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

The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball
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Nov 28, 2011

really liked it
Read in November, 2011

A dirty life indeed: pig entrails, a pit bull attacking and mauling a beloved Jersey cow, animal slaughter described in vivid detail and a rat infested home are just a few examples of the life Kristin Kimball chooses on an impulse, then grows into slowly, deeply. She chucks her Manhattan lifestyle and job for the backbreaking work of a 500 acre, organic farm, not knowing quite what she is getting into but better off for that, as it turns out. I laughed out loud at her descriptions of her wedding on the farm (kids running in and out of the chicken coop with baskets full of eggs, the rats making their last stand in the older pigs' pen, Mark disappearing in his good clothes to milk the cow). I sat at the edge of my seat, heart racing when the draft horses - spooked by the tractor with its bucket loader brimming with compost (soundtrack is a throbbing diesel engine) - took off at a dead run toward the road, the spreader clanging along behind them, and didn't stop once they got to the road and headed towards town...

The constant butchering and cooking animal hearts and testicles (taste somewhat like fresh scallops, I learned) are not for me, but I relished and could relate, viscerally, to her descriptions of needing to get her hands into the soil.

(Spoiler)

And my eyes misted at the loss of her beloved draft horses.
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