A former drag queen swaps his pumps for work boots and life on a remote farm.
After retiring his alter ego in favor of an advertising career and a serious relationship, Kilmer-Purcell (Candy Everybody Wants, 2008, etc.) and his partner Brent, the “resident health and wellness expert” for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, became instantly enchanted with Sharon Springs, a charming, upstate New York town they discovered by accident during a yearly apple-picking excursion. Their adoration spawned the purchase of the historic Beekman Mansion, a million-dollar monstrosity built in 1802, replete with seven working fireplaces, a crypt and 60 acres of farmland. As both men were raised conservatively, the joint purchase of this “second home” was extravagant and indulgent, though Kilmer-Purcell admits to seeing his future “as promising as a roll of free drink tickets once was to me.” Aided by John, their trusty “co-farmer,” along with the camaraderie of friendly locals, the couple began raising turkeys, dairy goats, a Holstein bull calf, a vegetable garden and a goat’s-milk soap business, which exploded after a promotion on a Martha Stewart segment. A cavalcade of farming misadventures followed, all recounted in the author’s droll, deadpan delivery. (The countless Martha Stewart references, however, come across as arrogant.) Eventually, the pastoral joys of country life, and Brent’s unexpected layoff, took their toll on the couple’s nearly-ten-year relationship. An apprehensive visit from a New York Times reporter helped leaven the mood, before the pair considered selling the farm as Kilmer-Purcell lamented, “Had this all been one big folly?”
Though a well-worn theme, this particular merging of city and country is both sweet and savory.