I am not Caesar./I have simply ordered a box of maniacs. Sylvia Plath wrote it first in her poem “Arrival of the Bee Box.” Novella Carpenter channels the sentiment in her new book, “Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer.”
Andrew and I just got back from a lecture at the Philadelphia Free Library featuring the latter. I’m on a high- flooded with pressing thoughts. Question 1. How do we get a Nigerian goat into Andrew’s yard undetected? Question 2. Is it ok if I start referring to Novella as “my new best friend”? Because she is. I loved her talk. She managed to be both off color and reassuringly perceptive. Not exactly what one might expect from an urban farmer from California. There was no discussion of meditative labyrinths crafted out of wheat or herb spirals. No, these things were refreshingly absent and instead she spoke candidly about feeding dumplings from Chinatown dumpsters to her pigs in preparation of turning them into prosciutto. She isn’t without a heart, however. (Few who raise their own meat are.) It’s just that her ethics wed nicely with her humor. This is indeed a rare trait. You should check out her book. I’ve only read excerpts but I’m already entirely charmed.