Book Review: Living On An Acre, A Practical Guide to the Self-Reliant Life
Ever since I left the city and crept my way back into my childhood farm house, I have been slowly adjusting to a simpler lifestyle. Living On An Acre has been a steady and dependable guide to covering the bases of both the practicalities and the possibilities of living a more sustainable dream.
You don’t have to have an entire acre to implement the plans in this very straight-forward manual to living the rural life. Designed for those individuals looking to start a part-time farm, buying a second home in the country, or just those curious enough to read this 330+ page text, it is an enlightening reading for anyone. DIY’ers and the independent will find enough potential projects for a lifetime of new challenges and productive work.
There are too many topics covered in this book to even begin to list them all. My favorite sections include:
- How to select a community
- Planning for a home
- Proper disposal of property
And of course, the fun stuff! Berries, herbs, starting a kennel, beekeeping, Christmas trees, keeping hens, dairy cows, dude ranches, and earthworms in a washtub are ALL covered in brief but adequate detail.
If you want to delve very deeply into any one of the touched-upon topics for a profitable business or a large-scale operation, I would suggest getting additional material. If you are wanting to simply explore the topic to see if it is right for you, however, this book may have everything you need.
This book pulls no punches. This classic US Department of Agriculture handbook won’t coddle you into believing that anyone is cut out for farm life. The pros and cons of switching to a rural mode are weighed heavily at the beginning of the book. Many of the topical chapters begin with a list of equipment and land needs, as well as the expected demands of undergoing a new operation on the farm. Christine Woodside (the editor) lends her expertise to the book, giving it a human side that keeps it from having too much of a “textbook” feel.
If you’re looking for a no-nonsense primer that discusses the dollar and cents of sustainable living, this might be a good read to add to your collection. Living rural is hard work, and this book makes no promises that it will be the dream lifestyle you’ve always imagined. But if your response to impending economic instability and the desire for simple living has you considering an exodus to the country, I’d recommend Living on An Acre to help you with your decision.
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