Friday, March 8, 2013

Giveaway: Country Women

"We were shy of one another, of ourselves, and of the whole concept of woman identity. Most of us were preoccupied with the demands in a completely new environment. We were somewhat surprised to find ourselves drawn together -- surprised, curious, attracted, unsure. We met together week after week for almost two years, slowly and often painfully searching out who we were and what we wanted for our lives. We talked, laughed, and cried together; we taught each other how to believe our dreams and helped each other to live them. That small group was the nucleus of a change that spread woman to woman, acre to acre, gradually touching the whole area and then reaching tentatively beyond. We heard of other small groups in other isolated areas and began to realize how much women needed to be in touch with one another in the "new communities" of the back-to-the-land movement..."

These lines are from the Introduction to "Country Women: A Handbook for the New Farmer" by Jeanne Tetrault and Sherry Thomas, that told 1970s back-to-the-landers what they needed to know about "how to negotiate a land purchase, dig a well, grow vegetables organically, build a fence and shed, deliver a goat, skin a lamb, spin yarn and raise a flock of good egg-laying hens, all at the least possible expense and with minimum reliance on outside an professional help." (Yes, that's the subhead.)

It's filled with how tos, beautiful line drawings, eloquent poems, black & white photos and personal journal entries, and is dedicated to every woman who has shared or will share this dream.

I found a used copy shortly after we moved to the farm and I was immediately taken with its vintage Mother Earth News feel and empowered earth mother vibe. What's more, the book helped me feel less alone. While moving to the land was a different path from most of my friends and family, I wasn't breaking fresh ground, or doing something entirely new -- I was joining a sisterhood of strong women who had been inspired by similar dreams for connection and self-reliance, but knew first hand the struggles of learning so many new things. As written elsewhere in the introduction, this book is meant as both an encouragement and a tool.

As it was published in 1976, it is definitely dated and there are perhaps more relevant how to books on the market, and even the authors admit it's not the perfect reference book for new farmers, but there is still loads of practical information for "the new farmer whose small-scale productivity is as old as America itself."

And as I now have a second copy, I'd like to offer it as a giveaway in honour of International Women's Day.

To have your name entered in a random draw, all you need to do is:

1.) Be a follower of the blog. Not because I'm looking to boost my stats, but because I find every time I offer a giveway, people drop in just for the free swag, never to be heard from again.

2.) In the comments section I'd like you to share something (even one thing) about yourself, such as: where do you see yourself in five years; what are your homesteading/farming dreams; what does International Women's Day means to you; or tell me about a woman who inspires you. (And you don't need to be a woman to comment -- men are absolutely welcome too!)

Blogging offers me the opportunity to keep an online journal, but also to build community with like-minded dreamers and doers. While our meeting place is a virtual one and we may be unsure of ourselves first, I believe, over time, this kind of sharing will help us to believe in our dreams to the point where we can start living them.

P.S. For another chance to win, please share this post with other likeminded readers/bloggers and leave a comment when you do. I learn so much from reading other people's blogs and from hearing from folks who read mine.

Giveaway closes on Sunday, March 10th at 12:00 a.m. EST.


cinnamon gurl said...

That book sounds wonderful! I have such a thing for vintage cook books and self-sufficiency books these days. I just can't get enough of the illustrations. Also, I'm sure they'll come in handy when the power goes out. (Though my husband did say to me the other day, after I brought home yet another vintage cookbook with adorable illustrations, ever so gently, "So how many cookbooks with adorable illustrations do you need?"

I have no idea where I see myself in five years. Could be on a farm closer to my parents or could be urban farming in my current city or the city next door (closer to my husband's work). Time will tell, I guess.

I am inspired by a friend of mine but the things that inspire me are rather identifiable. So I will just say that I am inspired by the women I know who are taking risks to follow their dreams, who admit to late-night panic attacks but keep on anyways.

Miriam said...

Although maybe it's a little corny, my mom Yvonne is a woman who inspires me. She is smart and strong and lives her life guided by a strong social conscience. She is the one who taught me how to be a feminist when I was a child back in the 70s.

When I decided to quit my job and live on a rural acreage and grow vegetables she was behind me 100%, even though all of that was well outside her experience. So even though she has never grown a carrot she is my most enthusiastic supporter.

(This willingness to stretch herself beyond her experience to understand her daughter's dreams applies to cats, too. Not so many years ago she was cat phobic, but this morning when she called to wish me a happy International Women's Day she extended those greetings to my female cat, Petunia, too. That's a mother's love for you.) said...

Thank you for sharing who inspires you. I was greatly touched and moved...

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