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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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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
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
"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
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
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.
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!
“Our civilization has fallen out of touch with night. With lights, we drive the holiness and beauty of night back to the forests and the sea; the little villages, the crossroads even, will have none of it. Are modern folk, perhaps, afraid of night? Do they fear that vast serenity, the mystery of infinite space, the austerity of stars?”
“An old farm is always more than the people under its roof. It is the past as well as the present, and vanished generations have built themselves into it as well as left their footsteps in the worn woodwork of the stair.”More quotes…