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Book Review and Finger Report

June 15, 2011

As you can see from the length of the last post I can type again, sort of.   My finger is getting a little better day by day, duties I have chosen to shirk are wood splitting (no surprise there), cooking and dishes!  It works great, no one really wants to move the chicken pen, gather eggs, move the cows and plant the garden.

I have to say for all you homesteaders, TEOTWAKITES, and of just plain ol’ new to animal owning people.  Have your first aid kit stocked well with Vetrap the self adhesive bandage.  I learned about Vetrap about 30 years ago when I had a colt who cut the heel bulb off of his foot.  Ouch.  My vet nonchalantly bandaged him right up with gauze and Vetrap to hold the bandage in place.  It stayed on, was easy to remove and was nothing short of wonderful.  I was hooked.  Since I have used it as a makeshift thimble for quilting, bandaged dogs and cows with it and the other day, myself.  We have some in the barn, and some in the house.  The best place to purchase it is at your local feed store, and you can usually find it in the horse section in lots of nice colors.  When I worked at the hospital it was sold for humans as Coflex or Coban, and of course, was in everyone’s favorite color – Ace Bandage.  Boring.   While I am plugging Vetrap I am also going to plug my favorite feed store, Burns Feed in Gresham.  Always helpful and glad to see you, a great small family run business.

While I have been “laid up”  I got a chance to read This Life Is in Your Hands, by Melissa Coleman.  I was captivated.  I could not put it down, reading every chance I could.  A peek inside Eliot Coleman’s life through the eyes of his oldest daughter, what gardener could resist that?  What struck me from the get go was that her words rang true, her childhood mirrored mine in many ways.  And what I felt, and came to realize this past weekend as I pecked away at planting the garden was that when you’re raised on the land, as a child you are grounded and you have freedom to take it all in.  You see things through innocent child eyes and you absorb it.  You don’t have adult worries like a mortgage payment, or will you have enough food, or will you be able to stay warm in the winter.  You take it all in. You don’t miss a thing.

I was prepared to not be able to finish the book, lately people have been recommending I read the rash of latest “back to the land” memoirs that are being written like wildfire.  I struggle with them for a while, and then never finish.  Even written by fantastic wordsmiths, I get bored with the tales of mistakes and discoveries.  But I also figured how could I go wrong reading this book?  I love all of Eliot’s gardening and farming books, should I expect less of his child?  Poignant, happy, and every emotion I could conjure up.  I empathized with both the small town Maine people with hippies in their midst, and I felt for the Coleman family trying to fit in that small town box as disciples of the Nearings.  The same thing was happening here in my small town, we had our own hippies in our midst trying to garden organically.  My gardening mentors farmed and gardened the same way, but they didn’t have a name for it, they just did it.  From the instant I opened the book, I was back in ’69 babysitting my nephews and nieces, wondering about the Tate murders and cringing when I heard Janis Joplin screeching out a song on the radio.  It was so good I am tempted to just read it again.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. June 15, 2011 6:29 pm

    Gresham is a beautiful city. My mother lived there for almost 30 years (she now has to live with me in California). I miss my bi-annual driving trips to Gresham…..beautiful sites along the way.

    • June 15, 2011 6:32 pm

      Karen, oh gosh I miss the old Gresham, it has changed so much being added on to Portland. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Linda Zoldoske permalink
    June 15, 2011 9:30 pm

    Thanks! I went right to Amazon and ordered the book.

  3. June 16, 2011 2:52 am

    Glad to hear your finger is getting better, Matron. 🙂

  4. June 16, 2011 3:59 am

    This book is going on my “must read” list!

  5. June 16, 2011 6:09 am

    There is something next to wonderful when a book speaks to your soul! Thanks for sharing with us.


  6. June 16, 2011 11:38 am

    Glad your finger is healing. Nothing more frustrating than being one-handed on a farm. I am putting in a request for the book from my library. It sounds amazing.

  7. June 16, 2011 1:42 pm

    I end up catching my little toe on something EVERY year and dislocating the damn thing to the point of it looking like a broken chicken wing. Vet wrap is my savior when I invariably do the deed. I can get it held into place and stuck in a boot where it will eventually pop back into place. I’m loving my vet wrap!

  8. June 17, 2011 1:27 pm

    Thanks for telling me about Vetrap. I will put it on my list…

  9. June 17, 2011 1:50 pm

    I’m gonna check out that book – always looking for a good read as my supply of go-to books gets smaller and smaller (and the hours that I sleep get less and less..nothing like a killer read to rob you of much needed shut-eye.)

  10. Livia permalink
    June 21, 2011 1:26 pm

    I went today to Powell’s and got me a copy of the book. Thank you so much, Matron for writing this review. I just found out that Melissa lived in Portland for 2 years, and she says she really liked it here.

    I can’t wait to start reading it!

    May your finger heal fast!

  11. Trini permalink
    June 22, 2011 12:02 pm

    Thanks for the book recommendation! I’ve browsed through a few “back to the land” memoirs as well without being really intrigued, except that I really liked “The Dirty Life” by Kristin Kimball (I actually thought you had written it at first).

  12. Katarina permalink
    June 23, 2011 5:48 am

    SUCH A PLEASANT SURPRISE! Am so pleased to see you healed up enough to type. I have missed your posts during my morning tea routine. Looking forward to reading this book now. Thankful for your writing and advice! 🙂 Katarina in Maine

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