Once a New Yorker, now a peasant,"" Perrin writes urbanely of Vermont and its felicities (sugaring, trading, raising sheep) in these droll, likable essays. In search of the perfect fence post, he makes all possible blunders. Selling firewood in New York City turns into a low-cost adventure. Trading takes on Faulknerian dimensions. Buying a pick-up truck is warming (""Properly designed, it is the truest of trucks, the very platonic essence of a truck"") and using a chainsaw is bliss: ""It's noisy, it's dangerous, it pollutes the air--and I love it."" But, as in E. B. White's down-on-the-farm uptakes, there's more here than maple sugar and sheepish reflections: Perrin comments on the two faces of Vermont (calendar-picturesque vs. highway-department-beautiful), proposes the wooden bucket principle (or how city folks see the country), and asks (im)pertinently what does ""garden-fresh"" mean on a package of frozen peas. Witty, fluent, and stylish.