The Dirty Life

The Dirty Life

On Farming, Food, and Love

Book - 2010
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Baker & Taylor
Documents the first year spent by the Harvard-graduate author with her new husband on their sustainable farm in the Adirondacks, describing how she withdrew from big-city life to be married in their barn loft, the difficult obstacles they faced attempting to provide a whole diet for 100 locals and the rewards of a physical-labor lifestyle.

Baker
& Taylor

Documents the first year spent by the Harvard-graduate author with her new husband on their sustainable farm in the Adirondacks, describing how she withdrew from big-city life to be married in their barn loft, the difficult obstacles they faced attempting to provide a whole diet for one hundred locals, and the rewards of a physical-labor lifestyle.

Simon and Schuster
"This book is the story of the two love affairs that interrupted the trajectory of my life: one with farming—that dirty, concupiscent art—and the other with a complicated and exasperating farmer."

Single, thirtysomething, working as a writer in New York City, Kristin Kimball was living life as an adventure. But she was beginning to feel a sense of longing for a family and for home. When she interviewed a dynamic young farmer, her world changed. Kristin knew nothing about growing vegetables, let alone raising pigs and cattle and driving horses. But on an impulse, smitten, if not yet in love, she shed her city self and moved to five hundred acres near Lake Champlain to start a new farm with him. The Dirty Life is the captivating chronicle of their first year on Essex Farm, from the cold North Country winter through the following harvest season—complete with their wedding in the loft of the barn.

Kimball and her husband had a plan: to grow everything needed to feed a community. It was an ambitious idea, a bit romantic, and it worked. Every Friday evening, all year round, a hundred people travel to Essex Farm to pick up their weekly share of the "whole diet"—beef, pork, chicken, milk, eggs, maple syrup, grains, flours, dried beans, herbs, fruits, and forty different vegetables—produced by the farm. The work is done by draft horses instead of tractors, and the fertility comes from compost. Kimball’s vivid descriptions of landscape, food, cooking—and marriage—are irresistible.

"As much as you transform the land by farming," she writes, "farming transforms you." In her old life, Kimball would stay out until four a.m., wear heels, and carry a handbag. Now she wakes up at four, wears Carhartts, and carries a pocket knife. At Essex Farm, she discovers the wrenching pleasures of physical work, learns that good food is at the center of a good life, falls deeply in love, and finally finds the engagement and commitment she craved in the form of a man, a small town, and a beautiful piece of land



Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Scribner, c2010
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781416551607
1416551603
Characteristics: 276 p. ; 22 cm

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AL_KATI Sep 13, 2017

I particularly enjoyed the author's writing style. It felt fresh and simple. I loved every page because it isn't just about starting a farm but the author's internal journey to figure out who she is in relation to her husband and the land. Highly recommend, especially if you've always wanted to have your own homestead.

p
posie12
Apr 10, 2017

A hard uncertain life. A good place to raise a family, kids learn a lot about life and responsibility. Neighbours are respected and valued. A totally different reality than urban life. The author nails it.

a
ashbrau7
Aug 26, 2014

Interesting insight into the daily life of an organic farming family. I enjoyed the rich descriptions of the fresh meals they prepared and I am now on the quest to obtain fresh butter and eggs from the farmer's market.

t
telger
Aug 07, 2014

The Dirty Life On Farming, Food, and Love
By Kimball, Kristin
This was recommended to me by SCL staff - after giving her a couple of my favorite reads, she gave this title to me. This is my new dream! to live, work in an organic farm- everything from meat, to fresh vegetables, to eggs, butter! I can see myself tilling the dirt and loving the life! But oh what a ton of work, day in day out, no sick leave or smoke break. And what a lovely read from the author. Beautiful ! Now I live by mostly buying organic, local produce- and tend to avoid any processed, imported food. Thank you Dirty Life! I have a better life!

t
twintoes
Jul 18, 2014

I enjoyed the story; however felt there was perhaps a bit of veiled truth where the author was concerned. Was a bit surprised at the personal journey the author experienced vs how it was portrayed. All in all, a good read.

If you are someone who thinks about how wonderful it would be to have your own organic little farm and live off the land, this book is for you. As city girl author turned farmer, Kirsten Kimball puts it in her insightful look at the life and times of the modern day self sustainable organic farming community, ‘it’s dirty, hard, tiring WORK’! Most of us could not sustain the grueling -up at 5 am schedule 7-days a week, let alone the hard physical labor required to make a farm successful, but Kimball can and does and is clearly totally into it. She doesn't sugar coat the reality of farm life, it is without question not an easy life to choose. That small farmers all across the country are so dedicated to bringing good, wholesome, organically grown goods to city dwellers like you and me is nothing short of amazing.

JCLKimG Sep 23, 2013

This book will give you perspective on many things in life: food, love, commitment, death, hard work...and it is all packaged in an easily digestible, very comfortable read. I recommend it for the food conscious, romantics, cynics, and the generally curious.

soblessed59 Jul 10, 2012

Wonderfully loving... yet eye-opening story of the hardship of the farming life

Oh how I wish I had read this book back in my early 20's so I wouldn't have wasted so many daydreams and yearnings to be a farmer's wife!

[I picked this up at my library.]

Thank God I had the easy life of being the wife of [30 years] of a steelwoker! I always appreciated that my husband proveded very well for our family of five without my ever having to be employed,yet as an animal/nature lover since childhood, I always yearned to drag my family into the rural life,LOL!

Now after reading The Dirty Life I see even more how one needs to "be careful what you wish for" and I am so thankful that my wish was never fully realized.

However,this is a very sweet love story,that shares wonderful times as well as the very difficult times,the story of Delia the little Jersey family cow is heartbreaking.I totally love how the author excelled in giving readers the realistic picture of day-to-day,season-to-season everyday living on the farm,with the exception of her fabulous cook of a husband that few women will be blessed with.

I did knock off 1-star for the tasteless account of her stud dog's final success with Lady at the end of the book,which I felt was completely uncalled for and left a bad taste in my mouth.

e
eevans7
Jul 03, 2012

I love memoirs about people doing what they love and this book is a great example. Kimball writes with the perfect blend of honesty, beauty and humor. I will never be able to be a farmer, but I sure did love reading about Kimball's adventure! And I am dying to eat some of the dinners she described!

s
sldoug
Jun 15, 2012

Inspiring and interesting. I remain committed to local food, but man, I really don't want to be a farmer.

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gardengeek May 25, 2011

I really enjoyed this book and since I'm currently reading a series of "green" books related to gardening and sustainability, it fits right in. The author completely changes her NYC lifestyle to live with and eventually marry a farmer who believes in living off the land; literally "the dirty life."

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