Birth, Death, and a Tractor

Connecting An Old Farm To a New Family


Once there were no stone walls. For the fiercely idealistic Yankee homesteader, a small family farm was worth fighting for, and the rocky soil yielded far more than walls. Cleared and plowed, it fed a family and provided a living. Oxen gave way to horses, horses to tractors, and still the farm persisted and the family persevered, each generation overcoming the challenges of their day. Two hundred years later, the farm, ever generous in its rewards, has not changed; but society has shifted, forgetting its connection to the land that nourishes us. It is time we remembered. Birth, Death and a Tractor is the story of a small family farm in Somerville, Maine, from its settling in the early 1800s to its perilous transfer to a new farm family in 2008. Chronicling the history of seven generations, it is a reminder of the role small farms have played in our national and family histories, and a challenge to find innovative ways to re-connect our communities to this rich but threatened resource.
  • Down East Books; June 2015
  • ISBN 9781608934126
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure EPUB format
  • Title: Birth, Death, and a Tractor
  • Author: Kelly Payson-Roopchand
  • Imprint: Down East Books

About The Author

As a farmer as well as a doctor of agricultural education, Kelly Payson-Roopchand is both personally and professionally qualified to tell this story. For her Fulbright Fellowship, she conducted field research on small farms in Trinidad and she and her family own and work the small Somerville, Maine, farm at the heart of this book.