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Farmers reading

December 1, 2010

The leaves have mostly fallen, frost has settled in, and Harvey and I are devouring books at an increasing rate. Thought I’d dedicate a post to our current reads.

I just finished reading Helen and Scott Nearing’s Living the Good Life: How to Live Sanely and Simply in a Troubled World. They write about their experience leaving New York and starting a homestead and farm in Vermont during the Great Depression. I can relate, as Harvey and I left Chicago to start farming during the current recession. The book is a fantastic balance of practical, how-to instructions on everything from composting to constructing a stone house and the more nuanced politics in attempting to untether themselves from the grips of a capitalist culture. Thanks to Mary for her recommendation of this book. I only wish I had read it sooner!

Harvey just finished Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire. Pollan locates four strains of artificial selection (the human breeding of plants for favored traits) between Apollonian and Dionysian coordinates, that is between Order and Chaos. The apple, tulip, potato and marijuana each gratify a species of desire: sweetness, beauty, control and intoxication. Pollan demonstrates in his book–and garden–that the dialectic (the give and take) between control and wildness, between history, culture, and economics, contends for what we put on our plate. Ultimately, it is a mirror.

We get asked often what we are doing during the winter. Besides planning and enjoying free time, we are also reading. We always appreciate any recommendations… What are you reading?

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