REAL FARM: Encounters with Perception by Patricia Tichenor Westfall

REAL FARM: Encounters with Perception

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Farm life as a series of experiences that lead to self-understanding and fresh perceptions. Agrarian innocents, West fall (Journalism/Ohio Univ.) and her husband acquired a house and 20 fallow acres not far from the Univ. of Iowa, where husband Mark was working toward a Ph.D. and teaching. He envisioned establishing a kind of Whole Earth Catalogue farming existence. She thought a few chickens might do. Before long, they not only had chickens laying six to eight eggs daily, but there were three goats for milk and two geese as ""watchdogs"" against foxes and other intruders. The house was tom apart to install a wood-burning stove, 2000 saplings were planted to provide a cash crop 30 years hence, and Mark talked of a greenhouse for solar heat and a rainwater collection system. The marriage foundered, however, after Westfall realized that while Mark wanted to become a ""living myth"" with all the answers, she wanted to experience the farm for its sights, sounds, smells, and changing moods. Continuing to farm without Mark, she found events honing her perceptions. The well tailed, and she opted for electricity to power the new one, but kept the beloved windmill that had pumped the old one; a tornado destroyed the chicken house, killing all but the rooster. Now, she reflects on the enigma of time, and how it has been perceived by ancient cultures and contemporary scientists. Westfall realizes that she ""loved the farm because it was rich in questions."" Replete with much ecological and agrarian lore: an evocative excursion into a questing mind that loves the quest but not its resolution.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1989
Publisher: New Chapter (381 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016)