All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Upcountry: Reflections from a Rural Life

Upcountry: Reflections from a Rural Life, a collection of essays by Robert Kimber of Temple, has been re-released by Down East Books. It sounds like a book I'd like to have written myself. Here's the publisher's blurb:
Robert Kimber's upcountry is where early settlers carved farms out of scrabble-soiled country that never wanted to be farmed and where the forest has been reclaiming its own ever since. It's where the coastal plain and wide river valleys give way to rushing headwater streams and the foothills of the White Mountains, where the dollar economy has still not driven out the ancient skills of piecing life together and making do. "Upcountry" is a place where the cycle of the year still counts. People cut next year's firewood while they're burning this year's. They sugar off in March, pick fiddleheads in May, plant on Memorial Day, and harvest on Labor Day.

Kimber shares his adventures, misadventures, and reflections as a part-time farmer and fetcher of firewood, his struggles with recalcitrant sheep and aging tractors, the joys of roaming the hills with his dog, plunking for pickerel in the lily pads, savoring the echoes of silence in a sleeping Maine village. Like good apple cider, these essays are a blend of the sweet and the tart, the aromatic and the astringent. Seasoned with a dash of wit and self irony, these love letters to life upcountry are as crisp, fresh, and bracing as they are affectionate.
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