ESSEX - When Kristin Kimball got her first taste of life on a small-town farm, she found it was very different from life in Manhattan - to say the least.
"It was a shock in many ways," admitted Kimball. "I was a city person so, physical work was completely new to me."
However, Kimball didn't just go from being a writer in New York City to Mrs. Green Jeans over night.
"I got really interested in the small farming movement. So, I started interviewing young farmers in the Hudson Valley," explained Kimball.
Eventually, she made her way to a "young, intelligent, tall, handsome farmer" in State College, Pa., and fell madly in love.
"First with farming and then with him," she said, adding her soon-to-be husband, Mark, was "a close second."
The two uprooted themselves and found a new home in Essex County, establishing Essex Farm, a 500-acre farm, in 2003. Though her husband was an experienced farmer, Kimball - who grew up in the moderately-sized Central New York town of Rome - admits she was not.
"I felt stupid pretty much every day of that first year," said Kimball. "It was incredibly humbling, incredibly satisfying work, but darn hard."
Converting from a hard-wired metropolitan to a hard-working farmer was something that Kimball found to be good fodder for a book. So, she wrote one - "The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love," which documents Kimball's transformative first year and the trials and tribulations of building a sustainable farm in the Adirondacks.
"It is the story of what it was like for me to leave my life in the city and go through the sort of satisfying but extremely difficult process of becoming a farmer," she said. "It's about what it's like to change your life radically and really commit to a person, a place and a way of life."
One of the biggest changes, she said, was going from a woman who would stay out late to a mother of two that would be up with the dawn.
"I used to come home at 4 o'clock in the morning and now I get up at 4 o'clock in the morning," she said, laughing. "So, I've become a morning person."
Kimball's new 273-page book - published by Scribner - also chronicles her learning how to milk cows, catch pigs, and live with a man who is "exasperating and incredibly intelligent, worthy and romantic."
"A lot of the book is how both farming and marriage are long-term projects that require patience and hard work," she said.
While Kimball admits it can be tough being a farmer in this day and age, it's the support of family, friends and neighbors that make farming worthwhile.
"Our community has been nothing but supportive of us and we've been able to farm exactly the way that we want to farm," she said. "It's a tough way to make a living, but it's a great way to live."
(Editor's Note: Copies of Kimball's book are available through on-line book retailers like Amazon and Simon & Schuster.)