Natalie Kinsey-Warnock

her children’s books are often based on her personal experiences of growing up in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom


My father was a happy man, generally speaking. People commented on his laugh and smile. But lately he’d seemed worried and I suspected there was money trouble. I’d seen him and Mama poring over the account books, talking in hushed whispers, and Father had had meetings with the bank president. I guess I hadn’t let it worry me too much (which was a wonder since Mama calls me a worry-wart) because that’s the way farming is. There’s always more money going out: paying for seed and fertilizer and grain and new machinery or parts for old machinery you’re trying to nurse along, than there is money coming in. And just when you think there might be a profit this year, some disaster happens, like too much rain, or not enough rain, or gale winds blow your barn roof off, or lightning kills some of your cows, and you’re in debt again. Father tells a joke about a farmer who wins a million dollars. Folks ask him what he’s gonna do with it and the farmer says, “Well, I guess I’ll just keep farming till it’s all gone,” and I’d say that just about sums up farming, economically speaking.

But people don’t go into farming for the money. It’s other things that hold us close to the land: growing and harvesting our own food that we’ve sweated over and worried about, feeling the rhythms of the seasons in our blood, when it’s time to plant, taking care of land that our parents and grandparents lived on and worked and handed down to us to care for till we pass it on.

from As Long As There Are Mountains by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock (Puffin Books)