Friday, March 9, 2012

The Dirty Life, by Kristin Kimball

*sighs*  Just when I start to get content with living in an apartment in metro NYC, I read a book like this and I get all antsy again.

I really need to stop reading...

The book, The Dirty Life, by Kristin Kimball, was recommended to me by someone who currently lives in NYC and dreams of following Kristin's flight out into a harder, yet less stressful life.  We have commiserated on waking up to car alarms instead of roosters.  :)

The book follows Kristin Kimball's life from the first time she saw her to-be husband, through their first year on a start-up farm, where they created their own, unique CSA.  

It's a very easy read.  I love her ability to be candid about her thoughts and emotions.  She does not, in any way, try to pretend that she is perfect.  She points out her faults and the faults of her husband openly and honestly.  But, she also shared how she learned to face those faults, and the fears that go along with them, by getting 'personal' with nature.

I really appreciated her aspect of death.  I agree that we tend to want to 'live forever' in America and therefore shun death.  But death is as important as life.  I think we do our kids a huge dis-service by sheltering them from death and all the sub-sets that go along with it.  Kristin and her husband treat their animals well, and give them the dignity they deserve in death.  They use almost every part of the animal, and compost what is left, so the nutrients go back into the soil.  They seem to have the 'circle of life' figured out quite well.  

But only after a lot of trail and error, failures and lots and lots of funny and uplifting stories.  

She had some great stories about the local personalities. I wonder if any of them read the book and saw their names in it. :)  I grew up in a small town where most everyone knew everyone else.  There are certainly some downsides to it, but now that I'm a mom, and craving a more simple life, I would like to go back to that again.  I have tried to make my little block 'homey' by reaching out to the neighbors when they are outside. But it's not real 'natural' or easy around here.  People are juts too busy to stop and chat. 

I find it easy to 'romanticize' the life of a farm.  But reading this book was a good reminder that it is HARD work to create your own food.  At the same time, it is so incredibly rewarding.  Kristin did a fabulous job of showing both sides of that coin.  And farming most definitely came out on top. 

She also wrote about how humans need to work, in order to find joy and fulfillment in life.  That is something I have been coming to realize more intensely lately.  It makes sense, even from a Christian standpoint, but yet, we are so programmed to avoid work in America, that we don't even realize we are thinking that way.  I'm not a lazy person by nature, it's just not who I am.  But yet, the idea of real 'work' used to almost scare me.  But real work, with real meaning, is so empowering and healing. 

If it wasn't so far away, I'd try and find a way to afford it.  It would be $7800 a year, for all we can eat.  That is pretty much what we currently pay.  Except coming up with that much money at once would be hard, of course.  But, I LOVE the concept!  Aw, why not drive 5 hours on the NY Thruway every Friday afternoon for food....

Ok, I'll stick with what I currently have.  But it's a great concept! 

Maybe someday Drew and I will have our own adventure in farming.  My dream isn't quite as big as the Kimballs though.  I want to produce the majority of our own food (I'm not willing to give up my coconut oil, and you just can't grow that this far away from the equator), and some for a few other families as well.  And also, I like the idea of actually using the food to prepare meals, kind of like a CSA, only a kitchen like this one.  Only MUCH smaller.  I would love to do classes on cooking, fermenting, culturing, time management, meal planning.  Once I get good at them. ;)

It may never happen, and that is ok.  But a girl can dream.  :)

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