Thursday, May 9, 2013
The author writes about all manner of old fashioned farming and housekeeping topics. She kind of rambles in the book so by the time you're done you know all about her personal life as well. She said that the book idea started back in the 70's when she put an ad in the classified section of The Mother Earth News. She didn't think she would get much response and hadn't started the book yet.
She was bombarded with orders, and checks in payment. She hadn't even started the book yet, but she cashed the checks and started typing. This was back before personal computers so she actually typed everything up on a typewriter and mimeographed (no home copiers either...) copies. She realized it was more work than she thought and she got a few chapters done and sent them with a promise of more to come. She eventually finished the book and sold it to a publisher. My copy has 520 pages of tiny type. That must have been a lot of work. I can barely manage a blog entry per week.
A few years back Carla Emery was on a speaking tour, and she was slated to speak at a farm close to where we lived. I was thinking I would go and have her autograph my old copy and buy a new version (she's updated it through the years). She died of a heart attack right before that speaking engagement.
I'm reading it again for inspiration as we have a contract on our "city" house and we'll be moving to the "sticks" soon. We have a contract to purchase a 32 acre farm in the Ozarks (we're buying part of a larger tract) from a young Mennonite farming family. This property is about half pasture and half woods. We are looking forward to having the woods to explore. The current owners grow all of their own food in the large gardens and raise meat goats. They asked to stay on the place until they harvest the corn. While none of the buildings are what I would call picturesque, they have most of the outbuildings that we will need, including a well house, a goat barn (possibly to become a poultry house), a shop, a small multi-purpose barn, and others. The house is what they call on HGTV a "fixer". Livable as it is, but definitely in need of updating. We have scheduled inspections on the farm and hope that we don't find anything that will be a deal breaker. I can already see myself living there and don't want to have to start the house hunting process again!