Sunday, July 18, 2010

Drawn to the Land: The Romance of Farming

Author: Elizabeth J & Barton M Cockey
ISBN: 978-1-934454-40-4
Publisher: Bridgeway Books

Take a journey through the past, present and future of farming in this picturesque representation of the land, the people and the spirit of farming. The book is separated by the seasons, starting with winter and ending with fall. Each season brings the flavor, the feel, the scent and the visual representation of the farm and land during those months. The vivid paintings make you feel you are seeing the land, animals, equipment and people through the eyes of another, one who is in love with the farm. To quote the author, the book gives recognition of the essential order of things, a basic modesty that comes natural to the farmer.” Drawn to the Land will make you want to travel to upstate New York and view the beauty and splendor for yourself. If you are not able to travel the book provides many clues to vendors that you could purchase from to get a taste and feel of upstate New York at home.

The Romance of Farming can be described as a learning process. Simple facts such as “They cut blocks of ice from ponds and rivers, and packed them in straw in their ice houses”, which refers to the early settlers method of refrigeration without electricity, enable you to learn and understand more about farming as a culture and a way of life. Farming teaches values, every member of the family is essential and works together. The farmers are literally drawn to the land, they love it, and they feel at one with the earth. The process of farming, though difficult and stressful at times is something they enjoy. It gives them inner peace and happiness. The reader can feel this through the books words and paintings, each page bringing forth a renewed energy and excitement.

I learned quite a deal about maple syrup production and other produce and lively hoods found on a farm. The winter is a harsh, cold, barren season in which farmers tend to the livestock and prepare for the spring. Spring is a rebirth, bringing maple syrup production into full swing, along with the start of flowers and produce. Summer joins with corns and chickens taking the spot light. The farmer tends to its livestock producing eggs, milk, cheese and other items. The produce is planted and growing, making way for fall. Fall I assume must be the best time on a farm. It’s the season of Thanksgiving. Pumpkins, roadside stands with organic produce, fruits and vegetables, hunting, handmade breads, pies and preserves and ice cream bring visitors and tourist. It is a journey that brings amazement and awe along with a respect for the farmers and their way of life.

The reader will be delighted with the vivid, beautiful paintings in this book. I wanted to see more. Some of my favorites were as follows, The Colonial Home in Cambridge, NY. I enjoyed the Greenwich Countryside painting with the town in the forefront. The Gardenworks farm is featured throughout, but the first painting in the spring draws you in. Last but certainly not least are the fall paintings, my ultimate favorite view of the vivid colors of the New England fall. Pages 31-35 of this book have beautiful scenic representations, as well as the cover. Readers will enjoy a different look at farming. It brings an appreciation of the farm that even those who are the least likely to farm will be able to feel.

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