I've read quite a few in recent months and just finished another one last night.
I've so enjoyed these books I decided I'd make a reading list here to share them with you too.
It all started a year ago actually, when I happened upon a copy of The Dirty Life in an airport bookstore on my way back from Chicago, after a lovely weekend with Alicia and Eileen.
We'd been in our new house, with 26 acres, for about a year at that point and we had our baby chicks and I was just discovering all the things this land offered us.
The book drew me in and left me wanting to learn more. Even if you're not living on land with plans to raise sheep or chickens or start a farm, it's a great read: City girl meets hippie farmer, hilarity ensues.
After that, I dove into more books on the simple life and have been amassing my own small library on the topic.
So if you're looking for a book to settle down with at your favorite local coffee shop, I have some suggestions.
Here's a look at what I've read so far, and what's on tap.
1. Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl by Susan McCorkindale. Have to admit this was not my favorite. It started out pretty entertaining, but after a few chapters, the funniness seemed forced and it just started to bug me a little. Still, I powered through and finished the book. I have some friends that loved it and I'm glad I read it, but it wasn't my favorite.
2. Mud Season by Ellen Stimson. I'm only about halfway through this one. Been working on it since October, but keep checking books out of the library and getting distracted. But honest truth, I love it so far. It's funny, witty and easy to read. Stimson really sets her scenes making me feel like I'm there with her and can relate to some of her comical moments while learning how to live the rural life.
3. Cooked by Michael Pollan. This one took me awhile to read, but I love it. This book has changed the way I think about a lot of things, and I'm grateful for that. I loved it so much I wrote an entire post about it.
4. The Feast Nearby by Robin Mather. This was a pretty quick read since Mather kept her chapters pretty short, organized by season, and then she filled a good chunk of the book with recipes. Mather starts off talking about her divorce and then she moves to a cabin in Michigan, where she lives on a small budget and makes the most of what's available to her, while also focusing on locally sourced foods. It made me think a lot more about supporting local farmers and producers and also concentrating on the foods I like most to more efficiently use the ingredients I have.
5. A Farm Dies Once a Year by Arlo Crawford. Crawford returns to his family farm for a summer and finds himself feeling out of place. But by the end of the summer, he's remembered some great things about farm life and some new skills. It's a fairly quick read and while it wasn't exactly what I expected, I enjoyed it.
6. The Wisdom of the Radish by Lynda Hopkins. I just finished this one, and returned it probably two weeks late to the library. Hopkins is serious in her efforts to farm and her passion for local farm systems, but also hilarious in describing some of those moments when she's thinking how the heck did I get here. There are curse words, but as someone who has spent hours digging post holes, getting attacked by roosters while trying to protect hens and finding rattlesnakes in my garage and mice in my kitchen and cars, I can relate.
7. Greenhorns edited by Bradbury, Fleming and Manalo. Okay, I've only read one essay in this collection of 50, but they were from Montana and it was a great read. The book includes a wide variety of young farmers from across the country and I love it so far.
There's a good chance I forgot one, but here's a look at my to-be-read list:
+ In Search of the Perfect Loaf by Samuel Fromartz
+ Made from Scratch by Jenna Woginrich
+ Barnheart by Jenna Woginrich
+ Growing a Farmer by Kurt Timmermeister
+ Grow the Good Life by Michele Owens
+ Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
+ The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan and everything else he's ever written.
+ The Bucolic Plague by Josh Kilmer-Purcell
+ Rurally Screwed by Jessie Knadler. I saw this book in a Bozeman bookshop a year ago and couldn't for the life of me remember the name of it. I was looking for it all year and in writing this post rediscovered it!
There's so many more I keep finding at the library and as I poke around Amazon, but I'll leave it there before this list stops feeling fun and starts to feel overwhelming.
Have you read any of these? What do you think of them? Any suggestions for my growing farm/food book collection?