From the celebrated author of the beloved bestseller The Dirty Life, a “beguiling memoir about the simple life” (Elle), Kristin Kimball describes the delicious highs and sometimes excruciating lows of life on Essex Farm—a 500-acre farm that produces a full diet for a community of 250 people.
The Dirty Life chronicled Kimball’s move from New York City to 500 acres near Lake Champlain where she started a new farm with her partner, Mark. In Good Husbandry, she reveals what happened over the next five years at Essex Farm.
Farming has many ups and downs, and the middle years were hard for the Kimballs. Mark got injured, the weather turned against them, and the farm faced financial pressures. Meanwhile, they had two small children to care for. How does one traverse the terrain of a maturing marriage and the transition from being a couple to being a family? How will the farm survive? What does a family need in order to be happy?
Kristin had chosen Mark and farm life after having a good look around the world, with a fair understanding of what her choices meant. She knew she had traded the possibility of a steady paycheck, of wide open weekends and spontaneous vacations, for a life and work that was challenging but beautiful and fulfilling. So with grit and grace and a good sense of humor, she chose to dig in deeper.
Featuring some of the same local characters and cherished animals first introduced in The Dirty Life, (Jet the farm dog, Delia the dairy cow, and those hardworking draft horses), plus a colorful cast of aspiring first-generation farmers who work at Essex Farm to acquire the skills they need to start sustainable farms of their own, Good Husbandry is about animals and plants, farmers and food, friends and neighbors, love and marriage, births and deaths, growth and abundance.
About the Author
Kristin Kimball is a farmer and a writer living in northern New York. Prior to farming, Kimball worked as a freelance writer, writing teacher, and as an assistant to a literary agent in New York City. A graduate of Harvard University and the author of The Dirty Life and Good Husbandry, she and her husband Mark have run Essex Farm since 2003, where they live with their two daughters.
"Kimball’s superb memoir chronicles the evolution of a farm, marriage, family, and her own personal identity with humor, insight, and candor... Readers curious about small-farm life, or simply how one woman weathers great change both professionally and personally, will love Kimball’s gutsy, generous [book]. --Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
“Like all good stories – fiction or nonfiction – Kimball’s memoir considers what it means to build a good, happy life, and how we are tested in that endeavor. You don’t need to know the first thing about farming to love this book.” --Mary Beth Keane, author of Ask Again, Yes
"I’ve always wondered what became of Kristin and Mark after The Dirty Life, and this book delivers. Their family grew, their crew grew, and Kristin tells the story of their hardships with grace, humor and honesty. I’m rooting for them." --Andrea Bemis, author of Dishing Up the Dirt
“With warmth, honesty and vivid anecdotes, Kimball weaves a compelling narrative… She writes movingly about accepting the gifts and the hardships of each season, outer and inner. Good Husbandry is a clear-eyed tribute to a tough but nourishing rural life and the deep, sustainable joy it provides.” —Shelf Awareness