A new book for my reading list: Larding the Lean Earth
, by Steven Stoll.

Fifty years after the American Revolution, the yeoman farmers who made up a large part of the new country’s voters faced a crisis. The very soil of American farms seemed to be failing, and agricultural prosperity, upon which the Republic was founded, was threatened. Steven Stoll’s passionate and brilliantly argued book explores the tempestuous debates that erupted between "improvers," who believed in practices that sustained and bettered the soil of existing farms, and "emigrants," who thought it was wiser and more "American" to move westward as the soil gave out.

Even now, “emigrants” continue the “American” ethic of disposal, couched in terms of mobility, convenience and freedom. “Improvers” have little voice, but they don’t need it to lead their quiet, fulfilling lives, connected, engaged and at home. I’m looking forward to picking it up at my local library
.

In searching for more about Steven Stoll on the web I came across this article
(PDF) on the Amish farmer, David Kline:

We don’t have canyons and we think mountains block the view, but we have some fine thunderstorms.

Reading that led me to his
recent book, Great Possessions
.

… which is one of my favorite things about reading, discovering new things to read. Just knowing that my reading glasses will be ready any day has me aching to read, to read in great gulps, eyes focused for the first time in years, swallowing whole pages, whole chapters at a glance, feeding an appetite that has been limited to a thin gruel of required reading. It’s gonna be goooooood :-)
.