SECOND CUTTING: Letters from the Country by Richard M. Ketchum

SECOND CUTTING: Letters from the Country

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Neighborly pleasantries, low-keyed sermonettes, and cracker barrel-gripes (without the snap)--which have introduced the monthly issues of the Vermont farmer-publisher's Blair & Ketchum's Country Journal. Ketchum opposes bigness, rampaging agribusiness, government bureaucracy, undirected local growth, and the loss of old village values: ""Today, it would appear, the country has gone out of a great deal of America--the old sense of community, the neighborliness, the feeling of belonging, of helping out, of trusting in others."" The first section reviews the farming year, its toil and diversions. In the second, Ketchum celebrates the Town: an archetypical Memorial Day; a family reunion; and townsfolk who excel in once-essential skills--""We have today more and more passive people, people without a craft or trade."" He mourns the railroad's withering away (""Where is Commodore Vanderbilt when we need him?"") and has no use for Washington's backward thinking on energy (""We have no faith that Washington could even invent the wheel""). Throughout, Ketchum pleads for help for the small family farm--needed more than ever, and officially neglected. Here and there, he holds forth on the trials and incidental satisfactions of haying and fencing, of animal culture, and the Wood Stove. Excellent lead-off lures to the popular magazine; but here, massed, a bit repetitious (and no match for Noel Perrin).

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1981
Publisher: Viking