Friday, October 7, 2011

Book: The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball

I've been reading a lot these last two years, and this year I started a reading list to keep track of everything I've read. It drives me crazy when I remember reading a book about something but can't remember the name of the book or who wrote it. (Luckily, my account at the library has a digital reading history and if I can remember about what month I read the book I can figure out the book.)

I've dreamed about having my own CSA farm at some point. This is probably just a pipe dream, as working a farm for sole income is rather taxing. This dream is fueled by my homesickness for the farm I grew up on, and for green country in general.

I recently finished The Dirty Life by Kristen Kimball. I don't want to forget some of what I read, so here are a couple things she wrote, emphasis mine:

"As much as your transform the land by farming, farming transforms you. It seeps into your skin along with the dirt that permanently abides in the creases of your thickened hands, the beds of your nails. [...] Your acres become a world. And maybe you realize that it is beyond those acres or in your distant past, back in the realm of TiVo and cubicles, of take-out food and central heat and air, in that country where discomfort has nearly disappeared, that you were deprived. Deprived of the pleasure of desire, of effort and difficulty and meaningful accomplishment." (pg 5)

My stash of seeds, accumulated over the last couple years, but pared down from my original desires.

"Food, a French man told me once, is the first wealth. Grow it right, and you feel insanely rich, no matter what you own." (pg 16)

"The seeds arrived in February, a whole farm in a box. Of all the mysteries I'd encountered on the farm, this seemed the most profound. I could not imagine how several tons of food could come out of a box so small and light I could balance it on one hand. Mark and I spent evenings poring over the seeds catalogs that had arrived during the darkest week of winter, piling up next to the bed like farmer porn." (pg 119)
I force myself to recycle seed catalogs about mid-summer, when it wouldn't do me any good to order new seeds anyway. However, I keep the catalogs from Baker Creek because they really are like looking at seed-porn. I'm addicted. That catalog in the back? That was a late comer, not a Baker Creek catalog, like didn't arrive until early summer. It's still hanging around because I'm already thinking about next year's garden.
 I start receiving seed catalogs around Thanksgiving and am completely guilty of poring over them like porn. I read and re-read descriptions, trying to figure out the best variety for my area and tastes. I bookmark, highlight and turn down pages. Then I map out a new garden layout to figure out just how many of those plants I have marked will actually fit in the garden. Then, the sad part of paring down the list, so that I can order without feeling guilty about buying seeds that won't ever get planted.

1 comment:

Espana said...

I loved this book. The story is jaw dropping, funny, heart wrenching. It made me yearn to do something so daring, and at the same time, maybe not. Kimball's writing is stunning. I felt I went on a journey I will never forget.

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