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Northern Farm

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  153 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Among the blue-white shadows and graceful curves of freshly fallen snow, the first rains of spring, and the quiet of an early summer morning, Beston brings the reader into an inescapable alliance with the natural world. He translates the philosophy of the Maine farmer into terms as applicable in Manhattan as on the Kennebec. Northern Farm is among the great classics of Ame ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 15th 1994 by Holt McDougal (first published January 1st 1972)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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Billie Hinton
Apr 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous imagery, soothes my soul to follow the seasons on his farm. A book you keep by the bed to pick up every day for a booster shot.
Nov 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: places
very lovely, very slow, and very preachy.
Julie Stielstra
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Nothing could be as good as "The Outermost House." But Beston turns his eyes, ears, mind, and heart to his beloved Chimney Farm in the Maine woods. He takes us through a year, from glassy blue snow shadows, to the pond ice groaning as it begins to loosen, through that first spring-ish day when a window can be opened, letting in "a few flies who look in need of kind words and vitamins." A hot summer, the young farming men stripped to the waist and crusted with hayseeds and sweat. Then the autumn, ...more
Jennifer A
May 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book every year. It is calming and uplifting. This gentle telling praises the life on a small farm in Maine of an older couple in the 1940s. They work the land, know their neighbors, chop wood, make their own meals and share with others. This is a time and place where people care for each other and live their lives in peace, close to the land. I may be romanticizing, but anxiety is not a constant concern as they are too busy working in the outdoors, enjoying life and getting a peacef ...more
Wendy Jensen
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
I really enjoyed Beston's descriptions of the Maine countryside. I now will look for the different colors of shadows in moonlight on snow! What I didn't enjoy as much was his waxing of how country people seem to understand things more and enjoy life more, and that it is a shame that machinery is taking over things formerly done by humans. ("Can't store farmers in a barn.") Personally I like automation, because it frees up the human for creativity and other more (in my book) worthy pursuits. He d ...more
Terry Anderson
Jul 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
When I was in high school and college, I loved reading about the observations of nature made by men: Henry David Thorough, Charlton Ogburn, Jr., and others. Henry Beston's prose is beautiful and his observations are interesting. I was raised in the far north, so I have an affinity for snow, cold, and dramatic seasonal changes. This was an excellent read.
Nov 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I should have loved this book, I normally love nature writing but despite some beautiful passages I felt there was something missing.
Jan Komrska
Sep 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: usa
The book describes one year of life on a farm in Maine. Despite a harsh weather the farmer looks at the bright side and finds beauty in nature surrounding him and hard work he has to do. The author remains suspicious of progress, modernity, towns, machinery, cars and science and reflects about the good old times... "what has come over our age is an alienation from Nature unexampled in human history. It has cost us our sense of reality and all but cost us our humanity".

I was bit disappointed as
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
This book was my mother's and is now mine. It is excellent.
All about nature, not much about God. Paints wonderful imagery. Might be worth a re-read.

March 31, 2020 I ran out of library books because of the pandemic so I'm re-reading some of my own. Coming to a new opinion of this author. While his writing style and appreciation of nature's beauty is refreshing, his omission of the Creator is not.

At any rate, I will not be reading this again. I read an interview with the author's daughter which le
Feb 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"Northern Farm" by Henry Beston is an excellent nonfiction book: A story of life on Chimney Farm in Maine in the 1940s. The author's descriptions of the landscape, seasons, and natural world are calming and enjoyable to read. You can also get a sense of the life of the community in the "Farm Diary" entries that are woven throughout the book. "Northern Farm" is a good book to enjoy on a quiet evening at home, and it leaves you with a wonderful appreciation for Beston's "...own land of the deeper ...more
Jim Krosschell
Sep 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: maine-books
Henry Beston (1888-1968, born like Elisabeth Ogilvie in Quincy, MA, and his wife, the writer Elizabeth Coatsworth, in 1931 purchased Chimney Farm in Nobleboro on the shores of Damariscotta Lake. Beston’s exquisite book Northern Farm, similar to Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac and in many ways its equal, is set there. Their daughter, the poet Kate Barnes, Maine’s first Poet Laureate, lives in Appleton. In 1970 Coatsworth published a selection of Beston’s writings called Especially Maine. Its ...more
Jun 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gardening
Although the story was written over half a century ago it resonates with things that could be said today. Henry Beston writes about his life, one year in the life of his farm. We get to know the rhythmn of life, how his neighbors live, and the political strife of the time. He writes beautifully, sometimes I feel as if I am reading poetry when it is only prose. Great insights.
Donna B
Jun 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-these-again
Loved this book. Though written in 1945, the author's comments about the contrasts between urban & rural life still resonate. If you love nature and the countryside, you'll identify with many of his thoughts. Well worth reading. Too bad it's out of print! ...more
Connie Marrett
Nov 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful descriptions of nature throughout a New England year. Insightful reflections on human nature. I will read this book again and again.
Donna Gabbard
I love reading about living in Maine. I'm ready to brave the biting flies and the biting, cold months. Okay, I'll settle for a 1 or 2 week visit if I can't move there.
Mar 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: never-finished
Though I enjoy nature writing, this book dragged on and I never finished it.
Jun 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Sweet and gentle but no comparison to The OUTERMOST HOUSE ...still my favorite
Jun 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Henry Beston is a poet. He uses the most delicious vocabulary when he describes the day to day life on the farm in Maine. For a romantic like myself, I love this book.
Dec 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009, 2013, 2018
One of my favorite books. I seem to reread this often, especially at the turn of the year.
Allen Goetz
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: partially-read
Excellent book to remind us of connection to and dependence on nature and one another.
Melissa Bowen
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Henry Beston was an American writer and naturalist, best known as the author of The Outermost House, written in 1925.

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