Penny's Reviews > The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love

The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball
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Oct 14, 11

Read on October 14, 2011

This is the second book I've read about a woman who makes a dramatic course change in her life (the previous one was Black heels and tractor wheels by Ree Drumond). I sure hope this isn't a premonition of some sort.

However, if it is, both of the women ended up quite happy with their new lives, so it wouldn't be all bad.

In this book Kristin is a freelance travel writer living in New York city. As part of a writing assignment she meets Mark, who is running an organic farm in Pennsylvania. In the course of interviewing him she is pressed into service on the farm doing everything from weeding the tomatoes to helping butcher a pig. Of course, she's not dressed for any of this having come from The City.

To her credit she does her part as asked and finds that she enjoys the work. There's something about getting into the middle of the process of gathering the food we eat that really appeals to her even if it is..well, dirty.

I don't think I'd be spoiling the story if I told you that she ends up living on a farm with Mark. It's a farm in name only. The land hasn't been worked in so long that some of the outbuildings are collapsing. Their goal is to produce all that their shareholders will need and do it without mechanized farm equipment, chemical fertilizers or pesticides. By all I mean that they're planning on meat, milk, eggs, cheese, butter, vegetables, maple syrup (there is an old stand of maple trees on the property), fruit and herbs. All of this is to be done by two people without the use of a milking machine or a tractor.

In the course of reading this book I nearly felt how tried they were at the end of the day. They worked from before sunrise until late in the evening. Sometimes they were so tired it was all they could do to peel off their muddy clothes and fall into bed.

Their level of commitment was/is inspiring. I wish that their farm was nearby so I could buy a share and partake of their success.
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