Sunday, January 1, 2006

Book Review: A Very Small Farm

I just finished this book by William Paul Winchester last night. My friend Leigh has been recommending it for years and she finally loaned it to me. What a beautiful book. A Very Small Farm is a beautifully written journal of one man's life on his small subsistence farm in Oklahoma. In the busyness of the Christmas season, I was especially drawn to the simplicity of his life. It's the "other" life I have always felt in my bones that I was made for, being in the seventh generation of fruit farmers (but not being one myself).

I was surprised (though I suppose I shouldn't be), when coming upon the section on Winchester's fruit trees, to come across his description of Liberty apples, one of my dad's varieties. He goes on to mention getting trees from Geneva, NY, where my father ran a fruit breeding program for 30 years.

Before I turn this over to Randy and my dad to read, I wanted to record a couple of my favorite quotes from the book. I love this first quote because it is so true of being a mother as well as a farmer:

"The best thing about my work is that it is of my own choosing and done in my own way. Under those circumstances even the most menial work is pleasure. Since I didn't know much about farming in the beginning, almost nothing, I made mistakes. But they were my mistakes to put right or live with. The work was difficult enough that I had to be inventive, but not so difficult I couldn't learn....The nearest equivalent to the small farmer is the housewife, especially if she is the mother of young children. We are amateurs, working for the pleasure of it rather than for hire."

The second quote is shorter, but one I wholeheartedly relate to: "As for boredom, the word has no meaning. It's inconceivable with so much to do and such and intriguing world to do it in."
A lovely book.

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