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(article, Kim Carlson)
You may have seen a recent New York Times piece on farmers who have become writers; I, however, did not. (I flagged it to read later but waited too long, and now, unfortunately, it's locked up.) I don't know if Jon Katz's name was mentioned, but probably not; he's more of a writer who's become a farmer in recent years than the other way around. No matter; Katz's eloquent prose on Slate about life on his farm is a welcome view unto farm life and the decisions farmers and ranchers must make all the time — like whether to get rid of a favorite sheep who's misbehaving or what's the best way to help a donkey who's fallen in an ice storm. You won't find farm life romanticized in Katz's writing; sentences and essay titles like this abound: "Why I shot my lamb: And why I want to shoot my neighbor's lamb, too." But you might find yourself imagining what life would be like if you stood in Katz's boots. (Incidentally, if you like his column, you might like Dog Days: Life at Bedlam Farm, Katz's new book, which is due out today.) Another farmer who keeps us posted about rural life is Walter Jeffries, at Sugar Mountain Farm in Vermont. The pig pics alone will entice you to linger, but Jeffries' gentle and concise prose also lures you in. Finally, Bay Area farmer Andy Griffin keeps a blog, some of which directly addresses farm life. His post about why he quit the farmers' market shows just how challenging it is for a farmer to make the numbers add up selling organic produce. Farmers' prose is one thing, but as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. To understand the beauty of farms, a good place to get started is Tana Butler's I heart small farms blog, which has stunning photos of farm life. Just remember, as Jon Katz says, that "Joy is a fraction of the experience of owning a farm." More of a city mouse? Here's a farm-oriented word game just for you. Do you have farmers' websites you can recommend? Let us know in the comments.