I am happy to share a recent interview with author and photo-videographer Dina Rudick!
I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to speak with Dina and to be able to glean some insight about who she is as an individual and what inspired her to write her first book, Barnyard Kids - A Family Guide for Raising Animals. Given my lifestyle and interests, the book caught my eye. When I got Dina's book in my hands, I was immediately drawn in by the captivating photography and great content.
After speaking with Dina, learning about her unique story and a little bit about her values, purpose and drive, it was quite apparent that she is a pretty remarkable individual - one that I hope to have the opportunity to meet in person some day.
I hope you enjoy the interview!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself ?
I grew up in the countryside of Northeast Ohio. During my childhood I grew up around all sorts of animals including goats, chickens, geese and horses.
My life then transitioned from living in a rural area to life in the city. I have a career as photojournalist. I currently work for the Boston Globe. I live with my husband Erik, who is also a photojournalist and our 2 1/2 year old son, Wendell, who we named after Wendell Berry - who inspired us as a farmer, writer and philosopher.
After living the big city life, my husband and I were drawn to our spiritual roots - and actual roots - and our dream of running an organic farm. My husband attended a year at The Farm School - a specific farm that is run by adult student farmers. There he was taught everything, ranging from organic vegetable farming to raising farm animals. From that experience we developed our enterprise - Plough and Star Farm - a CSA in Massachusetts.
My interests? I am longingly interested in yoga. I just lack the time to commit to my practice the way I could pre-baby and pre-farm! I like walks in the woods and to be outside. I like to cook, especially cooking for people that I love. I also enjoy down time with family.
What inspired you to write Barnyard Kids?
My husband and I shared a lot of writing and imagery on our blog ploughandstarsproject.com. We wrote about what is is like to be city-folk photographers who would like to be farmers. The publishers at Quarry Books reached out to us to write a book. At first I said no, but they kept asking and I pitched this book as they were looking for great instructional books that were intelligent for older kids.
Can you tell us about the process of writing the book?
All of the photos in the book come from my husband's year at The Farm School. When organizing the book I first decided on the structure of the book, then which animals I was going to include, and then I how it would be best to learn the information. I spent a lot of time researching each animal in succession (chickens, pigs, sheep & goats, cows, horses and rabbits). I wrote the book not from the perspective of an expert, but that of a researcher and compiler - not just giving my opinion, but offering practical, research grounded information - and from that the structure of each chapter would flow.
Out of the farm animals that are highlighted in your book, do you have a favorite? Why?
Oh a favorite? It is hard to choose. First I would pick chickens, because they are incredibly useful, easy and fun -and sometimes hilarious. After chickens I would say sheep. I love whitnessing the process of lambs being born, especially the nuzzle ewes get aroung the time of pregnancy. Then there are pigs. I respect pigs. They are sturdy cylinders of muscle. Pigs are smart and cunning, they have unique personalities, but are easy to underestimate. Horses are great, but they are a big investment - and goats, goats are like big dogs. I guess I really do not have a favorite, but I do know I would really like to get my own flock of sheep.
One of the things that I have learned is that raising animals is a lot like raising kids. There is always more than one answer to a given situation and a multitude of strategies. When writing the book I had to be careful of what to say. I needed to be sensitive, aware and right - but not exclusionary.
Thank you so much Dina for your conversation!
Now for more fun!
To enter my giveaway to win your very own copy of Barnyard Kids - A Family Guide for Raising Animals, leave a comment below.
Comments will close by 9am CST on Saturday, December 26th.
Winners will be chosen by Random Number Generator and announced in this post shortly after.
comments closed, the winner is:
photo credits in this post: image 1 & 2 Juliette Lynch/http://juliettehalsey.com/, photo 3, 4, 5 & 6 Dina Rudick and Erik Jacobs
Congratulations and thanks for participating!