I first heard of Wendell Berry and his The Unsettling of America when I was a college student struggling to identify a study major.
I had enrolled with a plan to study agriculture. I loved animals and was thankful to land a job at the college dairy my first semester. But as I got deeper into my studies, I found myself a bit put-off by the big business emphasis of my classes. I was interested in small farming and homesteading — not agribusiness.
At the same time, I was feeling out of my element in my agriculture classes, I found myself pulled in the direction of English. My academic advisor at the time assured me that these passions were not mutually exclusive. He asked me if I had ever read any Wendell Berry, the agriculturist and novelist. I hadn’t, but I made a mental note to look the man up.
Eventually, I changed my major to English. To my surprise, professors in my new department also frequently referenced Berry. One had met him. Another proudly displayed his signed copy of Jayber Crow to his students. I even read Berry’s Remembering in my Comp II class.
But somehow or other, I didn’t pick up what is perhaps Berry’s most famous work for almost a decade. Finally, while on a road trip to Kentucky three years ago, I decided it was time. It seemed fitting, as we were planning our homestead venture and looking at property in Kentucky.
Continue reading at Homestead Sissies.