Monday, October 10, 2011

Quotes from The Dirty Life

          This book by Kirstin Kimball made the Toad Hall Gift List this year, deciding which teaser quote to include was hard. Here are a couple that were too lengthy, so as not to waste them: here they are. Consider buying her book or giving it as a gift.

The following was a discussion I recognize - it was one Denis and I had any number of times, especially during our early years when people thought we were crazy to do what we were doing, too. And sometimes we were.

          When we’d talk about our future in private, I would ask Mark if he really thought we had a chance. Of course we had a chance, he’d say, and anyway, it didn’t matter if this venture failed. In his view, we were already a success, because we were doing something hard and it was something that mattered to us. You don’t measure things like that with words like success or failure, he said. Satisfaction comes from trying hard things and then going on to the next hard thing, regardless of the outcome. What mattered was whether or not you were moving in a direction you thought was right. This sounded extremely fishy to me. (p. 77)

There is a certain insanity that takes us, for me, it happens when I walk into a yarn shop, or the florist warehouse in Minneapolis, and yes, when the seed catalogs arrive in the spring. I must force myself to turn away or leave if we are going to have money for groceries.

           If it had been left up to me, we would have grown one of everything from the catalogs that year. In the winder squash section along, I underlined twelve intriguing varieties, including Candy Roaster, Turk’s Turban, Pink Banana, and something called Galeux d’Eysines, which the text told me meant “embroidered with pebbles.” The herb sections made me completely nuts. How could you NOT order one packet each of saltwort, sneezewort, motherwort, and Saint-John’s-wort, plus a sample of mad-dog skullcap, which the text said was once a folk remedy for rabies? At a buck a pop, how could you go wrong? The whole trick of seed catalogs is that they come into the house in winter, when everything still seems possible and the work of growing things is too far in front of you to be see clearly. Luckily, Mark knew this and had quietly retrieved my list and crumpled it up, so the box that arrived at our door contained the seeds of edible things that are general liked by humans, a reasonable number of varieties, and nothing that ended in wort. We sorted through the packets, separating those that would be direct-seeded in the field from those that needed to be started early, in a greenhouse, in a few short weeks. We did not have a greenhouse, but building one was on the list. (p. 119)

          This is Frieda. She's not from Kimball's farm in NY but, still. She represents another Dirty Life, with our friends at Easy Yoke Farm here, in Minnesota. She's beautiful, isn't she?


kate o. said...

i loved this book but admittedly got exhausted just reading about their life. i was also completely intrigued with the concept of a csa that provides ALL of your food. but i'm assuming the upstate new york february offerings are not that thrilling.

Margie Haack said...

Kate, think: ROOT vegetables. Guess I'm glad somebody has the energy to do it. I sure don't.

Anonymous said...

And when does the highly anticipated Toad Hall gift list come out? I look forward to it every year.