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时间:2006-09-22 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:clian1   字体: [ ]

     In America many people have a romantic idea of life in the countryside. Many living in towns dream of starting up their own farm, of living off the land. Few get round to putting their dreams into practice. This is perhaps just as well, as the life of a farmer is far from easy, as Jim Doherty discovered when he set out to combine being a writer with running a farm. Nevertheless, as he explains, he has no regrets and remains1 enthusiastic about his decision to change his way of life.



Mr. Doherty Builds His Dream Life

Jim Doherty

1     There are two things I have always wanted to do -- write and live on a farm. Today I'm doing both. I am not in E. B. White's class as a writer or in my neighbors' league as a farmer, but I'm getting by. And after years of frustration2 with city and suburban3 living, my wife Sandy and I have finally found contentment here in the country.



2    It's a self-reliant sort of life. We grow nearly all of our fruits and vegetables. Our hens keep us in eggs, with several dozen left over to sell each week. Our bees provide us with honey, and we cut enough wood to just about make it through the heating season.

3    It's a satisfying life too. In the summer we canoe on the river, go picnicking in the woods and take long bicycle rides. In the winter we ski and skate. We get excited about sunsets. We love the smell of the earth warming and the sound of cattle lowing. We watch for hawks4 in the sky and deer in the cornfields.

4    But the good life can get pretty tough. Three months ago when it was 30 below, we spent two miserable5 days hauling firewood up the river on a sled. Three months from now, it will be 95 above and we will be cultivating corn, weeding strawberries and killing6 chickens. Recently, Sandy and I had to retile the back roof. Soon Jim, 16 and Emily, 13, the youngest of our four children, will help me make some long-overdue improvements on the outdoor toilet that supplements our indoor plumbing7 when we are working outside. Later this month, we'll spray the orchard8, paint the barn, plant the garden and clean the hen house before the new chicks arrive.

5    In between such chores, I manage to spend 50 to 60 hours a week at the typewriter or doing reporting for the freelance articles I sell to magazines and newspapers. Sandy, meanwhile, pursues her own demanding schedule. Besides the usual household routine, she oversees9 the garden and beehives, bakes bread, cans and freezes, drives the kids to their music lessons, practices with them, takes organ lessons on her own, does research and typing for me, writes an article herself now and then, tends the flower beds, stacks a little wood and delivers the eggs. There is, as the old saying goes, no rest for the wicked on a place like this -- and not much for the virtuous10 either.       在这些活计之间,我每周要抽空花五、六十个小时,不是打字撰文,就是为作为自由撰稿人投给报刊的文章进行采访。桑迪则有她自己繁忙的工作日程。除了日常的家务,她还照管菜园和蜂房,烘烤面包,将食品装罐、冷藏,开车送孩子学音乐,和他们一起练习,自己还要上风琴课,为我做些研究工作并打字,自己有时也写写文章,还要侍弄花圃,堆摞木柴、运送鸡蛋。正如老话说的那样,在这种情形之下,坏人不得闲――贤德之人也歇不了。

6    None of us will ever forget our first winter. We were buried under five feet of snow from December through March. While one storm after another blasted huge drifts up against the house and barn, we kept warm inside burning our own wood, eating our own apples and loving every minute of it.

7    When spring came, it brought two floods. First the river overflowed11, covering much of our land for weeks. Then the growing season began, swamping us under wave after wave of produce. Our freezer filled up with cherries, raspberries, strawberries, asparagus, peas, beans and corn. Then our canned-goods shelves and cupboards began to grow with preserves, tomato juice, grape juice, plums, jams and jellies. Eventually, the basement floor disappeared under piles of potatoes, squash and pumpkins12, and the barn began to fill with apples and pears. It was amazing.

8    The next year we grew even more food and managed to get through the winter on firewood that was mostly from our own trees and only 100 gallons of heating oil. At that point I began thinking seriously about quitting my job and starting to freelance. The timing13 was terrible. By then, Shawn and Amy, our oldest girls were attending expensive Ivy14 League schools and we had only a few thousand dollars in the bank. Yet we kept coming back to the same question: Will there ever be a better time? The answer, decidedly, was no, and so -- with my employer's blessings15 and half a year's pay in accumulated benefits in my pocket -- off I went.

9    There have been a few anxious moments since then, but on balance things have gone much better than we had any right to expect. For various stories of mine, I've crawled into black-bear dens16 for Sports Illustrated17, hitched18 up dogsled racing19 teams for Smithsonian magazine, checked out the Lake Champlain "monster" for Science Digest, and canoed through the Boundary Waters wilderness20 area of Minnesota for Destinations.

10    I'm not making anywhere near as much money as I did when I was employed full time, but now we don't need as much either. I generate enough income to handle our $600-a-month mortgage payments plus the usual expenses for a family like ours. That includes everything from music lessons and dental bills to car repairs and college costs. When it comes to insurance, we have a poor man's major-medical policy. We have to pay the first $500 of any medical fees for each member of the family. It picks up 80% of the costs beyond that. Although we are stuck with paying minor21 expenses, our premium22 is low -- only $560 a year -- and we are covered against catastrophe23. Aside from that and the policy on our two cars at $400 a year, we have no other insurance. But we are setting aside $2,000 a year in an IRA.

11    We've been able to make up the difference in income by cutting back without appreciably24 lowering our standard of living. We continue to dine out once or twice a month, but now we patronize local restaurants instead of more expensive places in the city. We still attend the opera and ballet in Milwaukee but only a few times a year. We eat less meat, drink cheaper wine and see fewer movies. Extravagant25 Christmases are a memory, and we combine vacations with story assignments...

12    I suspect not everyone who loves the country would be happy living the way we do. It takes a couple of special qualities. One is a tolerance26 for solitude27. Because we are so busy and on such a tight budget, we don't entertain much. During the growing season there is no time for socializing anyway. Jim and Emily are involved in school activities, but they too spend most of their time at home.

13    The other requirement is energy -- a lot of it. The way to make self-sufficiency work on a small scale is to resist the temptation to buy a tractor and other expensive laborsaving devices. Instead, you do the work yourself. The only machinery28 we own (not counting the lawn mower) is a little three-horsepower rotary29 cultivator and a 16-inch chain saw.

14    How much longer we'll have enough energy to stay on here is anybody's guess -- perhaps for quite a while, perhaps not. When the time comes, we'll leave with a feeling of sorrow but also with a sense of pride at what we've been able to accomplish. We should make a fair profit on the sale of the place, too. We've invested about $35,000 of our own money in it, and we could just about double that if we sold today. But this is not a good time to sell. Once economic conditions improve, however, demand for farms like ours should be strong again.

15    We didn't move here primarily to earn money though. We came because we wanted to improve the quality of our lives. When I watch Emily collecting eggs in the evening, fishing with Jim on the river or enjoying an old-fashioned picnic in the orchard with the entire family, I know we've found just what we were looking for.




1 remains 1kMzTy     
  • He ate the remains of food hungrily.他狼吞虎咽地吃剩余的食物。
  • The remains of the meal were fed to the dog.残羹剩饭喂狗了。
2 frustration 4hTxj     
  • He had to fight back tears of frustration.他不得不强忍住失意的泪水。
  • He beat his hands on the steering wheel in frustration.他沮丧地用手打了几下方向盘。
3 suburban Usywk     
  • Suburban shopping centers were springing up all over America. 效区的商业中心在美国如雨后春笋般地兴起。
  • There's a lot of good things about suburban living.郊区生活是有许多优点。
4 hawks c8b4f3ba2fd1208293962d95608dd1f1     
鹰( hawk的名词复数 ); 鹰派人物,主战派人物
  • Two hawks were hover ing overhead. 两只鹰在头顶盘旋。
  • Both hawks and doves have expanded their conditions for ending the war. 鹰派和鸽派都充分阐明了各自的停战条件。
5 miserable g18yk     
  • It was miserable of you to make fun of him.你取笑他,这是可耻的。
  • Her past life was miserable.她过去的生活很苦。
6 killing kpBziQ     
  • Investors are set to make a killing from the sell-off.投资者准备清仓以便大赚一笔。
  • Last week my brother made a killing on Wall Street.上个周我兄弟在华尔街赚了一大笔。
7 plumbing klaz0A     
  • She spent her life plumbing the mysteries of the human psyche. 她毕生探索人类心灵的奥秘。
  • They're going to have to put in new plumbing. 他们将需要安装新的水管。 来自《简明英汉词典》
8 orchard UJzxu     
  • My orchard is bearing well this year.今年我的果园果实累累。
  • Each bamboo house was surrounded by a thriving orchard.每座竹楼周围都是茂密的果园。
9 oversees 4607550c43b2b83434e5e72ac137def4     
v.监督,监视( oversee的第三人称单数 )
  • She oversees both the research and the manufacturing departments. 她既监督研究部门又监督生产部门。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The Department of Education oversees the federal programs dealing with education. 教育部监管处理教育的联邦程序。 来自互联网
10 virtuous upCyI     
  • She was such a virtuous woman that everybody respected her.她是个有道德的女性,人人都尊敬她。
  • My uncle is always proud of having a virtuous wife.叔叔一直为娶到一位贤德的妻子而骄傲。
11 overflowed 4cc5ae8d4154672c8a8539b5a1f1842f     
  • Plates overflowed with party food. 聚会上的食物碟满盘盈。
  • A great throng packed out the theater and overflowed into the corridors. 一大群人坐满剧院并且还有人涌到了走廊上。 来自《简明英汉词典》
12 pumpkins 09a64387fb624e33eb24dc6c908c2681     
n.南瓜( pumpkin的名词复数 );南瓜的果肉,南瓜囊
  • I like white gourds, but not pumpkins. 我喜欢吃冬瓜,但不喜欢吃南瓜。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Then they cut faces in the pumpkins and put lights inside. 然后在南瓜上刻出一张脸,并把瓜挖空。 来自英语晨读30分(高三)
13 timing rgUzGC     
  • The timing of the meeting is not convenient.会议的时间安排不合适。
  • The timing of our statement is very opportune.我们发表声明选择的时机很恰当。
14 ivy x31ys     
  • Her wedding bouquet consisted of roses and ivy.她的婚礼花篮包括玫瑰和长春藤。
  • The wall is covered all over with ivy.墙上爬满了常春藤。
15 blessings 52a399b218b9208cade790a26255db6b     
n.(上帝的)祝福( blessing的名词复数 );好事;福分;因祸得福
  • Afflictions are sometimes blessings in disguise. 塞翁失马,焉知非福。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • We don't rely on blessings from Heaven. 我们不靠老天保佑。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
16 dens 10262f677bcb72a856e3e1317093cf28     
n.牙齿,齿状部分;兽窝( den的名词复数 );窝点;休息室;书斋
  • Female bears tend to line their dens with leaves or grass. 母熊往往会在洞穴里垫些树叶或草。 来自辞典例句
  • In winter bears usually hibernate in their dens. 冬天熊通常在穴里冬眠。 来自辞典例句
17 illustrated 2a891807ad5907f0499171bb879a36aa     
adj. 有插图的,列举的 动词illustrate的过去式和过去分词
  • His lecture was illustrated with slides taken during the expedition. 他在讲演中使用了探险时拍摄到的幻灯片。
  • The manufacturing Methods: Will be illustrated in the next chapter. 制作方法将在下一章说明。
18 hitched fc65ed4d8ef2e272cfe190bf8919d2d2     
(免费)搭乘他人之车( hitch的过去式和过去分词 ); 搭便车; 攀上; 跃上
  • They hitched a ride in a truck. 他们搭乘了一辆路过的货车。
  • We hitched a ride in a truck yesterday. 我们昨天顺便搭乘了一辆卡车。
19 racing 1ksz3w     
  • I was watching the racing on television last night.昨晚我在电视上看赛马。
  • The two racing drivers fenced for a chance to gain the lead.两个赛车手伺机竞相领先。
20 wilderness SgrwS     
  • She drove the herd of cattle through the wilderness.她赶着牛群穿过荒野。
  • Education in the wilderness is not a matter of monetary means.荒凉地区的教育不是钱财问题。
21 minor e7fzR     
  • The young actor was given a minor part in the new play.年轻的男演员在这出新戏里被分派担任一个小角色。
  • I gave him a minor share of my wealth.我把小部分财产给了他。
22 premium EPSxX     
  • You have to pay a premium for express delivery.寄快递你得付额外费用。
  • Fresh water was at a premium after the reservoir was contaminated.在水库被污染之后,清水便因稀而贵了。
23 catastrophe WXHzr     
  • I owe it to you that I survived the catastrophe.亏得你我才大难不死。
  • This is a catastrophe beyond human control.这是一场人类无法控制的灾难。
24 appreciably hNKyx     
  • The index adds appreciably to the usefulness of the book. 索引明显地增加了这本书的实用价值。
  • Otherwise the daily mean is perturbed appreciably by the lunar constituents. 否则,日平均值就会明显地受到太阳分潮的干扰。
25 extravagant M7zya     
  • They tried to please him with fulsome compliments and extravagant gifts.他们想用溢美之词和奢华的礼品来取悦他。
  • He is extravagant in behaviour.他行为放肆。
26 tolerance Lnswz     
  • Tolerance is one of his strengths.宽容是他的一个优点。
  • Human beings have limited tolerance of noise.人类对噪音的忍耐力有限。
27 solitude xF9yw     
n. 孤独; 独居,荒僻之地,幽静的地方
  • People need a chance to reflect on spiritual matters in solitude. 人们需要独处的机会来反思精神上的事情。
  • They searched for a place where they could live in solitude. 他们寻找一个可以过隐居生活的地方。
28 machinery CAdxb     
  • Has the machinery been put up ready for the broadcast?广播器材安装完毕了吗?
  • Machinery ought to be well maintained all the time.机器应该随时注意维护。
29 rotary fXsxE     
  • The central unit is a rotary drum.核心设备是一个旋转的滚筒。
  • A rotary table helps to optimize the beam incidence angle.一张旋转的桌子有助于将光线影响之方式角最佳化。
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