Paper pub. date
January 1998
ISBN 9780870714559 (paperback)
6 x 9 inches, 192 pages.

Peace at Heart

An Oregon Country Life

Barbara Drake
  • Finalist for the Oregon Book Award, 1998

Many dream of leaving the city for a new life in the country. Few follow that dream. In 1987, Barbara Drake and her husband sold their home in Portland and moved to a farm in western Oregon's Yamhill Valley. Home was now a modest white house, an old red barn, and a small vineyard. In Peace at Heart, Barbara Drake reflects on ten years of country living and on the happiness that this rural landscape has brought her.

Weather, seasons, plants, and especially animals figure prominently in these stories. The constant company of animals-domestic and wild-on the farm inspires what Drake calls "the sacramental character of country life." In essays on birthing lambs, keeping bees, raising geese, and making wine, Drake combines gentle humor, practical advice, and deep respect for the work and the land. This rich gathering of observations and meditations-on everything from border collies and Oregon mud to picking wild apples-captures the ordinary joys and everyday blessings of country life.

About the author

Barbara Drake was born in Kansas in 1939, moved to Oregon in 1941, grew up in Coos Bay on the Oregon Coast, and earned BA and MFA degrees from the University of Oregon. After teaching at Michigan State University, she returned to Oregon in 1983 to develop the new creative writing major at Linfield College, where she taught until retiring as Professor Emerita in 2007. Drake has published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, and a widely used college textbook, Writing Poetry. Her book Peace at Heart: An Oregon Country Life was an Oregon Book Award finalist in 1999.

Read more about this author




Hiving the Swarm

Fancy's Lamb


Wild Apples

The Ram

Eating Meat

The Gopher and the Gopher Snake


The Goose Chronicles



Going to the Source




The Fat-Tail Sheep


How Smart are Sheep?


Deer Creek Wet Prairie

Peace at Heart


"The sheep. The light. The good deep smells of oily wool, crushed apples and drying grass. The dogs snuffling the hedge where they flushed a pheasant earlier today. The chickens settling on their roost in the henhouse. An owl drops out of the woods and soars across the pasture. The cats trill their greetings and twine around the pasture fence posts. The warm light beckons from the barn on the hill. Being in it, with it. This is happiness. There is beauty everywhere and for the moment I am part of it."

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