Kristin Kimball was living in New York City, working as a writer, when she meets Mark after venturing to his farm in Pennsylvania, wanting to interview him for a story. Love is born! A strange type of love, but still...love enough to convince her to drop everything she's ever known and start a farm with this handsome man in Upstate NY.
Knowing nothing about raising animals or growing food, Kristin is really thrown head first into the difficult and exhausting world of farming. She reads books, watches Mark in everything he does, but mostly she learns by doing. From the frigid winter, through the harvest in the fall, the work is back-breaking, yet awe-inspiring. She often thinks about why she's doing what she's doing, but realizes quickly that she has fallen in love with the work, just as much as she has the guy.
I love a good memoir and this one combines three of my favorite things: books about food, books about growing food, and books about real relationships. Kristin writes in a manner that leaves you wanting to read more. I wanted to know what was going to happen to the plants she was growing, the animals she was raising, and what delicious meal would come from the garden and barn.
I was completely inspired during the entire book, wishing I had the guts to do something as drastic with my life as Kristin did. There is such a dramatic difference in eating food from the grocery store and food from your own yard, that you fed and raised and it's awesome! I loved the honesty that came off the pages, as she described how incredibly hard the work was and how heartbreaking it was to have to put animals down, but how rewarding the end result was.
Though I was a little surprised at how quickly Kristin caught on to certain aspects of farming and I definitely had a hard time with all of the portions dedicated to injured/sick animals, I did find myself believing in her story and in her reasoning for doing what she did. I would love to take a trip to Essex Farm and see what they've made of the place over the years!
The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love