Saturday, December 11
The Bucolic Plague
This was one of the best books I have read this year. I love farming memoirs and most of the ones I read are semi-serious with details of daily life, the high points and the low points and how to space seedlings properly. This one was totally different in that it was so funny I could not put it down.
It was also interesting, sweet, sad, modern, historical, and it had all the animal stories that I think we all like.
One page will produce a gem like “…most Americans have forgotten many of the simpler pleasures of life and how to provide for themselves.” “…the art of gracious living had largely fallen by the wayside.” While the next will discuss zombie flies, Oprah and bird triage. I never knew where it was going next and I could not put it down.
All you history people out there - can it get better than this? - “The sturdy 205-year-old farmhouse, standing high on a windy hill, represented the sense of permanence and stoicism I’ve always admired in people. I was waking up in the same exact spot as at least ten generations of people who came before me. In fact, the first morning someone woke up in this spot, America was still composed of only seventeen states, and had just purchased the Louisiana Territory a month earlier.”
Martha Stewart plays a big role here and to all of us whole strive for 'Martha-ness' in our gardens and homes, I offer this quote of a grounding nature: “When one peers through Martha glasses, the world isn’t rose colored. It’s a great big collection of disappointing imperfections.” It is also full of little historical common sense tips like facing your homestead crypt away from the wind - “little genius historical lessons that have been completely forgotten.”
Gardens, goats, house repair, soap, people, sparkle, places, fights, day-jobs, tv cameras and lessons in history. This book is a back-to-the-land meets gentlemen farmer drama.