farming http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/6436/all en-US Going Off the Grid Is a Lot Harder Than You Think http://www.wisebread.com/going-off-the-grid-is-a-lot-harder-than-you-think <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/going-off-the-grid-is-a-lot-harder-than-you-think" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_farm_carrots_519737980.jpg" alt="Woman learning going off the grid is hard" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The term &quot;off the grid&quot; has taken on an expanded meaning of late. It used to be used in a literal fashion, to refer to disconnection from the grids supplying power, gas, water, and telephone services. Lately it's come to mean something broader: disconnecting from what whatever parts of &quot;the system&quot; seem objectionable to you.</p> <p>Some people want to disconnect from the financial system. Some people want to disconnect from the surveillance state. Some people want to disconnect from the globalized economy or industrial agriculture or consumerism. Any of these choices have both costs and benefits.</p> <p>Take a look at some of your options.</p> <h2>Off the Grid on the Low-Tech Path</h2> <p>To go fully off the grid is to become self-sufficient &mdash; to produce all the things you need for daily living. This is only sort-of possible. That is, the technology to produce everything you need to live is very low-tech indeed &mdash; pretty much everybody lived that way for the past 100,000 years &mdash; but there are two problems, one of which is insurmountable.</p> <h3>The Surmountable Problem: It's a Hard Way to Live</h3> <p>There are two historical routes along the low-tech path. The more recent is subsistence farmer.</p> <p>You can't just decide &quot;I'm going to be a subsistence farmer&quot; and expect to succeed at it. It takes capital (in the form of land and tools). It takes skills (that your grandfather may have had, but that you probably don't). And if you can acquire both of those things, it then takes long hours of year-round backbreaking work to eke out a meager existence.</p> <p>You can live at a much higher standard of living if you work for money (whether at a job or at your own small business) and then use that money to buy the things you need. Even if you don't make much money at all &mdash; part-time work at minimum wage, or whatever you can make as a freelancer at this or that &mdash; you're still going to be able to live as well as a subsistence farmer.</p> <p>Oh, the subsistence farmer will get better food. It doesn't get any fresher, more local, free-range, or organic than the stuff you grow yourself. The subsistence farmer also gets the huge satisfaction that comes from supplying your own needs with your own two hands. But if you really want to produce everything yourself, you're going to have to do without a lot.</p> <p>You have to make a lot of choices about how pure you want to be. Each thing you want to learn how to make yourself &mdash; nails, let's say &mdash; means another big investment in tools (forge, anvil) and skills, and another huge amount of work that you have to do to produce enough nails for a project. And each thing you decide not to make for yourself &mdash; cellphones, let's say &mdash; draws you into the money economy, meaning that you need to produce a surplus, so you have something to sell beyond what you need to live on.</p> <p>Although it would have been a lot easier in your grandfather's time (his parents had and could teach many of the skills that you're going to have to learn from YouTube videos), it's probably easier now than it was in the 1960s, when a lot of hippie types gave subsistence farming a serious try. At least you've got the YouTube videos.</p> <p>There is a lot of stuff out there to help, if you're serious about giving something like this a try. You might start with my review of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-self-sufficient-life-and-how-to-live-it">The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It</a> here on Wise Bread from a few years ago.</p> <p>Just for completeness, I should mention the even older low-tech path: The lifestyle of the hunter-gatherer.</p> <p>As a practical option, this one probably doesn't even exist. Virtually all the land that is suitable to support hunter-gatherers is more valuable for some other use, and so it has been taken for that use. (Hunter-gatherers couldn't win fights with farmers even before firearms were invented.)</p> <p>I suppose a wealthy person could buy a hunting preserve on a tract of land big enough to provide enough fish, game, and plants to support himself. If he did his hunting with primitive weapons and processed the carcasses with primitive tools (and kept to himself), he could probably get away with violating the rules on hunting seasons, fishing licenses, and the like. But it would just be a fantasy of living as a hunter-gatherer. As a landowner, he'd still be on the grid. (As a rich person, he'd no doubt be on the grid in all sorts of ways.)</p> <p>Having said all that, hunting and gathering are both useful as ways to improve whatever lifestyle choice you end up with. Anything you can take from the wild is something that you neither need to grow nor buy. I talk about that in my post <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/foraging-not-insane-useless-or-impossible">Foraging: Not Insane, Useless, or Impossible</a> and Andrea Karim has posts looking at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hunt-fish-money-food">hunting and fishing for food</a> and at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-food-in-your-yard-edible-weeds">gathering edible weeds</a>. (Of course those barely scratch the surface of what hunting and gathering can do to supplement your diet in modern times.)</p> <h3>The Insurmountable Problem: You're Still on the Grid</h3> <p>A farmer needs to own land, and all kinds of grid attachments come along with that. You have to pay your property taxes, so you have to earn some money, so you're probably going to have to file an income tax return as well. If you need to earn money you're probably going to have to be able to market your products, so you need a truck, which means even more money, and even more grid attachments (license, plates, safety inspections, dependence on foreign oil).</p> <p>There are other ways you can't get off the grid. The state is going to check and make sure your kids are getting a proper education. You can teach them yourself, but you need to be on-the-grid enough to do the paperwork. You need to have health insurance even if you don't want to avail yourself of modern medical care. Zoning regulations will affect how you can use your land. Federal marketing orders and agreements affect what crops you can grow, and the EPA regulates what you can do with wetlands on your property.</p> <p>Because of these issues (and a hundred more like them), I've become enamored of late by the possibility of a different sort of path to off-the-grid living.</p> <h2>Off the Grid on the High-Tech Path</h2> <p>If you accept the fact that there simply is no way to live completely off the grid &mdash; if you abandon the purity aspect of the notion &mdash; another option opens up: You can go off the grid <em>a la carte</em>, picking and choosing where connecting to the grid is worth the cost, and where disconnecting is the bigger win.</p> <p>The question you need to ask is &quot;<em>Why</em> do you want to live off the grid?&quot; If you understand the answer to that question, you can decide where to put your effort.</p> <h3>The Satisfaction of Providing for Your Own Needs</h3> <p>If this is what moves you, you can start right away. Think about what you need and start producing it.</p> <p>Food? An intensively worked suburban plot can provide a large fraction of all the food a family needs, but you can start with just a garden. If you can have chickens where you live, you can easily be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/real-eggs">self-sufficient in eggs</a>. You can certainly raise a few rabbits and substantially augment your household meat supply.</p> <p>Clothing? Learn to sew. Learn to knit. Learn to weave. Learn to spin.</p> <p>Shelter? Look into the &quot;tiny house&quot; movement. (There are several <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-tiny-house-living-actually-save-you-money">tiny house articles</a> on Wise Bread.)</p> <p>Producing your own stuff is only sometimes cheaper than buying it, but stuff you produce yourself can also be better than what you can buy (once you get good at producing it).</p> <h3>The Safety and Security of Providing for Your Own Needs</h3> <p>One downside of &quot;the grid&quot; is that you're so terribly dependent on it. If the power goes out, you're sitting in the dark. If a backhoe takes out the wrong cable, you've got no landline (or no Internet, or no cable). If the water company starts piping in water that's contaminated with lead, you're drinking from bottles until they clean the system.</p> <p>You can replace most of these things in a grid-free fashion, although it often takes capital.</p> <p>You can put solar panels on your roof and produce your own electricity. If you live out in the country, you can drill your own well and pump up your own water. You can even set up a biodigester and produce your own methane gas (although it might be simpler to harvest the occasional tree and burn wood rather than gas).</p> <p>There's really no way to go grid-free for telephone and Internet, because the connection is the essence of the thing. But if you wanted to do it, the technical chops required to set up your own local network &mdash; one that covered your home or your neighborhood (or your walled compound) &mdash; is not beyond the capability of an ordinary person. Throw in some access points capable of establishing a meshing network and a server with ample disk space and you could offer folks very local networking that was completely independent of the larger grid, providing voice access to everyone within your local network and offering whatever you wanted to spin up on your server. (A local copy of Wikipedia wouldn't take up much room at all.)</p> <h3>The Morality of Providing for Your Own Needs</h3> <p>Things that you produce yourself can be produced in accordance with your own values.</p> <p>You can be confident that no produce from your own garden was harvested by poorly treated migrant labor. You can be confident that no garment that you sew yourself was made by slaves or prisoners. Eggs from your chickens can be cruelty-free, cage-free, free-range, and organic to exactly the extent that you choose &mdash; and will certainly be extremely local.</p> <p>Using power produced by your solar panels funds no overseas terrorist organization, drains no cash to money-center corporations, nor does it enrich the shareholders of the firms endangering our air and water with fracking, offshore drilling, or poorly maintained pipelines.</p> <p>Where morality is not implicated, you can choose to stay on the grid. I don't live in a tiny house: I live in a town house &mdash; but it's a town house owned by a cooperative that I'm a member of. In essence, I rent it from myself. It's on the grid, but it's very much in accordance with my values.</p> <p>Living large on a small budget makes it easy to live light on the planet, and that often goes hand-in-hand with high-tech, off-grid living.</p> <h3>The Flexibility of Providing for Your Own Needs</h3> <p>The technology of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-paths-to-being-a-digital-nomad">digital nomad</a> makes it possible to go off the grid in a very different way.</p> <p>On the one hand, the digital nomad needs regular (although not necessarily constant) access to the Internet. That's as grid-connected as can be.</p> <p>On the other hand, once you've arranged your life to allow you to be location-independent, you can be pretty indifferent to exactly which bits of the grid you choose to depend on, and you can shift around based on the circumstances of the moment.</p> <p>You can live out of a suitcase and laptop bag, using the power and Internet available wherever you happen to be.</p> <p>You can outfit an RV (or a van) with some solar panels and some batteries, add a few gigabytes of data to your cellular plan, and live and work anywhere you choose.</p> <p>You can connect to the grid, work for as long as seems appropriate, and then disconnect whenever you want.</p> <p>Being able to make these choices &mdash; and then make different choices when the circumstance (or your thinking) changes &mdash; is what I mean by the high-tech path to off-grid living.</p> <h2>High-tech or Low-tech, Capital Makes a Difference</h2> <p>There's a big trade off between <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-sufficiency-self-reliance-and-freedom">self-sufficiency and self-reliance</a>, and the more of what you need you can produce for yourself, the more options you have.</p> <p>The grid is part of this. Replacing it requires a lot of capital. Doing without means taking a hit to your standard of living. This means a lot of hard choices, but each additional chunk of capital can turn one more hard choice into an easy choice.</p> <p>I mentioned at the beginning that a subsistence farmer needs capital for land or tools. Many of the other strategies I've mentioned &mdash; such as getting your power from a solar array &mdash; involve substituting capital up front for monthly bills (and a reliance on the grid).</p> <p>There is the option of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-farewell-my-subaru">going big on capital</a>. If you've got enough money, you can be as local and off-grid as you want in sourcing your food, power, water, and so on.</p> <p>If you lack capital, you're going to have to pick and choose which aspects of grid you chose to unhook from. Or else, you're going to have to accept a very low standard of living indeed.</p> <p>In the end, it comes down to your values. Why do you want to live off the grid? What lifestyle choices support those reasons?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-off-the-grid-is-a-lot-harder-than-you-think">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data">3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-millennials-are-changing-marriage">4 Ways Millennials Are Changing Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-digital-detox-how-and-why-to-do-it">The Digital Detox: How and Why to Do It</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Technology alternative living disconnecting Economy farming independence Internet off the grid self sufficient sustainability Thu, 15 Dec 2016 11:30:12 +0000 Philip Brewer 1850791 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Raise Backyard Chickens http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-raise-backyard-chickens <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-raise-backyard-chickens" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid_with_chickens.jpg" alt="Kid with chickens" title="Kid with chickens" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="133" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We&rsquo;ve kept chickens on our small 3-acre farm for over five years. I grew up raising them, so I&rsquo;m comfortable with the ins and outs of the practice. As food gets increasingly pricey, and consumers turn to organic and free-range for their egg and poultry needs, a backyard flock is becoming more popular each year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fantastic-facts-about-eggs">10 Fantastic Facts About Eggs</a>)</p> <p>This short guide to owning a backyard flock is by no means complete. Entire books have been written on the topic, so consider this a conversation starter for those who want to explore the idea further. Chickens can be so much more than just food. Our entire family (even my young kids) has had a blast <a href="http://www.thefreelancefarmer.com/2010/05/why-dine-alone.html">sharing our farm</a> with these feathered friends!</p> <h3>Check Your Local Laws</h3> <p>If you live outside of city limits, chances are great that you&rsquo;ll be able to lawfully keep chickens. As you head toward town, however, the ordinances become murky. Some towns allow for two hens in a backyard, properly contained. Others will not be so accommodating (especially if you come under a housing authority for your regulations). If you are unsure as to whether you can keep chickens, ask. Remember, however, that some chicken owners have been keeping their flock under the assumption that no law is the same as allowing it. <em>Be wary if you choose to go this route</em>. (Don&rsquo;t like the law in your town? <a href="http://www.grit.com/livestock/chickens/chicken-laws-guide.aspx">Change it</a>!)</p> <h3>Set Up Your Habitat</h3> <p>Whether you choose to let your chickens run all over the yard (as we do) or confine them to a small run or fenced-in area, you will still need to provide them with a sturdy, safe shelter to protect them from the elements and predators. We converted an old shed into a coop by hanging some laying boxes, using broken ladders as roosts, and laying straw on the ground. You can look into buying premade chicken coops and chicken tractors, as well as plans for making your own. Remember, newborn chicks will not reside in the coop at first. They will likely live in a box with a heating lamp in your home or basement until they are old enough to go outside.</p> <h3>Order Your Chicks</h3> <p>Getting your chickens may be as simple as strolling down to the local farm supply store and popping a few in a box to take home. Depending on the variety you are looking at getting (and where you are located), you may have to order your chickens from a specialty supplier or a local hatchery. When ordering chickens by mail, be sure you will be home on the day they are set to arrive. They come to you just a few days old, in a box with holes poked in it. You will need to get the chickens out of the box ASAP and to their feed and water within hours.</p> <p>Raising chickens from just a few days old is not for the faint of heart. It is likely that, even with your full attention and care, one or two may die. Baby chicks are extremely fragile in the first few days of life. They are prone to falling into their water and drowning. (I recommend filling any water dish with marbles to the top. This will allow the babies to drink from the spaces between the marbles, but not be able to fall in.) If you do not have any idea how to care for new babies, just skip the process altogether, and buy a pullet that is close to egg-laying stage.</p> <p>I shouldn&rsquo;t have to say this, but you will need to have hens (females) if you want eggs. Hens will lay eggs with or without a rooster. You can eat fertilized eggs &mdash; they won&rsquo;t hurt you. If you do decide to keep a rooster or two, be prepared.&nbsp;They like to stay busy with the hens (if you know what I mean).</p> <h3>Watch and Care for Them</h3> <p>Chickens are relatively low-maintenance, but can be costly to keep (especially with the increase in grain prices). Once established, they will need nothing more than a daily &ldquo;checking,&rdquo; fresh feed, the proper amount of grit (to keep their gullets healthy and egg shells strong), and water. Keeping their coop clean is important to prevent disease, but chickens do not need to be bathed. If given access to dirt, they will take regular &ldquo;<a href="http://www.ruleworks.co.uk/poultry/dust-bath.asp">dust baths</a>&rdquo; &mdash; burrowing into the ground to coat their entire bodies with fine dust. This prevents mites and feels good to the chicken!</p> <p>You will want to pay careful attention to keep them from predators. In addition to neighborhood dogs, chickens can be attacked or eaten by hawks, ferrets, raccoons, and skunks, among other critters. (If you have large rats in your area, you will want to be certain to keep any small holes sealed from the inside. Rats will eat chickens, as well as your feed!)</p> <h3>Gather and Store Your Eggs</h3> <p>After about four or five months, your hens should start laying eggs, and they will continue to lay up to an egg a day during the sunny season, if properly fed. If you just have a few hens, you&rsquo;ll probably eat the eggs as fast as they are laid. If you have as many as we do (40 at the moment), you&rsquo;ll need to gather, clean, and store them properly &mdash; especially if you will be selling them to friends and family. There are many different opinions on how to do this, as many farmers have had luck leaving the eggs on a basket on the counter and then eating them as they get to them. I have a process of gathering daily, using an egg wash to gently remove any dirt from the shell, allowing to air dry, and then storing in clean egg cartons in my fridge for two to four weeks For details on how to &ldquo;wash&rdquo; eggs (which is really only necessary for very dirty eggs), see this document on <a href="http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/live/g1724/build/g1724.pdf">egg-cleaning procedures</a>.</p> <h3>To Eat, or Not to Eat</h3> <p>Perhaps you&rsquo;re looking forward to eating your own fresh <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-do-with-chicken-leg-quarters">chicken meat</a>. This is doable even with the smallest flock, although it&rsquo;s not for the faint of heart. I have yet to butcher my own chicken, as I have a hubby that does the honors, but I do know that skinning instead of plucking is where it&rsquo;s at. Those that want to explore the conversation further can reference this tutorial on <a href="http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/grim79.html">skinning a chicken in 20 minutes or less</a>.</p> <p>Even after you&rsquo;ve owned chickens for what seems like forever, it&rsquo;s always useful and fun to stay connected to updated resources and a like-minded, chicken-loving community. I highly recommend the following resources for getting your poultry fix:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><strong><a href="http://www.chicken-revolution.com/">Chicken Revolution</a></strong> &ndash; The official website of CITY (Chickens in the Yard), a group focused on getting urban chickens legalized all over the country.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong><a href="http://urbanchickens.org/">Urban Chickens</a></strong> &ndash; Don&rsquo;t let the title fool you! While it&rsquo;s designed to help you get started raising chickens within city limits, the tips are useful for farm folks, too.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong><a href="http://www.mypetchicken.com/">My Pet Chicken</a></strong> &ndash; This is a great site for 101-level chicken info.&nbsp;I suggest reading over the <a href="http://www.mypetchicken.com/about-chickens/frequently-asked-questions.aspx">FAQs</a> before you make the commitment to buying your first chicken.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong><a href="http://www.grit.com/article-categories.aspx?taxonomyid=254">Grit</a></strong> &ndash; Perhaps my favorite print magazine for rural living, their chicken articles are perfect for any size flock.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong><a href="http://www.backyardchickens.com/">Backyard Chickens</a></strong> &ndash; A visitor-friendly site with a little bit of everything, the site has a large assortment of <a href="http://www.backyardchickens.com/coopdesigns.html">coop designs</a>.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>This is a very abridged version of the ins and outs of raising chickens. There are so many <a href="http://www.examiner.com/gardening-in-national/eight-benefits-of-raising-backyard-chickens">benefits to backyard chickens</a> that I would highly recommend it to anyone with the space, time, and commitment. Our chickens are more than a source of nourishment. They are a delight to be around! Inquisitive, friendly, and beautiful, chickens are one of God&rsquo;s most charming creatures. Once you find a variety that suits your personality (we adore <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plymouth_Rock_(chicken)">Barred Rock</a>), you may stick with them for life!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-raise-backyard-chickens">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/real-eggs">Real eggs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fantastic-facts-about-eggs">10 Fantastic Facts About Eggs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-not-to-buy-at-a-farmers-market">What NOT to Buy at a Farmers Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cooking-oils-for-your-heart-and-wallet">The Best Cooking Oils: For Your Heart and Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-eco-friendly-water-bottles">The Best Eco-Friendly Water Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Green Living chickens eggs farming Mon, 21 Mar 2011 11:36:09 +0000 Linsey Knerl 506660 at http://www.wisebread.com Book Review: Living On An Acre, A Practical Guide to the Self-Reliant Life http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-living-on-an-acre-a-practical-guide-to-the-self-reliant-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/book-review-living-on-an-acre-a-practical-guide-to-the-self-reliant-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/living on an acre.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="120" height="180" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">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.<span> </span><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1592281141?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread03-20&amp;link_code=as3&amp;camp=211189&amp;creative=373489&amp;creativeASIN=1592281141">Living On An Acre</a> has been a steady and dependable guide to covering the bases of both the practicalities and the possibilities of living a more sustainable dream. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">You don’t have to have an entire acre to implement the plans in this very straight-forward manual to living the rural life.<span> </span>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.<span> </span>DIY’ers and the independent will find enough potential projects for a lifetime of new challenges and productive work. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">There are too many topics covered in this book to even begin to list them all.<span> </span>My favorite sections include: </p> <ul> <li>How to select a community</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Planning for a home</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Landscaping</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Proper disposal of property</li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal">And of course, the fun stuff!<span> </span>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. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">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.<span> </span>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. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">This book pulls no punches.<span> </span>This classic US Department of Agriculture handbook won’t coddle you into believing that anyone is cut out for farm life.<span> </span>The pros and cons of switching to a rural mode are weighed heavily at the beginning of the book.<span> </span>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.<span> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">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.<span> </span>Living rural is hard work, and this book makes no promises that it will be the dream lifestyle you’ve always imagined.<span> </span>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 <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1592281141?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread03-20&amp;link_code=as3&amp;camp=211189&amp;creative=373489&amp;creativeASIN=1592281141">Living on An Acre</a> to help you with your decision.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-living-on-an-acre-a-practical-guide-to-the-self-reliant-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-diy-magazines-can-help-you-be-self-reliant">These DIY Magazines Can Help You Be Self-Reliant</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-education-of-an-american-dreamer-by-peter-g-peterson">Book review: The Education of an American Dreamer by Peter G. Peterson</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-cheap-and-easy-formulas-for-homemade-windshield-de-icer-plus-bonus-tips">3 Cheap and Easy Formulas for Homemade Windshield De-Icer (Plus Bonus Tips)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/diy-plastic-surgery-this-is-not-a-hoax">DIY Plastic Surgery: This Is Not A Hoax.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living DIY Lifestyle book review country farming sustainable living Sat, 28 Jun 2008 16:54:30 +0000 Linsey Knerl 2203 at http://www.wisebread.com Pure Genius - All In The Name Of Eco-Friendly http://www.wisebread.com/pure-genius-all-in-the-name-of-eco-friendly <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/pure-genius-all-in-the-name-of-eco-friendly" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/staircase_drawers.jpg" alt="Staircase Drawers" title="Staircase Drawers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="186" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ok, recycling is as eco-friendly as I get so far, and I&#39;m even too lazy for that sometimes. So I really have to applaud these people who have dedicated their best brains to creating some of the most ingenious inventions I&#39;ve seen, all for the sake of a more sustainable future. </p> <p>I recently stumbled upon this site, <a href="http://www.inhabitat.com">Inhabitat</a><a href="http://www.inhabitat.com">.com</a>, which is worth looking at not only for the fabulous design but also some damn good ideas.</p> <p>For instance, I work at an architectural firm and wondered the same thing <a href="http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/06/25/ample-sample-upcycling-design-contest/#more-4809">this guy</a> did: why don&#39;t we ever do anything with all those samples of tiles, glass, rubber, etc. that potential suppliers inundate us with daily? I figured decorating my bathroom with all the spare tiles would be pretty clever, but that&#39;s not nearly as fun as <a href="http://www.amplesample.net/">what these people came up with</a>.</p> <p>But the strangest and most intriguing to me has to be this:</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/Vertical_Farm.jpg" alt="Chris Jacobs vertical farm" width="193" height="250" /> </p> <p>No, that&#39;s not just a building. See the green inside? That is one of the designs associated with the <a href="http://www.verticalfarm.com/index.php">vertical farm project</a>, the brainchild of Dr. Dickson Despommier, a Columbia University professor of environmental sciences and microbiology. The idea behind the project is that in 50 years, most of the human population will live in urban centers. Their solution to overcrowding and its environmental consequences: start building farms into skyscrapers!</p> <p>Some of the purpoted benefits of such a scheme:</p> <p>-Organically grown food, sans pesticides</p> <p>-No weather related crop failures</p> <p>-Year-round crop production</p> <p>-Animals can be raised in them as well **small ones, such as chicken and fish**</p> <p>-No tractors, plows or shipping, thus less use of fossil fuels</p> <p>-And the best benefit: we can&#39;t go to the moon or Mars until we try skscraper farming! Woo hoo! No creepy Total Recall moments.</p> <p>The farm has yet to be built, and I just hope I&#39;m around long enough to see it. In the meantime I guess I can enjoy the staircase drawers.</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>Staircase by Unicraft Joinery. Photo courtesy of blogger Emily on <em>Inhabitat.</em></p> <p>Read more about the two-in-one staircase <a href="http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/06/11/a-brilliant-storage-idea-staircase-drawers/#more-4609">here</a> .</p> <p>Vertical farm picture: design by Chris Jacobs. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/joann-hong">Joann Hong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pure-genius-all-in-the-name-of-eco-friendly">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/netspend-the-story-of-the-visa-debit-card-we-did-not-apply-for">netSpend: The Story of the Visa Debit Card We Did Not Apply For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-dirty-is-your-money-really">How Dirty Is Your Money, Really?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-do-immediately-after-losing-your-wallet">10 Things You Should Do Immediately After Losing Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-get-rid-of-mold-on-common-household-items">6 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Mold on Common Household Items</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-home-warranty">10 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Home Warranty</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs drawers eco-friendly farm farming furniture stairs sustainable vertical farm Tue, 26 Jun 2007 20:39:03 +0000 Joann Hong 776 at http://www.wisebread.com