ABOUT THIS BOOK
When a life-threatening allergic illness demanded that she eat only organically grown food, writer and professor Mary Swander built a new life in a former one-room Iowa schoolhouse in the middle of the largest Amish community west of the Mississippi. In this rich and engaging memoir, which follows the course of a farmer’s year, she writes from the well-named Fairview School to share the radical transformation of her life.
From her perch in rural Kalona, Iowa, Swander discovers new strength and self-reliance along with a community of hardworking and hospitable neighbors. Raising goats and poultry, participating in barn raisings and auctions, protecting her garden from a plague of grasshoppers, creating a living crèche at Christmastime, all the while laughing at her attempts to wrestle with the pioneer challenges of midwestern winters and summers, she explores what it means to be a lone physical and spiritual homesteader at the end of the twentieth century.