Like an adult playing make-believe, Seton (an agricultural scientist) lovingly describes the farm she yearns to own--one of ``those longings in life [that] are dull tugs from somewhere inside you.'' Daughter of a psychoanalyst and a novelist, Seton grew up in Northampton, Massachusetts, but from childhood on--when her mother became ill with the cancer that would kill her a decade later--she found solace in handling livestock. Seton found that being with farm animals--during summers on local farms or during a semester on a Wyoming ranch--turned the loneliness created by her mother's illness ``into a hospitable aloneness.'' Here, she not only concentrates on animals and crops she would have on her ideal farm, but also recalls how she came to farming; her graduate study at Texas A&M; her experiences with different kinds of agriculture; and her jobs in agribusiness. She offers insight into big matters like childhood, as well as into small matters such as why farmers rely on chemicals (the chemical companies give ``them a new kind of stature''), and she casts forthright opinions on the bloated USDA (``agriculture is the fat and unhappy adolescent, whose parents, wishing their child had turned out otherwise, pitch him more food to keep him at least hushed''); on chemicals; on consumer attitudes toward agriculture, and on organic farmers. The author's farm would be home to cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, ducks, and chickens, big enough for them all but small enough to take care of--and it also would be a place where her husband could grow flowers and vegetables, especially parsnips for her beloved father. Seton and her husband eventually found the perfect farm, but her husband, a banker, was transferred to Zurich, and the dream has had to be deferred. A beguiling love letter to farms and farmers--from a woman of refreshingly independent thought who shares her unusual love in prose as rich in information as in style.