Rurally Screwed

30 Aug 2012

Please forgive me for leaving you dangling with a dozen Gooseberry Jam Doughnuts for far too long.  I was hoping praying the jammy delights might be special enough to linger on while we ventured off-farm for a spell, so thanks for hanging in there. I’ve missed you!

After much ado, the farmers and I were finally able to hatch a plan to trek off on our annual whirlwind Stateside tour. We spent three weeks visiting family and friends, three farms + a sugar bush, two cherry orchards, a cidery, one fish boil, one drive-in cinema, a state fair, the sandy beach, a friendly film editor, and basically all things Americana. I managed to keep up with my weekly column for Irish Country Living, but wanted to wait until we were homebound to write a proper blog post.

We are now back at the farm and I am experiencing my “re-entry syndrome” which is basically what I like to call the stealth combination of massive jetlag + a heady cold/flu.  The bad news is that for whatever reason, it never fails to strike after spending a few hot summer weeks in the USA (despite coming home to mostly sunny Irish weather this time), but the bonus is that it always ends up also being a major detoxification which I like to think makes up for being a complete glutton a somewhat overindulgent holiday.

In between popping copious amounts of cold tablets, slamming Berocca by the litre, and sleeping for long stretches, I decided to read a book that I had been dying to dig into ever since my book proposal was “politely passed on” by Berkely, the publishing house who was already releasing Rurally Screwed, My Life Off the Grid with the Cowboy I Love, by Jessie Knadler. Rurally Screwed is a tale of a woman who left her journalism career in NYC to marry a cowboy that she meets on assignment in Montana. I devoured the book over the course of two days, and particularly enjoyed her frankness and honesty on adapting to a new life outside of the city, which now included rearing chickens, bible study, a wood-fired stove for heating, and Wa-Wa-Walmart. I chuckled at the irony in her visit to Brooklyn years later to find that so many cityfolk had morphed into hipster-style countryfolk . She didn’t realize that “farming” had become foxy. This is likely because when you really are farming, it’s anything but. It’s not a cookbook, but a memoir (she also has a preserving book), still, reading about deer (venison) neck tacos and her take on balancing the right amount lemony goo to pastry for lemon bars will surely make your mouth water.

That’s it for now, I will be back soon with a special new recipe that I’ve been dreaming up for some time… involves a different take on a classic Irish cake + some farm fresh homemade ice cream, so please stay tuned.

Slan Abhaile,


Photos by Imen McDonnell

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19 Responses to “Rurally Screwed”

  1. Michele says:

    Hi Imen, if you haven’t read it, you may also enjoy The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball. Another cute story about a NYC girl who gave it up to help her man build a sustainable farm. I grew up near Lake Huron, but have lived all over the states since, mostly out west. Visited IE a few years ago .. so charming. Ain’t life a hoot. xox

  2. Jill says:

    I hope you continue trying to get your book proposal picked up — I would definitely buy any book you write! Ireland is way cooler than Montana, anyway (especially to those of us in non-rural U.S.)!

  3. Karista says:

    Although I’m sure this book is fabulous, and of course, I’ll have to read it…. but I would love to read your story in a book someday. I think Berkeley needs to re-think passing up your proposal. 🙂

  4. Welcome back! So glad to hear you had a nice visit “home”. Travelling does seem to wear down the immune system. Or the body reacts to the abrupt end of vacation by having a hysterical fit. I’m not sure which it is yet. Hope you feel better soon!

  5. Maureen K says:

    So glad you’re back….Personally, I’ve had my 3 months back in North America and cannot wait to get back to my “idyllic” country life in rural Crete (13 days and counting!!); like you, I am prepared for my own dependable 4-day ‘re-entry syndrome’ of jet lag+sinus+cold+migrraine attack just as I get there (Seems so common….is it a “girl” thing?). Great book suggestion – just downloaded from Kindle.

  6. Patty Barnett says:

    So glad you are back! Missed your posts.

  7. Lynne says:

    IMEN !
    I have missed you – and I jumped up with excitement to see your blog post in my email inbox ! What a treat !!!!!
    Welcome back, my friend.
    So happy to see your gorgeous photos and hear your voice across the Internet airwaves.
    Big hugs!!
    Lynne xx

  8. Krista says:

    I would love to read that book. 🙂 I can’t help but grin when people say I live such an idyllic life on the farm. 🙂 Riiiiiight. 🙂 I love it and wouldn’t trade it, but idyllic it is not. So glad you were able to get away!! I’m hoping to do that in a few weeks, even if it’s just for a couple of days camping at the beach. I need a break. 🙂

  9. I hope you will get better soon. It’s hard to back to reality after holidays even without cold.

  10. Between that title and those red pumps, I have to read that book! Sounds like you enjoyed your time abroad just as you should have: like a lot of other things in the States … in excess. 😉 I look forward to the Irish cake and ice cream.

  11. I know ‘re-entry syndrome’ well! Welcome back, can;t wait to hear about your trip. Is that a Cape Cod beach?

    • imen says:

      Ha! The beach is Point Beach, WI on Lake Michigan (they call it the Cape Cod of Midwest =))Thanks for your comment Sue xx

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