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When Bill Gruber left Philadelphia for graduate school in Idaho, he and his wife decided to experience true rural living. His longing for the solitude and natural beauty that Thoreau found on Walden Pond led him to buy an abandoned log cabin and its surrounding forty acres in Alder Creek, a town considered small even by Idaho standards. But farm living was far from the bucolic wonderland he expected: he now had to rise with the sun to finish strenuous chores, cope with the lack of modern conveniences, and shed his urban pretensions to become a real local. Despite the initial hardships, he came to realize that reality was far better than his wistful fantasies. Instead of solitude, he found a warm, welcoming community; instead of rural stolidity, he found intelligence and wisdom; instead of relaxation, he found satisfaction in working the land. What began as a two-year experiment became a seven-year love affair with a town he'll always consider home.

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