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Although it isn’t the whole story, love is part of it... An authentic, satisfying story, set in the rural fringes of Sonoma County, with garden wisdom and some very good recipes woven into a tale of a life reconstructed through hard work, friendships and a strong desire to make sense of the world. With her heart broken and world view shattered, big-city refugee Sara immerses herself in learning how to grow her own food in rural Sonoma County, California. A grumpy reclusive neighbor understands sustainability and his garden proves inspirational, as does the work of Renny, a friendly gardener from a community garden. Best friend Jen, left behind in Chicago, is an emotional anchor as Sara’s new life slowly expands to include a young financial planner who shares Sara’s love of good food, and a flamboyant neighbor who helps Sara find catering jobs. Buying a flock of chickens on craig’s list leads her into a healing relationship with an older man. Taking her locovore beliefs too far results in an arrest for poaching. In the aftermath she strives to understand who she has become and how she wants to live her life. That includes deciding just how far to let Matt, the Department of Fish and Game officer who triggered her arrest, into her life... and her heart.
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Heidi Freestone is a landscape gardener in Sonoma County, California. Her love of books that tell a great story while sharing useful knowledge prompted the inclusion of the real garden knowledge and recipes woven into Growing Home.Review:
Heidi Freestone has written the most amazing book following the life of a young woman devastated by divorce who establishes a new life right here in Healdsburg on a piece of land acquired through a lawsuit settlement. What makes it amazing is not so much the tale of how this woman grows and changes – which is good – but because the whole book is filled with useful information on gardening and cooking – right down to the ingredients and instructions for creating meals out of your garden.
Sara was a young lawyer in Chicago, part of a firm shared with her husband of 10 years. Like many couples in business together, she does one job, he does another, so she doesn’t see it coming when he transfers the assets of the business into his name, then takes off with another woman. When the light shines on his transactions, the only remaining asset is a house and land in Healdsburg, California seized from a pot growing operation, then abandoned. She packs up all her belongings and hauls them cross-country to start a new life.
When the U-Haul truck drives away her first efforts are literally cutting back blackberries to open windows and doors, washing walls and floors to find cleanliness, then setting up home in a very old house desperately in need of repair. For some of us readers, this is fantasyland – for others the mere thought would make them close the book. But by this time the reader has met Sara enough to rather like her, admire her courage and sympathize with her heartbreak.
I don’t need to tell Sara’s tale of re-finding herself, the people she meets with whom she shares life and learning, that’s for you to read. I want to encourage anyone who is fascinated with homesteading, cooking out of a garden, raising chickens, sheep and rabbits for meat, etc. to read this book to learn.
At one point Sara talks to herself about being obsessed with research and I think to myself – that’s Heidi, the author. The research she has done to accomplish sharing knowledge is astounding. But what amazes me is that she imparts this information in a way that doesn’t feel textbook, doesn’t feel like a lecture – it blends in with the tale seamlessly...its part of the story. You empathize with Sara, grow with her, and learn with her all at the same time. I admire Heidi for being able to entertain and inform at the same time.
Growing Home by Heidi Freestone is available at Sonoma County Libraries to borrow, and online at Amazon and CreateSpace.
-by Vesta Copestakes The Sonoma County Gazette: Community News Magazine
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Book Description CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M149271514X