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The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love

by Kristin Kimball

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6763424,434 (4.03)13
After interviewing a young farmer, writer Kristen Kimball gave up her urban lifestyle to begin a farm with her interviewee near Lake Champlain in northern New York.
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    Scenes from a Smallholding by Chas Griffin (arjan_m)
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    Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life by Jenna Woginrich (Collinsjd)
    Collinsjd: Another writer takes off on her own to face the challenge of farming. It is a wonderful book that displays the author's passion with a healthy dose of reality.
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» See also 13 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
Recommended by Anne Bogel - https://modernmrsdarcy.com/series/tasty-and-tantalizing-food-memoirs/

A thoroughly enjoyable NYC to Farm adventure. The simplicity of the food along with some amazing descriptions of how it was prepared were inspiring. Kimball's writing of the constant battle to scratch out a living from the farm was well paced and a joy to read. I know there's a sequel out which I will probably never read for fear of ruining a perfectly bundled experience. I just can't imagine that the ongoing story would hold my attention as well as the "build it from nothing" experience.

I would definitely recommend to anyone who has ever dreamed of running away and starting over. ( )
  out-and-about | Sep 12, 2020 |
As a woman who is about to move from the comfy suburbs of Strip Mall America to 5 acres in the country on a gravel road, I was very interested in this book and happy to have it recommended to me. It was easy-to-read, well-written, and enjoyable. What stood out to me, though, was not what Kimball tells about but rather what she omits.

Or am I just a person who doesn't accept happiness at face value? If so, then I apologize and I recognize that maybe it really was all that easy.

I loved reading about the process of farming, livestock raising, the temperaments of horses, making do with less, and "shopping with the Amish"... but was there no culture shock, depression, sadness at leaving her entire civilized life behind? We read occasionally (maybe 2-3 times?) about vague conflicts between her and her husband, but I never get inside her head to learn about the struggles between leaving friends, jobs, and familiarity of the city to being an outsider in the country, wholly dependent on the decisions of her partner. I wanted to read more about what it's like to go from self-sufficient singledom in NYC to sudden coupledom in a totally isolated setting.

I really like this woman, I do! I loved the feminist in her --that she didn't in any way deliver what seems so common in women's memoirs, i.e. "finding herself" in her new husband or birthing children. But I find it hard to believe that upon transitioning to this new life there was no second-guessing, no disappointment -- just a lot of toned arms, gourmet meals thrown together from lichen, dandelions, and steer balls, and extreme generosity from dozens of the kindest, most welcoming neighbors that any small town has ever produced.

Let me bore you with an analogy. In college, I studied abroad with a friend in Madrid and kept a diary because my mom asked me to. When I returned home with 4 full notebooks, she loved reading about the characters we met, the delicious (and often bizarre) food we ate, the troubles we had with our landlady, and the encounters we had with locals all over Europe as we learned to navigate a completely foreign landscape. She passed the journal to other family members and everyone had a good time reading about our adventures. I was happy to have provided people who've never been outside of the USA such a diversion!

But because I knew my mom would read them, those journals didn't say things that I thought were too personal or shameful. I was too embarrassed to write about was the extreme loneliness, the sobbing homesickness, my longing for letters from my boyfriend that never came. I couldn't put down in words the times I got drunk, the episodes of being lost and frustrated, the ugly and jealous feelings I had every time someone else got a care package and I didn't. I didn't have the guts to put my guts on paper because I wanted everyone reading it to like me.

There is also a possibility that Kristin Kimball is just a much, much nicer and more adaptable person than I am. Which is probably the case. ( )
  gakgakg | May 28, 2020 |
Awesome memoir.

Kristin captures the passion farmers have for their work both as an outsider (big city hip gal) and then as an insider (farm girl). Nothing is hidden from the reader as she describes their struggles ... and their eventual success on this more-than-organic, very unique CSA operation.

Core to the theme of the book is the farm as the rock on which the author and her husband's relationship stands. Farming, arguably the most noble profession, is also unforgiving - both of their body, spirit, and relationship. But they endure and thrive.

Great book. ( )
  ErrantRuminant | Mar 13, 2020 |
This was a really gripping story of two people starting a farm, and life, together. ( )
  rapini | Jul 1, 2019 |
This is the kind of book that makes you question your law degree and really ask yourself what you would do if you weren't afraid of failing. Kimball is a smart writer, most likely a talent leftover from her years as a freelancer, and while this memoir is directly about farming, food, and love it's also about finding your passion and holding onto for dear life. This is one of the most inspiring books I have read in a long time.I absolutely loved reading her and her husbands story. ( )
  EliseLaForge | Nov 20, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
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For Mom and Dad
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Saturday night, midwinter.
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Has several sub-title versions:

Orig. 2010 h.c.: The Dirty Life : On Farming, Food, and Love.
2011 trade pbk.: The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love.
2012 UK ed.: The Dirty Life: A Story of Farming the Land and Falling in Love.
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After interviewing a young farmer, writer Kristen Kimball gave up her urban lifestyle to begin a farm with her interviewee near Lake Champlain in northern New York.

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