A winsome account of a boyhood idyll on an Ozark mountain farm. Sent by his army family in Okinawa to live with his grandfather and great-uncle, young Middleton (today a nature writer) found himself in a 19th-century world with two widely read, philosophical oldsters. Their only cash crop was a huge hand-tended garden that supplied vegetables and berries to most of the surrounding county. Otherwise, they ate eggs and meat from their chicken coop, one home-slaughtered pig, salted venison and wild quail, turkey and ducks. Free moonshine came from the still of Elias Wonder, a mildly demented Indian they had found freezing to death in 1927, and who had lived in a cabin on their land ever since. When a county agricultural agent berated them for not damning their stream, not installing cattle, not turning their 100-year-old woodland into a ""cash crop,"" the old men were delighted to learn they had succeeded as ""failures."" November found them on mattresses on the roof, awaiting the first migrating geese. ""Bless them for coming,"" said Grandfather Emerson, ""for giving us another year."" Their main passion was fly fishing for trout, at which they spent hours every day, invariably releasing the fish to live and challenge them again. The idyll came to an end when Middleton was sent to school in Virginia. By then, he and his grandfather (who lived less than a year longer) had buried Elias and Great-uncle Albert. Poetically written, filled with neat anecdotes and salty reflections; a mite florid at times, but warm and wonderul nevertheless.