GREAT POSSESSIONS: An Amish Farmer's Journal by David Kline

GREAT POSSESSIONS: An Amish Farmer's Journal

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This journal of an Amish farmer--an observant, well-read naturalist--disarms before it begins. The acknowledgements start off, ""I am deeply grateful to my entire family for their. . .generous offers to do the evening milking without my help so that I would have an hour of uninterrupted time to meet an editor's deadline."" David Kline and his family work their 70 tillable acres (of a 120-acre farm) with horses and without electricity or chemicals; but they can almost always take the time to listen to the season's bird songs. . .or list a new bird species spotted on the farm. . .or stop the team while mowing to rescue a nest of bobolinks. In these short essays, first published in the Amish magazine Farm Life and here introduced by Wendell Berry, Kline expresses his delight in nature (including ""probably the most beautiful of all batrachian sounds, the pure sustained trill of the American toad""); speculates on connections between modern agricultural practices and the decline of wildlife populations; quotes other naturalists and scholars from Aristotle to Jean Henri Fabre to the latest academic researchers; instructs on the proper preparation of sassafras tea; and lets us in on countless small discoveries and observations. In thus sharing his ""great possessions,"" he comes across as a model of sanity, contentment, and generosity. And his inherited tradition of simple living, as supported here by wide ecological learning, is strikingly persuasive.

Pub Date: April 5th, 1990
Publisher: North Point