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Living on an Acre, 2nd: A Practical Guide to the Self-Reliant Life [Paperback]

by U.S. Department. of Agriculture, Christine Woodside
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1, 2010 1599218852 978-1599218854 Second
The classic USDA handbook to self-reliant living, now completely revised and updated.

Frequently Bought Together

Living on an Acre, 2nd: A Practical Guide to the Self-Reliant Life + The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre! + Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre
Price for all three: $34.80

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Who hasn’t daydreamed at one time or another about selling produce at a farmer’s market, keeping chickens, or planting an orchard of fruit trees? Inside every do-it-yourselfer is a longing for a more independent lifestyle and the satisfaction that can come from getting one’s hands dirty while turning some earth.
Whether you are thinking about a second home in the country, starting a part-time farm, or going back to the land, Living on an Acre will help you realize your dreams. This classic USDA guide is replete with comprehensive and fully updated information: 
The benefits of rural versus urban life
What to consider when remodeling an older house
How to build a barn
Growing produce for self-sufficiency versus growing for profit
Raising livestock
Putting land into conservation

About the Author

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s team of experts is an impressive array of authorities ranging from farm management specialists, to state farm advisors, to agricultural economists, to a former Secretary of Agriculture.

Christine Woodside is a freelance editor and writer whose articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Backpacker, Yankee, Woman’s Day, and Publishers Weekly. She is also the author of Energy Independence (Lyons).

Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; Second edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599218852
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599218854
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #485,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
While I have no real complaint with the content of this book, I ended up returning it as I realized it just wasn't what I was after. The title and back cover lead me to the false assumption that the book would lay out a guide to how a family could utilize one acre of land to produce enough (or nearly enough) food to live on. I was hoping, among other things, for a garden plan indicating how many pea plants or tomatoes, or whatever you would want to consider planting to feed a family through the growing season and to can for the winter. I would have also appreciated an indication of what sort (and how many) animals might be able to successfully graze on an acre in addition to a large vegetable garden and area for fruit trees - how to balance these factors, in other words.

Instead, this book offers valuable information on what to consider if you are planning a major relocation from the city to the country (perhaps even with the thought of making farming a first or second career). There are several anecdotal sections written by people who have run small farms and a lengthy section outlining the basic needs of a variety of types of animals you may want to raise. I would say this is a 5-star book, but the title was sufficiently misleading that I gave it 3 stars.

For reference, books that I have found to be closer to what I was looking for include: Mini-Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre (Brett Markham); The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year-Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses (Eliot Coleman); The Garden Primer (Barbara Damrosch); and Culpepper's Color Herbal (David Potterton, Michael Stringer, and E.J. Shellard) - not because the medicinal info. is so great, but because the illustrations are helpful in identifying most of the wild edibles in cool climates (the Peterson Guide to Edible Wild Plants leaves out a great many wild edibles that flourish in my area).
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Informative, Easy Read March 30, 2011
If you are considering moving onto a few acres of land, this book is for you. It discusses all aspects of rural living from how to choose land based on your goals and expectations, to the requirements for specific farming endeavors. It also tells you where to find more information throughout the chapters. You will get a realistic picture of what a minifarm/hobby farm on small acreage looks like.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Felt a little misled November 4, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Arrived promptly and in perfect condition. However, I must say I was misled by the title. I was hoping for a book on actually living on an acre. Instead it is a strange combination of lists converted into prose combined with a government manual. I got the overwhelming feeling, as is disclaimed into the introduction, that its goal is to prevent people from going 'country'.

Again, it reads like a government manual, giving lots of space to codes/legal stuff and glossing over things I would think more important to someone actually living on an acre. An example is that the entire topic of composting and recycling takes up half of one page.

In my own little opinion, the book "Encyclopedia of Country Living" is way more informative and useful.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good, sobre overview March 27, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book lived up to my expectations as a good overview for the broader topic of small/hobby farms. There is not enough depth in any one area for it to stand alone as a how-to manual, but I have not found another book that does as good a job covering the big picture.

Use this book to make sure you are thinking things through, and once (if) you've decided to move forward with a small farm, find in-depth guides -- or consult your cooperative extension! -- for the specifics activities you take on.

I'll keep this book and shelve it among my other farming & homesteading books. I may not reach for it for my own use, but it's be in the stack I loan out to anyone thinking of going the small farm route.
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