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A Garlic Testament: Seasons on a Small New Mexico Farm Paperback – April 1, 1998
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Novelist Stanley Crawford had the courage to do more than dream about it. He left California for the rigorous, simple life of a New Mexico garlic farmer and, like Thoreau, has written a wise and thought-provoking book about his experiences. His account spans a year in the life of garlic, tying topics as diverse as the nuclear bomb and the challenge of maintaining community to the rhythms of building one's own house from adobe and learning to plant and harvest responsibly.
After closing the cover of this book, I was ready to drive to New Mexico and seek out Crawford in the Farmer's Market, to buy my own bulbs of top-setting garlic and somehow bring some of the beauty of his life into my own. I may never stand in Santa Fe behind his pickup, buying a woven garland of organic garlic to hang in my kitchen, or perhaps I will travel there and stammer some foolish words about his writing as I hand him a handful of crumbled dollar bills. In some sense, the physical journey has become irrelevant: Crawford's New Mexico has already illumined my heart and wakened me to the rhythms of my own life. I don't have the strength or the patience to tend a field or a garden, manufacture adobe or create a home, brick by brick. But I, too, have a place in the world, and eyes to see--A Garlic Testament is one of those books that wakes us from habitual slumber and reminds us, as Thoreau so aptly put it, to advance confidently in the directions of our dreams, and to put the foundations under our castles in the air.
Few of us have probably given much thought to the growing of garlic bulbs, which really consist of "cloves" that can be divided and planted or used to season everything from marinara sauce to stir fries. You might have noticed the green sprouts that begin to emerge from cloves of garlic kept too long in your refrigerator, but Crawford suggests garlic plants are difficult to grow because their life course is different from that of many other plants. Garlics have adapted to life in stressful places where rainfall is not always forthcoming but when they need moisture, they need moisture. To avoid death, the bulbs spend a good part of the year "resting" or dormant. In a chapter called "Waiting" Crawford says that's exactly what the garlic farmer does. Much of the year, garlic like other bulbed plants are in hiding, and the farmer must be patient and wait until they are ready for the harvest.
But Crawford's interaction with plants isn't only about garlic. He relates how he "tasted the landscape" as a child in his native California-peeling and chewing the white pulp of anise growing by the side of the road in winter; sucked the syrup of nasturtiums, smelled the pepper tree berries, and searched the orchids for loquats, limes, and mandarin oranges. Today, children are not so fortunate. Pollution, chemicals, other noxious matter have made much of the landscape dangerous.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
for a serious garlic farmer/gardener/grower, it is an interesting an poetic insight into someone else's life who depends on small farming. Read morePublished on January 18, 2014 by oliver dreher
it was a good book but I was looking for more strait information on growing garlic and not sot much of a story.Published on October 27, 2013 by Linda May
What might you do for a day job if you write novels? Grow garlic of course. If there is poetry in garlic the author discovers it here. Read morePublished on July 14, 2013 by Colin McPhillamy
I live in the busy world of a large city and work 40 hrs/wk. So, one of the things I look for in a book is its ability to take me to another time and place, gently and seamlessly. Read morePublished on May 9, 2013 by GB
I have bought this book several times and share it with discerning friends often - beautifully written and the kind of story that makes the reader want to hop a plane and visit the... Read morePublished on March 6, 2013 by dwreads
One of my favorite books...I tend to "re-read" books every so often, and I figured it was time I got my own copy. About community and man's relationship with nature. Read morePublished on May 31, 2011 by nownow
I picked up this book because of a recommendation from a friend. My goal is to eventually move off grid and have my own small organic farm. This book guides you through Mr. Read morePublished on December 19, 2010 by bassgirl02