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Book Review: The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love

The Dirty Life by Kristan Kimball is a book that surprised me, not because of content but surprised me because I liked it so much. As a vegetarian I thought I don’t want to read about raising animals for meat, slaughtering etc.. I’ll explain later why I like the book first a synopsis:

From Publishers Weekly

Kimball chucked life as a Manhattan journalist to start a cooperative farm in upstate New York with a self-taught New Paltz farmer she had interviewed for a story and later married. The Harvard-educated author, in her 30s, and Mark, also college educated and resolved to “live outside of the river of consumption,” eventually found an arable 500-acre farm on Lake Champlain, first to lease then to buy. In this poignant, candid chronicle by season, Kimball writes how she and Mark infused new life into Essex Farm, and lost their hearts to it. By dint of hard work and smart planning–using draft horses rather than tractors to plow the five acres of vegetables, and raising dairy cows, and cattle, pigs, and hens for slaughter–they eventually produced a cooperative on the CSA model, in which members were able to buy a fully rounded diet. To create a self-sustaining farm was enormously ambitious, and neighbors, while well-meaning, expected them to fail. However, the couple, relying on Mark’s belief in a “magic circle” of good luck, exhausted their savings and set to work. Once June hit, there was the 100-day growing season and an overabundance of vegetables to eat, and no end to the dirty, hard, fiercely satisfying tasks, winningly depicted by Kimball.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

This books hits on a dream of many I think, to chuck it all and move out to the country and have a farm. This book doesn’t sugar coat it, this is real life. I loved that this was a story about a real life, thorns and all, working a self sustaining farm. They used horses for plowing, raised their food to be used for food for sustaining life, no chemicals. They slaughtered their own livestock, milked their own cows, grew everything and in the middle of it managed to create a marriage, a home and a community.

At first it was rough for me, I didn’t want the gory details of slaughtering cattle or chickens, pigs but what struck me was they knew their food, they appreciated and cared for their animals, they treated them with dignity and respect due. I cannot fault someone who raises and uses what they grow and raise. This books help you look at your food in a more respectful way. To know why buying organic is more expensive. Kudos to the farmers and thank you!

Four out of five stars!

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Book Review: The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love

Searching in the Darkness

A German Shepherd waiting for someone to play ...

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Over the last year something has been happening with me. I’ve known something was wrong almost from the beginning, and when it was clear I searched for reasons. I’ve been unfocused, depressed, closed off and wanting to literally hide out in my house. It’s just been in the last few weeks that I’ve seriously know what the issues were, all the while I was searching for the causes I thought when I discovered what they were I would be suddenly cured of all ills. So far not so much but knowing is helping, putting them out there in the light for me to look at and examine.

The first was the beginning of my body dismorphia, discovering the cause has not helped at all by the way. One day I saw someone I see quite often and all of sudden I saw them differently all of a sudden they were heavy, overweight-I don’t often notice this in anyone, it’s always a surprise when I see it after years of knowing someone. This time however I saw myself in that other person, I thought to myself if this person looks this way, I am so much bigger than I thought. From that point on, I hated myself, I was the biggest person in the room, I was huge and unattractive. I want to apologize to people for the way I look, seriously I’m not just saying this because I want to illicit strokes and praise. I feel this way. When I started to feel this way, I gave us on myself and taking care of myself. I stopped working out daily, I stopped really caring about what I ate or how I looked, after all why bother I was hideous. I recognize this now and I can look at it and hopefully some how drive myself forward I have to be my cheerleader, anyone else will only make me feel that I am to be pitied, that truths are not being said to me. So that is goal number 1.

The second thing that happened is a little strange but I can almost trace it back right to that point in my business. About a year ago, I think, I got fired by a client. I was so relieved, I really liked this client but I didn’t feel like we were working, together, I couldn’t get what I needed from them and they couldn’t get it from me. I was happy they made the decision to find someone else but I think it confirmed what has always been inside of me that feeling of soon someone will figure out I’m a fraud. I’m a fake. Pretty soon I believed I was a failure, why bother I wasn’t good enough. So I let my business just flounder, all the while searching for something to just motivate me. It’s all in there I just couldn’t let it out. I feel closer to that coming back to me.

So now you know I’m a freakin’ mess, but I think I’m not along, I think there might be others out there in the dark and searching for the light. I’m putting my big girl panties on and getting off this pity train…..I hope….ok little self confidence issues here and there. Stop the train I’m getting off.

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Searching in the Darkness
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