The Dirty Life

  • by Kristin Kimball
  • Narrated by Tavia Gilbert
  • 8 hrs and 0 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Single, 30-something, and 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 500 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 AM, 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.

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What the Critics Say

"Kimball has a gift for throwing into high relief contemporary Americans' disconnect between farm-life realities and city ambitions." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

You'll never look at food the same....

A well written, engaging book about how two young people turned a run-down farm into a profitable business, providing people with wholesome, organic food. The author gave what seemed like an honest behind-the-scenes account of the hardships--and rewards--of growing vegetables without chemicals and raising and butchering animals without causing them undue stress or pain. It made me appreciate, all the more, the difference between "factory farming" and humane, sustainable farming.
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- Amazon Customer

That's what organic farming is all about

I am a gardener. I prefer vegetables to flowers. If I am going to put all that effort into growing things, I want food to be the result. I have often thought about expanding and growing enough extra to sell and to make a small business of it. After reading this book I feel the effort would be rewarding, but I would be too exhausted to enjoy. These people are young and driven. But they live the dream. The dream of most organic gardeners.
This is a lovely book. Not lovely, pink flowers and butterflys, but lovely in its joy of life, of creation, of respect for tradition, past and future. It is short, but full of appeal to those of us who seek to find fulfillment in working with the soil.
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- Bryan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-14-2011
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio