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The Dirty Life (a giveaway!)

October 26, 2011

The publishers of Kristin Kimball’s book, The Dirty Life, have given me a copy of her paperback (includes photos and recipes) to give away to one of you!

Woven between the tales of pre-dawn milking and ushering a litter of baby pigs through winter, The Dirty Life is a love story. Mark and Kristin as a couple are almost as preposterous as tackling “a whole diet farm” with horse-drawn machinery and a deflated savings account. Mark, who has never smoked, drank, cussed or downed a can of soda fuels himself on optimism and wholesome physical labor. He became a farmer because of his desire to have access to fresh, quality food. In her pre-farming life, Kristin’s exercise came from regular games of pinball; her fridge contained the Manhattan phone book and a bottle of Polish vodka.
Kimball’s writing is both gorgeously lyrical and as practical as someone who uses every part of a slaughtered cow: kidneys, testicles and tongue (which she does). She leads the reader intimately through the birth of the farm, the fiery courtship, and not only does the preposterous begin to appear plausible, but you will find yourself rooting for this unlikely couple, whose calendar reads, in the same October square: wedding and 50 chicks arrive.
To learn more about this book, go here to read a review I wrote for The Durango Telegraph.
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below telling me about a dream you’ve followed or hope to follow.
Giveaway closed Wednesday, November 2nd.
41 Comments leave one →
  1. October 26, 2011 1:01 pm

    LOVED this book!!!! SO real and SO good.

    oh and a dream i am currently following is the lauching of a new podcast where i get to interview some of my favorite bloggers (hello rachel of 6512 and growing!!!) about life behind the blog.

    good stuff. all around.



  2. Bernice permalink
    October 26, 2011 1:06 pm

    Hi Rachel,

    This is, without doubt one of the best books I have ever read and only further fuelled my dream of ‘the dirty life’, yet it is a book I have never owned.
    My husband and I are still living in the city, waiting for a buyer for our flat. Currently we live the urban farming lifestyle – an allotment, herbs and seedlings in every windowsill competing for limited light. There are books piled high in the living room, in the bathroom, on the laundry basket…books about vegetables, bee keeping, chickens, knitting, preserving. No matter how much I clean there is a constant trickle of soil on the staircase and spiders religiously craft their webs night after night in unseen corners.
    This book keeps me sane, delving between the pages. The librarian asks why I take it out so often. I tell her the same thing week after week…’Because I am saving every penny I can to follow my dream of getting out of the city’. She smiles and stamps the front page. One day soon she will see, I took my dream and made it happen. So if you know someone looking for a two bedroom flat just outside of London…send them my way.


  3. Kathy permalink
    October 26, 2011 1:10 pm

    I read most everything through a hopefully not so dark glass, or perahps I should say rose-colored glasses. I see my great-grandfather and great-great grandfather planting and caring for their small Durango gardens. Both grew up on large farms, one from Ohio and the other from Luxembourg. Gardening was so crucial before the days of the common grocery store.
    This dream of mine, a true life novel of this family, is my filter of all I do and think. Their garden could still exist, right there on the hill next to the old house. I can see the real thing right there in your backyard too, not far from that house, and I can imagine us being neighbors in distant times. I hope my writing will be a garden of words to take us all back to that era.

  4. October 26, 2011 1:14 pm

    I am dreaming of replacing the porch windows, by myself. For some reason, this is something that I cannot stop thinking about, and slowly, I am assembling materials and planning. This is totally unlike me, as I generally forge through life bull-in-china-shop fashion, so there must be some deeper lesson in it for me. At the end of the day, I will ask for help before I completely ruin the thing, but here, at the beginning of the day, I am judiciously using both the measuring tape and the advice of the helpful folks at the local lumber yard and salvage glass place.
    And seriously. A red barn, a chicken and a cable knit sweater? Who is NOT going to want to read that book?

  5. October 26, 2011 1:18 pm

    How ironic! I’m currently in the last half of this book right now, salivating over draft horses and yearning for Scottish Highlands. Oh and butter, lard, and beets with dirt still clinging to them. The Dirty Life is a beautiful book and inspires me to keep putting on my mud boots and getting outside pursing my American dream. The one that involves alot of blood, sweat, tears and the pursuit of happiness.

  6. October 26, 2011 1:37 pm

    This book sounds really interesting — I would love to be a part of the giveaway. A dream I am currently following (as a true work in progress) is learning to play the piano as proficiently as my mother, who is truly gifted. I am loving every minute of making music while raising my family :-)

  7. October 26, 2011 1:44 pm

    Sounds almost like a book you would’ve written. Slightly different plot line :)

    My dream is to be free to travel with my family, and to live in different places.

  8. October 26, 2011 1:54 pm

    This book sounds great–good reviw! My dream is to write a book (or five or ten). I hope I don’t have to become acquainted with cow testicles in order to do so.

  9. October 26, 2011 2:10 pm

    Um … I am currently taking three months off (from client work) to seriously reengage with my novel manuscript and create a solid new plot treatment. Goal to have a complete rewrite by September 1, 2012. Does that count?

  10. Olive's mum permalink
    October 26, 2011 2:14 pm

    My dream is to survive on my own veggies and fruits!

  11. coleen permalink
    October 26, 2011 2:46 pm

    I’ve read some of this book, very good so far.
    I’m living my dream….We wanted to retire early, in our 50’s, which we did and I’m taking care of my grandson, so my daughter can work and not pay ridiculous day care costs.

  12. Elizabeth Salamon permalink
    October 26, 2011 4:06 pm

    Dream I’ve followed: Moving to another country, let alone another continent and adjusting to a different way of life. I moved to Italy in September of 2008 to be a Nanny and fell deeply in love with the culture, ambiance and my husband. The journey began as our paths quickly intertwined. We now have an almost 16 month old amazing baby boy who shows me the way and teaches me how to unravel myself every moment of being around him. They are my everything. But, I do enjoy indulging in some great American writting and following the bread crumbs of your journey with your husband and children. I miss Colorado every day!!!! It is always a pleasure to find your mail in my inbox ;) Just thanks for being exactly who you are and blessing our world with your richness.

  13. Emily P. permalink
    October 26, 2011 4:10 pm

    I had a dream of dropping out of college, moving to NYC to work on Broadway and tour with a show. I did. It wasn’t what I thought it would be, or I wasn’t who I thought I would be. I’m glad I let that dream go. The book sounds lovely (even if farming isn’t my dream, and sometimes it is), and I love a well written book!

  14. October 26, 2011 4:49 pm

    I’ve fulfilled my dream of having a family by giving birth to my beautiful son in April of this year. Some dreams I hope to follow soon are to start a blog and believe in myself enough to put my thoughts out there!

  15. shaina permalink
    October 26, 2011 6:05 pm

    I Have never read this book but my dream is to one day run a farm that includes using every part of an animal having a beautiful vegetable garden, fruit trees and lots of little children running around (only 3 being mine i hope)

  16. October 26, 2011 6:13 pm

    That book has been on my to-read list for awhile!
    I have a dream that I will one day move to a farm and be way more self sufficient….. one day!

  17. Kim permalink
    October 26, 2011 7:06 pm

    great review! My silly little dream is to move to the beach. As simple as it sounds, I need to smell the salt in the air and feel the wet, cool breeze.

    I will get there and I will relish in the sensations but for now I do the daily grind of the 2 hour daily commute & the 9hour work day culminating in the retrieval of my 6yo from day care to enjoy 3 hours of food, laughter, books and homework before it’s time for bed.

    But I WILL live down the shore and enjoy the sand between my toes & the gulls screaming overhead with my children and (maybe) grandchildren along with me.

    I’m putting the book on my list. Thanks, Racheal

  18. October 26, 2011 8:29 pm

    I dreamed of having a farm and realised that dream two years ago. Now, I dream of traveling with my family. We are about to leave for 5 months in Costa Rica! Would love to read that book!

  19. Emily J. permalink
    October 26, 2011 8:58 pm

    I dream of taking my kids on a trip around the world so they can appreciate all they have and get a taste of living outside of a comfortable bubble. It probably won’t happen for a few years (they are 5, 3, and 1) but someday…..

  20. October 27, 2011 3:35 am

    I’ve had one dream, my whole life. Grow up, get married, have babies, own my own house and business by the time I’m 30. I know they are little dreams, that seem totally plausible is normal life. But that doesn’t take away from the satisfaction of seeming them realized. Now I do not rush through life anymore ( I graduated college in three years, so I could get here sooner). I live in the same town I grew up in, it is wonderful to see so many childhood dreams take shape, and so many people become who they’ve been meant to be. I have new dreams, but none with the fire of that one.

  21. Rishi permalink
    October 27, 2011 6:06 am

    I’d love to read this book. My two dreams are to write a book and to sew my own wardrobe.

  22. October 27, 2011 8:00 am

    This book sounds familiar…we are now in our second year of having left the city at 23 and 26 years old & with zero farming experience to move to the country, buy 10 sheep and 2 llamas and jump right into farming. We have lots of dreams to come in the future: wedding, kids (eventually!), chickens, our own land and so on!

    Thanks for the chance – sounds like an inspiring read!

  23. sauceyjill permalink
    October 27, 2011 9:18 am

    I haven’t read this book yet but it looks wonderful, I’ll add to my library list for sure!

    As for a dream I have, I’d love to sail. I want to buy a small boat and sail with my family down to the South Pacific for a year (maybe longer). Or instead of RVing in retirement if we’re hale and whole, I want to sail instead. That would be fantastic!

  24. October 27, 2011 10:47 am

    This book sounds good – I’ll have to check it out. I don’t have the dream of farming, but I would like my own vegetable garden. I’m working on that one. I think I used to have more dreams when I was younger. I think I’ve gotten more cynical (or more tired – fulfilling dreams is hard work!) My big dream now is to make an income with my writing, especially my Hikermama stuff. Oh, and having a servant to do all my housework would be nice, too! ;)

  25. Christy permalink
    October 27, 2011 12:58 pm

    This book is on my list.
    Funny how our dreams shift and change. Sometimes radically. If you had told the 18 year old me that one day her dream would be to move back to this small town and live next to her grandparents and parents and that she would make some big sacrifices and compromises to get there, she would probably have laughed. And said, “never is a million years.” But make here I am. And I keep adding to that original dream of coming home. We had the garden this year. I planted a cherry tree. Chickens are coming in the spring.(!!!) And a strawberry patch will be planted. Perhaps a few more fruit treesas well. (I have one apple and one cherry. I’m thinking peach next.) And I daydream about writing a blog as I am so inspired by the women whose blog’s I follow.

  26. Christine permalink
    October 27, 2011 1:39 pm

    would love to read this book!! My hubby and I are slowly starting to grow our own food on our little farm, we do vegetables, but are planning to start raising our own grass fed beef and chickens!! We want our son to truly understand where our food comes from and to appreciate how important farming is!!

  27. October 27, 2011 9:32 pm

    My (our family’s) dream is to move to the beautiful mountains of Colorado. Shed all our “stuff” and start over. Solidify our bond with each other and the earth. Breath the fresh mountain air everyday and slow down.

  28. Melissa h permalink
    October 28, 2011 12:35 am

    Gosh. Long term I want to move out of the Los Angeles area and find a town like your Durango. Short term, my dream is to turn my 400 sq feet back yard lawn into garden and not have to ever buy produce or canned goods again. Right now, about 25 sq feet is garden. I’m on my way!!!

  29. Jamie permalink
    October 28, 2011 3:21 am

    I would LOVE an earth built house, a small garden, a few goats and an indoor/outdoor kitty. I dont want to work much, just sit there and soak it all in…..

  30. Tricia permalink
    October 28, 2011 9:10 am

    Moving through dreams…
    I had always wanted to immerse myself in a different culture and be a “local” in a foreign country. About a decade ago, I did just that. I spent four years in the foothills of the Andes mountains in a remote community in Bolivia. Days were spent washing clothes in the river, working with horses and oxen, learning how to bake corn pastries in an adobe oven, and helping at the local school. While I was there I met my husband, and we spent many hours by candlelight discussing how, and where, we wanted when we would move back to North America.
    We envisioned at least twenty acres, with a pond or perhaps a meandering stream, lots of animals, and a good measure of self-sufficiency. We wanted to try living a sustainable life even in the hot house of consumerism back home.
    Well, when we moved back to Canada, our first child was born and my husband took a job in the city. Suddenly, the twenty acre farm seemed very far away from his office at the heart of the city. Slowly I began to realize that my life was right where I was, on my 50×100 ‘ plot, and not waiting for me anywhere else. And so now my dream is to live with integrity right where I am.

  31. October 28, 2011 10:10 am

    I’ve been enjoying your posts since last Spring. I found my way here via Mary over at Terrelectualism. Your words are both funny and poignant and your garden is an inspiration. My dream is to raise my child as lovingly, consciously, and devotedly as I can while still making the time (consistently) to paint and write and hang on to that piece of myself that is so vital and necessary to live happily.

  32. October 28, 2011 8:30 pm

    Sounds like an inspiring read!
    my husband and I are in the process of buying our first home, And it happens to b nestled in the woods with a few acres of land. It is my dream to have a hobby farm, filled with goats and garden and plently of room for my son to grow!

  33. melomel permalink
    October 28, 2011 10:42 pm

    I’m living part of my dream right now. I live in nature with my partner and our three kids. We walk out the front door and can see mountains. Our house is surrounded by trees. I can bike on a paved trail to five lakes and swim outdoors (my favourite thing in the world). We are healthy. Our community is awesome.

    What’s next in the dream? Bringing balance into our lives with some steady summer income at our local farmers’ market, someday for me going to art school, making studio space in the (full-on) chaos of our home, having our own home to plunk down in, getting out of winter for at least a month every year to explore and travel as a family. Life’s pretty good.

  34. October 29, 2011 12:16 pm

    Nice article, thanks for the information.

  35. October 29, 2011 8:55 pm

    Dying to read this book.

    My dream has always been to live off the land. It’s in my bones, to grow all my own food (we grow a lot now) to have chickens (by-law forbids them) and some cows for beef and a few sheep so I can spin my own yarn, bees so I can have honey and beeswax. I picture my sweet boy breathing in the fresh country air and exploring all that is around him. Maybe it’ll happen. But really it’s okay if it doesn’t because as Tricia so eloquently put it, our lives are here and now and while dreaming is a beautiful thing and if we want it bad enough, it can absolutely happen, accepting what is is also a profound intention. xo

  36. October 30, 2011 9:46 pm

    It sounds like a great book and I love those old barns. damn, my dream would be to own a little land where I can have a cow or some bigger animals…I would seriously like to live on a small farm, getting my hands really dirty every day! You don’t know this about me but my license plate on my car says Mrsdirt. My husband being Dr. Dirt. We’re in to everything dirt. : )

  37. thuisschool permalink
    October 31, 2011 3:51 pm

    I dreamt of living on my aunts land and keep the land going, but I became ill two years ago. Now I’m in a weelchair and dreaming that I will live to see my daughter, who is nine, grow up. I would love to read this book.

  38. April Chase permalink
    November 1, 2011 12:00 pm

    My dream is to make our family farm a model of sustainable ag that will provide a decent living wage for me and my cousin so we don’t have to work off-farm anymore! This book has been on my to-read list for a while…would love to win it!

  39. November 2, 2011 12:17 am

    Gorgeous, gorgeous review. I’d love to read this book. A dream I hope to follow: packing my family in a camper van and driving into Central and South America for many months.



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