Discussions for The Dirty Life (Question #1 and 2)

I just received my copy of his book in the mail yesterday. Can’t wait to dig in!
I noticed that there are some discussion questions at the end of the book. I’m going to post one of them here.

I will post 2 questions every week (starting on Sunday) through the end of the month.

Question #1
Kristin was a freelance writer in New York City, which gave her the opportunity to travel around the world.  When she first met Mark on his farm, she felt like a foreigner.
In what ways do you think this feeling comforted her?  

Were you surprised when the situation flipped and Kristin felt foreign to the life she used to lead in the city?

Question #2
In what ways did Kimball’s yearning for a home sway her decision to leave the city and start a new life with Mark? 
If you were put in a similar situation, do you think you would have made the same decision? 
Why or why not? 
What is your own personal definition of “home”?

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About Sheri Salatin

Sheri is married to Daniel Salatin. She is the marketing director at Polyface Farm and stay-at-home mom of three children. Sheri is passionate about clean food and is enjoying working the land along side her husband. When not farming, Sheri can be found reading, writing, sewing, baking and serving in her church family.
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5 Responses to Discussions for The Dirty Life (Question #1 and 2)

  1. EllaJac says:

    Oh that looks like an interesting book!

  2. Kirsten says:

    I was thinking that perhaps Kristin felt comforted being a foreigner because A) it seemed new and exciting, much like a vacation to a strange, new location and B) because as a foreigner, she could leave at any time. I wasn't really surprised when her feelings flipped and she felt foreign to her old life. As someone who grew up in the country, moved to the city, and then moved back to the country after marrying and starting a family, I know first hand how it feels to look back at your old life and find it completely invalid and lacking in things of substance. I'm certain that if more people were able to experience the simple joys life affords they might too have a more heartfelt appreciation!

    I think Kristin was early on swayed by what many of us are: the idyllic farm life. We think of home in our culture and that early Americana picture of the picket fence and pristine wildlife seems to stick. However, just as she found in that initial scouting of the land, we soon find our initial expectations diminished. Thankfully, Kristin found that the realization of this life is far more than the idyllic image.

    I adore Kristin's sense of adventure and willingness to redefine her image of home. After all, "Home is where the heart is," right?

    My definition of home is being nestled in the place God puts me, surrounded by by husband and children. It's warmed by more than a hearth and stands taller than any big, red barn. 🙂

  3. Kerani says:

    I agree that Kristin's feelings of strangeness in the farm setting would have been comforting, in that it allowed her to be a tourist – something she was already used to experiencing. I think that her comfort in trying new things was a plus when it came to adapting to her new home and lifestyle.

    When it came down to it, she may have been as surprised as I was that she decided to settle down and stay on the farm.

  4. Annie, Morning Joy Farm says:

    I also agree with the comfortable feeling of "tourist" that Kristin first felt. But I think the difference came about when she participated in the farm, the growing of things, the providing of food. For me, that is such a powerful part of what we do as farmers! Farming is not a spectator sport and once you become involved, you are committed to other people and other living things. That also contributes to a feeling of home, the nurturing of life the feeding of others…that's home!

  5. I just finished the book. I only heard about it from reading the old posts on here! I love to read and have read many books on “homesteading” and the like. However, it is really hard to find books with true life accounts of farm life – especially when you google search for homesteading or farming titles. So this was a true gem for me and I appreciate you hosting the book club here on your website.

    I feel like she felt touristy for the obvious reasons of the farm life being so truly foreign to her life in the city. Her life in the city was the complete opposite of the farm she visited – especially the farmer she was interviewing. I grew up in rural WV and would say that the man she met was a rare-breed! With his radical views and willingness to explore them to the -inth-degree! Not many people are so fully dedicated to an opinion that they are willing to make the types of sacrifices he was willing to make. I think she was comforted by this feeling the same way that my sister is comforted in knowing she’s not the mother of my children! That she can love them up and enjoy them for the day but by dinners end she can pack up her purse and head home – back to NYC where she lives! The idea of parenting and the reality are very far apart – and I feel that way about farming… the idea of it and the reality are light years apart.

    I think she yearned for more than a “home.” She sort eludes to that in the book – saying that she believed the hard work and living gave you more of a sense of belonging and purpose than that of the life she was currently living. That her time on the farm those first couple days left her sore and tired in a way she had never felt before and she was energized by that. I would venture to also say that perhaps her biological clock may have been ticking a bit as well – not for children per se – but for creating a new life for herself. I would have absolutely made the same choice. I relate so much to her yearning for change and for walking the talk in believing that something needed to change. After living in the city and visiting the farm I know that I would have been dissatisfied with the city life after the taste of the farm life was in my blood!

    I grew up rural but ran from it the first chance I had – ran all the way to the coast of SC. Stayed there for 5 years before moving overseas of my husband. After getting the taste of travel and city life in my blood it had the opposite effect for me. It wasn’t comforting it was depressing. It made me yearn for my simple country life, the mountains, and the hard labor I saw growing up. Home to me now means the place that you build for you and your loved ones to be a family. My husband will be retiring from the USMC soon and we are struggling on where to settle down. Because our lives have been so transient these last (almost) 10 years it’s hard to decide where to settle. He’s from TX and I’m from WV.