Book Review by Intern, Maureen Gullen
July 5, 2012
This past spring break I was wandering around a store, shopping with my mom. I had recently found out I would be interning at Michael Fields in the summer and I was counting down the days until school ended and my exciting summer began. I’ve grown up in an urban environment my whole life and my family is far removed from a farming heritage. Thus, until recently I hardly ever thought of agriculture or food production, I just ate. Sustainable agriculture is a recent interest of mine that surprised my parents and friends. I don’t seem like the “type of person” who would want to farm: I like to be clean and I don’t like bugs. However, once I get an idea in my head, it’s hard to get out. I wanted to farm this summer and I spent hours looking for internships on the internet. Finally, I was lucky enough to find Michael Fields. A common practice at my house it to get as many books as possible on a subject when beginning a new endeavor. So, I needed some farming books. At Anthropologie, a store full of beautiful (but expensive!) clothing and home goods, I saw the perfect book, Farm Anatomy: The Curious Parts & Pieces of Country Life by Julia Rothman. It’s brightly colored cover displayed cute diagrams of “farm anatomy,” from the body parts of a chicken and corn to different types of fences and squash. Just flipping through the bright, information and doodle crammed pages, it’s easy to fall in love with Farm Anatomy. Julia Rothman grew up in New York City, a true city girl at heart. She met and fell in love with her husband, Matt, an Iowa farm boy turned New Yorker. He introduced her to his family farm in Tabor, Iowa. She instantly fell in love, fascinated by the goats, the cats, and the incredible night sky, unsullied by light pollution. With this love, she set out to chronicle farm happenings through adorable illustrations and diagrams. The book chronicles everything from soil structure, farm buildings and machines, crops, livestock, bread making, canning, and making yarn. Extremely informative and detailed, Farm Anatomy illustrates information vital to rural living. This book is perfect for the urban hipster who dreams of homesteading, a city/suburban dweller who wants to garden or raise chickens, or anyone who is interested country life. Farm Anatomy is a great introduction in the art of farming and I will be using it as an inspiration for my current and future farming and living.