Epitaph for a Peach: Four Seasons on My Family Farm
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A lyrical, sensuous and thoroughly engrossing memoir of one critical year in the life of an organic peach farmer, Epitaph for a Peach is "a delightful narrative . . . with poetic flair and a sense of humor" (Library Journal). Line drawings.
have revived the old practice, albeit with a modern 65-horsepower tractor. Even with my “new” traditional approach to farming, quick fixes are rare and a good memory may be my best ally against weeds. I have a competitive friendship with my Bermuda, and I return to it annually. Some years I have to give ground, other times I gain the upper hand. But I come back again and again, thinking of time in terms of years, perhaps even a lifetime. However, the tractor poses an organic farming paradox: I
opportunities for themselves by working in the fields, and eventually getting a place of their own. Everything was accomplished through one method—the ethic of hard work. The Nisei explains: “You know how those immigrants were about work. Japanese only happy and healthy if they’re working.” He pauses, lets out a soft sigh, and grins. “My folks worried so much about me growing up the right way, I swear they planted weeds to make sure I always had enough work to keep me busy.” Every year, my
where will my new owls live? The old red barn where owls once roosted was demolished ten years ago. It was built for hay and dairy cows, not for forklifts and peach bins. Also missing from the farm are the old thickets of willows and cottonwoods where owls could roost. Today we farm the entire landscape. I conclude I will need to do more than simply stop hunting owls, I will have to build them a home. My owl box will be made from old raisin sweatboxes. No one uses sweatboxes anymore. They’re
worn smooth and oiled naturally by working hands year after year. Armed with such a simple tool, each winter I’ll contribute to the shape and future of my trees and vines. My best pruning efforts seek order out of the rank growth while acknowledging the seeming disorder nature has left me. Each tree will have branches I don’t like. Some are too horizontal, with flat surfaces begging to be burned in the summer sun. Others may fork too close to a neighbor and will compete for sunlight. A few thick
on the ditch bank when we discovered a wonderful white creature perched still, stalking its prey. I stared with wide eyes in amazement while my cousin turned to me and whispered, “Let’s go home and get a gun.” The excitement of discovery turned into the emotional rush of the hunt. We ran the half mile back to my house, sneaked past our mothers, and ran back to the ditch. He carried my older brother’s pellet gun, and I had the pellets jammed into my pants pockets. The egret had disappeared so we