The Bucolic Plague

How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir

Kilmer-Purcell, Josh

Book - 2010
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Bucolic Plague
What happens when two New Yorkers (one an ex-drag queen) do the unthinkable: start over, have a herd of kids, and get a little dirty? Find out in this riotous and moving true tale of goats, mud, and a centuries-old mansion in rustic upstate New York--the new memoir by Josh Kilmer-Purcell, author of the New York Times bestseller I Am Not Myself These Days. A happy series of accidents and a doughnut-laden escape upstate take Josh and his partner, Brent, to the doorstep of the magnificent (and fabulously for sale) Beekman Mansion. One hour and one tour later, they have begun their transformation from uptight urbanites into the two-hundred-year-old-mansion-owning Beekman Boys. Suddenly, Josh--a full-time New Yorker with a successful advertising career--and Brent are weekend farmers, surrounded by nature's bounty and an eclectic cast: roosters who double as a wedding cover band; Bubby, the bionic cat; and a herd of eighty-eight goats, courtesy of their new caretaker, Farmer John. And soon, a fledgling business, born of a gift of handmade goat-milk soap, blossoms into a brand, Beekman 1802. The Bucolic Plague is tart and sweet, touching and laugh out loud funny, a story about approaching middle age, being in a long-term relationship, realizing the city no longer feeds you in the same way it used to, and finding new depths of love and commitment wherever you live.

Publisher: New York : Harper, 2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 006133698X
Branch Call Number: Non-F 818 Kil


From Library Staff

Love abounds in this memoir of life in the city and the country.

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Jul 02, 2014
  • ownedbydoxies rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Josh and Brent are such a unique, adventuresome and humorous couple and this narrative about the start of their lives as up-scale farmers is inventive, funny and sincere. Check out their web-page of farm-based homemade products.

Jan 15, 2014
  • bibliotechnocrat rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

This humorous and engaging memoir follows two gay Manhattanites who buy a farm / mansion in upstate New York, and restyle their lives as gentleman farmers. It's a light souffle that will leave you smiling.

Nov 04, 2013
  • BorrowingBabe rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I loved this book and really felt the plight of these gentlemen. I laughed a lot and felt the heart break too. A very entertaining read.

Dec 15, 2012
  • jamiemeyers rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Great book! I laughed a lot.

Aug 08, 2012
  • ranwin33 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Good story, but a little too much on the relationship stuff and too little on the farming stuff.

The book came before the TV show. For those who are fans of the show, the book is worth a read. Especially when you realize things didn't quite happen on the show the way they are played out, or even in the same order.

If you like this book, Hit by a Farm by Catherine Friend is probably a better written book about newby, gay farmers. More about farming and less about relationship drama, although some of that as well.

Jan 21, 2011
  • m2 rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Two gay men from NYC with amazing advertising careers buy an old mansion & farm in NY State, start goat farming, lose their jobs to the recession and try like mad to make a go of it. The book grew out of the docudrama series called The Fabulous Beekman Boys on planet green tv. Also they sell goat milk soap at They let you know that you, too, are part of their sceme to keep the farm running.

Very flip and yet very pained -- it is hard to make a relationship work under any circumstances and even harder when cultivating the public eye so asiduously.

A bit less about organic than I'd like -- but I enjoyed the story. If you adore Martha Stewart, you've gotta read this...


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Mar 21, 2011
  • Milan-Berlin Reads rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

"Baby goats, diarrhea, and Martha Stewart. Former drag queen turned goat farmer Josh Kilmer-Purcell begins his latest book, The Bucolic Plague, with a hilarious vignette involving all three. Clearly, the man has an interesting story to tell."

- Wisconsin State Journal


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