I was amazed.  Here were two people who set a goal and really did it.  She is beyond candid as she speaks of the volumes of work, of the fatigue and the fear as they struggled through that first year.  As aware of my own weaknesses as I was, I also became a bit jealous of this life.  There is no other greater pride, I think, that working with your hands to accomplish something and succeeding.  To wake up every morning and see the land stretch before you, to hear the chicken clucking in your yard, to see the cellar fill with your hard-won produce neatly preserved, this is the success that the corporate ladder climbers can only dream of.

Shortly after I finished this book, I learned that my cousin and his wife have started their own CSA in Ontario, Canada.  Having read the story of how Kristin and her farmer started their own, I am all the more proud of my cousins.  I know this means I won’t get to see them until after the harvest, but I that they are richer for it.  This year, my own garden isn’t prepped at all and anything that’s grown in my yard will have to be in a pot on the porch to protect it from the deer.  Instead, I’m living my own version of the Dirty Life vicariously through the blog and photos that my cousin is sweet enough to post.  And dreaming of the day when my kids are old enough for a trip to visit and work on the farm.

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