High Plain Book Award, Creative Nonfiction
"This is not the story of a ready-made farm, complete with generations of history, carefully tended tools and sturdy clapboard farmhouse." In 2006 Jenna Butler and her partner, Thomas, purchased "160 acres more or less" of rough northern bush. They knew they weren't purchasing anything more than hard work and hope but still they headed up every weekend to clear a spot in those woods where they could plant their first crops. In this collection Butler talks of the hardships, humor and grace notes of trying to build a northern farm. From being driven out by mosquitoes to thwarting grasshoppers to sublime moments under a night sky, Jenna tells the story of how the farm has grown and changed over the years. While it has never quite become viable, it has pulled her always deeper into her love of the land. Jenna also talks about her reasons for starting a farm, poking fun at her own dyed-in-the-wool idealism. She explains her desire to protect and preserve the land, touching on the impact of climate change and of the wear and tear of trying to make a go of it as a small farmer. This is a beautifully written book, one that will leave readers wanting to start their own farm.