I became a voracious reader the summer of my third grade year. I was being ostracized by a group of mean girls at my summer daycare and had nothing to do the entire summer but read. I believe that summer changed my entire academic path. I've never been academically brilliant, but I know how to persevere and utilize my resources. That was the summer that my brain caught fire to the escapist world that fiction provides. I read anything that I could get my hands on. This love of literature has followed me into my adult life. Again, while I would never categorize myself as "gifted" I have excellent reading comprehension skills that can be traced back to my summer of reading . One of the first series that I devoured was the Little House of the Prairie series. I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder's vivid word pictures about a life that was so foreign to me.
One of my favorites from the series was "Farmer Boy."
My parents can attest to the fact that I would read and re-read this book, even into my high school and college days. Truth be told, I enjoyed her descriptions of all the food and the harvest process. I never could read this book without having to stop and get myself a snack. I mourned the fact that my snacks never sounded as good as Amanzo's - no freshly made bread, spread with sunshine yellow butter and served with a tall glass of farm-fresh cream. No, my snacks were more along the lines of microwave popcorn and a Diet Coke. :)
Recently I came across a modern day version of "Farmer Boy" in the non-fiction work of Kristin Kimball's "The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love."
The author regals her transition from being a freelance written in Manhattan to a farm wife in upper New York state. She meets a man on a writing assignment who has abandoned modern farming techniques - chemical fertilizers, tractors, hormones, etc - and has started his own CSA program using conventional farming techniques - compost piles, horses, free-reign farm animals, etc. This man dumps her world upside down as she leaves her old life behind and joins him in his farming adventure.
It reminded me of my childhood favorite with a modern day twist. I highly recommend "The Dirty Life" if you have even a slight interest in farming, food, and love!