The farm and the bookcase –Judith lives on Vashon island in Washington State. Her house might sound familiar to you: this is indeed exactly where the adventures of the author Betty MacDonald, told in her bestselling novel The Egg and I, took place decades ago. At first sight, we feel that nothing has changed but it is because Judith takes great care of the place. “I came to the farm in 1970 after a bad marriage, I left a big beautiful house and when I arrived here every roof leaked, the pipes froze, the place was a mess, so I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, cleaned, planted, worked, had a beautiful daughter hit on her bicycle and still kept planting and fixing up the farm to have a nice place to live.” And after more than 40 plus years of being here, she has had guests and visitors from all over the world who come here to see where Betty MacDonald wrote and lived. And if Judith always try to has something for them to learn more about Betty MacDonald, she has managed to make her very own home of this almost mythical place.

Judith’s books are placed in the four living spaces that she has here at the farm. There are on the shelves, mainly classified according to their topic – that said everything about Judith’s interests – “landscaping, gardens design, decoration subjects, history, classics, Shakespeare, Dickens, South polar explorations, native Americans. » If Judith is, according to her words, not “too up tight” about the organization of the books she nevertheless likes to keep them clean and organized: “I think books have a personality that deserves respect.”

Readings – Judith reads because she wants to learn. And she wants to learn a lot: “I was married young and did not have the opportunity to go to college. But I decided years ago to read on any subject that I am interested in. There are lessons to be learned by studying history, the successes and failures of history’s greatest thinkers, leaders, innovators, those who challenged conventional thinking and entrenched power structures to change their world”. She continues explaining why she never reads novels: “I like factual informative reads. Gives me something to think about as I do my life’s work!” And when she is interested in a subject (“say South polar exploration” for instance) she reads all the books she can find about it to get a better perspective. And she whispers: “Oh, the adventure of a good read!”

Judith likes to read everywhere. “I read in the car with a flashlight if needed, on the ferry boats, waiting in line, I read in the bathtub, on the deck in the sunshine and on the lawn swing with a kitty in the summer. At the beach too.”   Being able to read is a sign of luxury for Judith and that’s certainly one of the reasons, she enjoys it that much. “We have been a hard working immigrant family, my grandmother, born in 1908, came to America, had 8 children, my mother was the 8th, and I don’t think I ever saw either of them sitting down and reading a book. They worked all the time. So I have told myself, if I ever had the time, I would repose and read.”


A dinner at the farm – If she could invite three personalities for dinner, Judith would send invitation to Eleonor Roosevelt, Maya Angelou and Ernest Shackleton. “The diner would start with farm figs, honey, and fresh raspberries, and goat cheese. Served with sparkling wine. Then a butter lettuce salad, with pecans, blue cheese, and a raspberry vinegar dressing.  Salmon with capers and asparagus. Desert would be tiramisu cake with strong coffee and tea. And of course you are invited!”