How does the labor and stress of farm life compare to that of the writing life?
Some of the long days we described in the book were extraordinary, rather than routine: Obviously, harvesting animals is a once-in-a-lifetime event (for them, at least), and canning tomatoes in August is kind of the gardener’s World Series. But in the day-to-day, farm work is stress relief for me. At the end of the day, I love having this other career — my anti-job — that keeps me in shape and gives me control over a vegetal domain. Sometimes I see people at the gym bench-pressing until they turn purple, or running five miles in the rain after work, and I think to myself, “Who could push themselves that hard? Not me!” And yet, walking to the garden with a hoe feels like a tryst with a lover. I adore working up a sweat on a sunny day among the sweet potatoes. I love having used every muscle I own, making food for my family. That process is deeply compelling, probably coded into our DNA. I never thought I’d get a laugh out of a botanical description of asparagus, but thanks to you, I d