Peace at Heart:
An Oregon Country Life

by Barbara Drake


Oregon S. U. Press, 1998. ISBN 0870714554.
Reviewed by Lina Tanner
Posted on 10/26/2002

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: Nature/Place/Environment

If you've ever taken a drive in the country and passed a small orderly farm or lovely vineyard and wondered what it would be like to live there, Barbara Drake's book will give you that experience. She and her husband kept their city jobs and moved to 20 acres in the country, which included a pasture, the beginnings of a small vineyard and a wild apple orchard overgrown with tangled blackberry vines.

Peace at Heart is a collection of essays written during the first ten years at Lilac Hill in western Oregon. With a great deal of energy, perseverance, patience and curiosity, Barbara shares her experiences and observations as well as newfound knowledge with us. She takes us with her as she spends an afternoon tasting and describing the wild apples she excitedly discovers behind a thicket of brambles. Beyond the sheep quietly grazing in the pasture, she tells of time and devotion tending the flock. We follow the making of a blanket from shearing to weaving. With a great regard for life, she confronts the reality of eating the extra lambs. From grape to wine, we see the vineyard. Wells and water, animals, plants, neighbors; all things of a country life are served up for us to sample. It is a visit with a friend who shares the joys and difficulties of living close to the land. She considers all things with respect and looks beyond to show us more. Peace at Heart is a book you will love the first time you read it and the next time and the next time...


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