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Author on hand for book release party

At Solstice in Bingen

Waucoma Bookstore and Solstice Woodfire Cafe are hosting an author reading and book release party for Get Your Pitchfork On! on Tuesday, May 15, at Solstice Wood Fire Cafe in Bingen.

The book reading starts at 6:30 p.m., and Solstice is offering all you can eat pizza for $10 (doors open at 5). Author Kristy Athens will be discussing her new book Get Your Pitchfork On!: The Real Dirt on Country Living.

For hard-working office workers Kristy Athens and husband Michael, farming was a romantic dream. After purchasing farm land in Oregon's beautiful Columbia Gorge, Athens and hubby were surprised to learn that the realities of farming were challenging and unexpected. Get Your Pitchfork On! provides the hard-learned nuts-and-bolts of rural living from city folk who were initially out of their depth. Practical and often hilarious, Get Your Pitchfork On! reads like a twenty-first century Egg and I.

Get Your Pitchfork On! gives urban professionals the practical tools they need to realize their dream, with basics of home, farm, and hearth. It also enters territory that other books avoid--straightforward advice about the social aspects of country living, from health care to schools to small-town politics. Athens doesn't shy away from controversial subjects, such as having guns and hiring undocumented migrant workers. An important difference between "Get Your Pitchfork On!" and other farm/country books is that the author's initial country experiment failed. Ravaged by the elements, the economy, and the social structure of their rural area, Athens and husband sold their farm and retreated to Portland, Ore., in 2009.

This gave Athens the freedom to write honestly about her extraordinary experience. Having learned from mistakes, both Athens and her husband are currently saving up to buy another farm, and this time to live a practical dream rather than an uninformed nightmare.

Athens and her husband Mike lived on seven acres near Husum from 2003 to 2009; during that time, she served on the Hood River Cultural Trust board, edited the now-defunct Columbia Gorge Magazine, and worked as community relations coordinator for Hospice of the Gorge, now part of Providence Hood River.

Athens' nonfiction and short stories have been published in a number of magazines, newspapers, and literary journals, most recently "High Desert Journal," "Barely South Review," and the anthology "Mamas and Papas."

In 2010, she was a writer-in-residence for the Eastern Oregon Writer-in-Residence program and Soapstone. This is her first book.


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