In this debut memoir, Addy gives a detailed account of the family farm in the Catskills that shaped his youth.
The author visited the titular farm many times from his infancy in 1935 until 1997; his family sold their interest and cut all ties to the land in 2009, after various members of his family had been there for close to a century. Over those years, time and technology altered the way that people worked the land, and as the author points out, many of those old ways are in danger of being lost in the modern era. Fortunately, the author has a vivid memory for detail and a great deal of love for his subject; he writes about what it took to shoe a horse, milk a cow and mend a roof, and waxes nostalgic about using an outhouse—all of which may intrigue modern, urban readers. He also devotes sections to a range of other topics, including the farm’s water, its scenic views, and even its rubbish heap, and fills his book with family photos and anecdotes that span decades. Overall, he creates a fine time capsule of a very specific place; however, that specificity can be both good and bad. Although some people in farming communities may see the book as a valuable record of and way of preserving their way of life, a good portion of this book may not appeal to those outside the author’s family; some important characters of Addy’s childhood, for example, may seem less colorful to outside readers. Similarly, some sentimental photos of various pieces of furniture may have narrow appeal, but there are also many lovely photos here that showcase fashions and farm equipment that have long since gone out of style.
A detailed account of a fading rural lifestyle.