Wedded to the Land
Stories From a Simple Life on on Organic Fruit Farm
Meet Joan in Kalamazoo!
“This understated book is a surprise. It is the story of a family living with the land on an organic farm in Michigan. They grow blueberries and fruit trees, make maple syrup, and plant organic vegetables while living a simple life that is short on the normal accouterments of today’s farmers. They live with wood fire and for a period in that is described in the book, they lived without electricity. “
“In the hands of Joan Donaldson, a family farm comes beautifully and sometimes painfully to life. Her pages are filled with ripening peaches, with blueberry bushes whipped by an unforgiving wind, a farmer grieving over the loss of a beloved ox. Donaldson never gives way to easy sentiment; she invites her readers to experience the hard-won joys and inevitable sorrows of a life lived in synch with nature.”
“Joan Donaldson’s prose sings. It is wonderfully alive with the details and rituals of her life and work on her husband’s family farm. It sings with the beauty and rewards of the land she has committed to. Above all it sings with an uncommon integrity, never slipping into easy sentimentality, never slighting the hard work and even drudgery such a life demands, yet finding fulfillment and dignity in even the most common tasks – so that we come away from this book filled not just with admiration, but with a bit of envy as well. Perhaps the book’s most remarkable achievement is to convince us that a life of simplicity and commitment to land and community can engage and nourish an intelligent, curious, analytical, and creative mind. Donaldson is joyfully wedded to the land, in all its joys and trials, and this is her epithalamion.”
“Whether she’s writing about the staccato of a hairy woodpecker echoing through the woods, tapping sweet sap from a cluster of maples during a spring sugaring ritual or mourning the loss of her ox, Tolstoy, Joan Donaldson’s sensuous prose shimmers and surprises. Donaldson’s collection of essays, Wedded to the Land peels back the skin of her blueberry farm with the precision and eloquence of a Wendell Berry, Edward Abbey and other agrarian essayists who make us pine for the lost heart of the country.”
“Joan Donaldson is a pure, profound, and meaningful writer often expounding on topics that are close to her own heart; therefore, her words are carefully considered and thoughtfully brought to life.”