Book Review: The Dirty Life

I am not ashamed to admit that I consider Audio Books just as good as reading an actual book, especially when a person is so busy (or tired) s/he cannot sit still for even 15 minutes (without falling asleep). So I often listen to audio books to keep my sanity while driving, doing the dishes, unpacking a ba-jillion boxes… Recently I “picked up” The Dirty Life after a search for farmy books on

The author, Kristin Kimball, writes of her decision to leave a very normal, urban life in New York City for a completely foreign existence on a 500+ acre farm in Upstate New York; all in the name of love. The retelling of her journey was touching, infuriating, heartwarming, heart-wrenching and absolutely perfect for me right now. While I occasionally felt I identified more with her sometimes-militant off-the-grid farmer husband, Mark, than I did with her, I found her perspective to be extremely eye-opening as I journey to take my own steps toward an agrarian life. She conversationally touched on basic things like chicken breeds, as well as complex issues like farm management, customer procurement, and marketing.

It was an exciting story full of every aspect of farm life, even the activities inside the farm house. She wrote about the stress of leaving a life of comfort and convenience for one of near total isolation. Mark Kimball (he took her last name when they were married) insists on farming purity – they eat a diet consisting of farm-grown/foraged foods and grown their own hay for their livestock. And they utilize horse-power in all but extreme situations, reducing their off-farm inputs to next to nothing. And for all their devotion and hard work, they now own an 80 acre parcel amidst a 600-acre sustainable farm, providing a full-diet CSA for more than 100 people. This story was inspiring, encouraging, and practical. I absolutely loved it.

The Dirty Life, Kristin Kimball
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One thought on “Book Review: The Dirty Life

  1. thanks for the review, Rebecca. I had not heard of this one and now I want to read it. I am looking forward to sharing each of our homestead/farm journeys.

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