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The Seasons on Henry's Farm: A Year of Food and Life on a Sustainable Farm Paperback – December 10, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Terra Brockman gives the reader a view of the world of the farm, and a glimpse of a greater world of literature and art. With the log of daily activities throughout the year, and interesting recipes, this book offers the reader a bountiful and varied feast. Read it and be joyful that you can take advantage of the produce from Henry's farm without the unending labor."--Joan Richards"Chicago Botanic Garden" (02/01/2010)
"Interlacing vibrant description, thoughtful reflection and mouth-watering recipes, Brockman's book explores and recounts the physical and personal realities of a daily relationship with the land."--Elizabeth Janicek"Radish Magazine" (10/30/2009)
"This literary, yearlong memoir documenting the weeks on a central Illinois sustainable farm is filled with poetry and beauty as well as advocacy and science...This is not a confrontational book that takes on corporate chemical farming. It's a gentle book that points to an alternative path."--Clare Howard"Peoria Journal Star" (10/19/2009)
This is by far the most informative and earnest of the back-to-the-land memoirs; anyone thinking about farming as a way of life should read it. "The Seasons on Henry's Farm" isn t full of peril. It doesn t warn away or beckon hither. It s a sober, cleareyed assessment of what needs to get done, when, how and why. By describing a year s worth of chores on her brother s farm in central Illinois, Brockman give us an excellent idea of how demanding and profoundly rewarding farming can be....Her prose is brisk, yet richly detailed. The chapter on the ice storm that felled a beloved oak, which gave Henry a way to propagate mushrooms, is a marvel of concise wisdom, and so is one called Drakes Mount, for anyone who ever wondered exactly how birds do it. By the time spring arrived, I was eyeing my suitcase and seriously contemplating a stint as an intern. Brockman gives new meaning to the term earth mother. She brooks no nonsense or misplaced sentimentality about life on a farm. She can be eloquent even on the life of swine, watching piglets suckling while the mother sow s grunts and moans turned erotic. And then, in the next line, there s a reference to the hogs we ll butcher that same day. When Henry decides to charge customers for biodegradable plastic bags (and Brockman adroitly explains why even those aren t good), some of his customers are furious. She s wryly funny about how heresy quickly becomes practicality. Brockman is an avid reader: Shakespeare, William Carlos Williams, Marcel Proust and Gabriel Garcia Marquez stride across Henry s fields. And their eloquence rubs off: her descriptions of winter s quiet make you want to try experiencing those grueling summer days on the farm, simply to deserve that rich relaxation when the crops are all in.--Dominique Browning"New York Times Book Review" (06/06/2010)"
"Locavores will appreciate Brockman's book as a testament to sustainable agriculture; those just looking for an engaging read won t be left hungry, either."--Janet Fuller"The Chicago Sun-Times" (11/11/2009)"
Top Customer Reviews
I loved the interspersing of different styles. A description of planting garlic leads naturally to the recipe for "Pockets full of garlic soup", and thence to musings about the importance of timing, overlayered with rueful complaints about aching, aging knees in contrast to those of Kazami, "a compact, curly-headed, 13-year-old package of fearless life force hurtling down the hillside on a blur of bicycle". Later, scholarly discussions of the enduring dangers of chemical fertilizers (the author's father is an environmental geneticist) are woven into an attempt to capture the meaning of wabi-sabi, a Japanese Zen concept that the author relates to rural community life, thanking the hens for their eggs, and macabre stories told to grandchildren to make them behave.
This is a particularly good book to give as a gift. It is wonderful to use for morning meditations (especially since it's laid out chronologically over a year). It's very funny, and thoughtful, and loving. I've given this book to many, and treasure my own.
The quality of Henry's produce is nearly unmatched - and certainly anything I've had in the past pales in comparison. Seeing the farm offered one perspective; reading about it brought an entirely new one. Terra is a remarkably gifted writer, bringing the farm and all that comes with it to life. Even though I only saw a small portion of the farm, I have such a vivid mental image of nearly everything she writes of, from the fields to the truck to the dogs who guard the crops.
Reading through the book gives such newfound appreciation for the Brockman family, Matt, and all the apprentices. To see their work and passion brought to life was truly an inspiration, and nearly enough to make me want to spend a summer on a farm.
It's an informative book which also has the occasional humorous anecdote - I'm thinking specifically of the geese that had reached sexual maturity and how the farm had to deal with it!
Terra Brockman's scientific knowledge imbues this book with a rich and interesting depth, too. Her understanding of the biological processes at work help you understand the tremendous effort that goes into the sex life of corn...or the immense pools of teeming life in what looks like plain dirt. It is laid out in a manner where the science is never uninteresting, and never misunderstandable. The author is a scientist, botanist, poet and dreamer. All those varying oeuvres meld beautifully in this wonderful work. I will likely read it again within a few weeks, and surely re-visit it from time to time over the years.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Comforting yet hectic tale of the life of an organic farming family. Many specific details of how things are done and just how much work is involved, but also the joy of the hard... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Farmhouse lady
Great read if you are interested in the farming lifestyle you will like this book. I learned a lot from it.Published 6 months ago by Kim R. Ferrell
Each week of the year has its own set of tasks. I was amazed and awestruck at the variety of food that could be grown in just 10 acres. So much work! So much care! Read morePublished 8 months ago by Awesome Net Deals
Incredibly hard-working family, who live simply and express their love for organic farming. I loved reading their thoughts and work schedule throughout the seasons.Published 8 months ago by Beth Reiners
A story of hard work I never realized. Follows the seasons and well written. Was amazed the farm is very close to town where my
father grew up.
Terra Brockman has taken writing to the next level in my eyes in this fascinating, fully captivating, delightful (I could go on and on! Read morePublished 12 months ago by Louise Keith