The Book


Birth, Death, and a Tractor: Conntecting an old farm to a new family.

By Kelly Payson-Roopchand

What happens when the last son leaves the farm, and the farmer grows old?  Do the stories of six generations whisper into silence, as dust darkens the windows of the empty barn? Is it too late to remember and revive?

Or can a young boy, running in yellow boots through abandoned fields, bring new life back to the farm? There is much to explore, and time to wonder. There is also, for a short while, a gentle old man, atop a faded John Deere tractor, and the possibility of connection…

An unforgettable true story of history and hope on 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.

Little boy and older man on an old green john deer tractor with a Maine license plate


2015 Indies Winner, Foreword Review

Read their review here

2016 Maine Literary Awards Finalist


“… eloquently captures the profound relationship between people and the natural world.” 

             – Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle and Last Child in the Woods

“Skillfully crafted, poignant, and lovely. This is a walking tour like you’ve never experienced – the living history of a classic New England farm, and its enduring importance for our shared, sustainable future.”

        – Forrest Pritchard, author of Gaining Ground and Growing Tomorrow

“… intimate and meticulously researched. Birth, death, and even tractors can be frightening; yet on this small farm in Somerville, Maine, they can be magnificent as well.”

        -John Bunker, agricultural historian and author of Not Far From the Tree

“A  moving and hopeful tale of what farming has been and can become.”

        -John Piotti, President of Maine Farmland Trust and author of From the Land: Maine Farms at Work


See What's Happening At The Farm!

Subscribe to our farm newsletter to receive the latest stories, info & updates.

Thank you for supporting Pumpkin Vine Family Farm and subscribing to our newsletter!