I make no secret of the fact that I want to be a farmer when I grow up (more.) I daydream about raising pigs, gathering eggs, harvesting vegetables and eating good food. However, I generally tend to gloss over all the sweating, bending, pulling, digging, and hard work that a farm is sure to be.
Which is why I’m grateful for Kristin Kimball’s The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love. This well written book is the story of how the New York City author met a farmer, fell in love, and left the big city for a life in the country.
Ms. Kimball does not glamorize farm life in the slightest. Without whining, she vividly describes the early mornings, the back breaking labor, and the vicious cycle of death and decay that seem to consistently dog a farmer’s footsteps. Yet, at the same time, Kimball details the beauty and life changing moments that can happen when one returns to the land. This feet-on-the-ground-but-head-in-the-clouds approach creates a very accurate and realistic portrayal of farmsteading.
Kristin Kimball’s book is about more than farming, it is also a love story. While the book chronicles the author’s first year of farming, it also tells the story of that same first year with her husband. The ups and downs of rural life mirrors the good and bad days in the couple’s initial year together. Love is certainly a wonderful, life altering experience, but it is also hard work, as Kimball often humorously points out to her readers.
I highly recommend this book, not just for farmer wannabees like myself, or advocates for eating locally, but for anyone who enjoys a well written and interesting memoir.