Set in a little house on a prairie near Austin, Texas in 1977, the plot follows Walker, an over-educated slacker who moves onto a desolate farm under condition that he sharecrop marijuana.
The surface story is about Walker's relationships: his apprenticeship to the master grower Greg, and his interaction with his girlfriend Ruth as they struggle against poverty, drought, a plague of locusts, pot rustlers and police to bring in the cash crop.
This book is a gardener's journal; it is also a criminal's internal monologue. As a gardener's journal it lyrically depicts the growth of consciousness accompanying the pastoral life. The criminal's internal monologue humorously contrasts as we experience his states of increasing awareness and imagination on the path to attainment of country wisdom through developing a work ethic.