48 of 61 people found the following review helpful
Tedious Beginner's Book about Backyard Farm Living,
This review is from: Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life (Hardcover)
I am tired of authors who write about their very ignorant attempts to accomplish something: live for a year in 1900, cook Julia Child's receipts, live Biblically for a year. The interesting qualities of their attempts are really not so compelling.
This woman decided to go country in her backyard. She allows a Siberian Husky to spend "ten unsupervised minutes" with her baby chicks. A predictable bloodbath followed. She kills thousands of bees, first by not realizing that her queen bee was shipped in a box, so it died and so did that hive. Then when a generous and knowledgeable neighbor came to the rescue and provided another queen, the author failed to build any protection around the hive and went away for a weekend for a weekend of old-time music. A bear tore the hive apart and the bees were homeless and flew away.
Her information is VERY basic and her thinking VERY fuzzy. She talks about ecological concerns, but then urges readers to order lots of catalogs for seeds because looking at them is part of the fun. The resources that are used to make, print, and ship those extra "fun" catalogs doesn't occur to her.
In short, she has a very self-satisfied attitude about her minor accomplishments, and while I found some information in the book, most of it describes her life and her feelings in a mix of cliches and clunky original comparisons.
If you want to wallow in the feelings of another as she sets up her house along pseudo-farm lines, then this is the book for you. If you want real information, buy a different book.
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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 26, 2012 12:18:28 PM PDT
Great review- too bad I did not read it before I got this book. Oh well, my recycling center should enjoy making it into toliet paper
Posted on Apr 7, 2013 11:42:15 PM PDT
Which books do you recommend?
Posted on Jul 12, 2013 11:05:15 AM PDT
Robert R. says:
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 8, 2013 7:00:29 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 8, 2013 7:00:51 PM PDT
Honest (and diplomatic) people like Mark Thrice are always fun.
Posted on Sep 23, 2013 11:38:41 AM PDT
Well, she has inspired me. So I have a huge carbon footprint and know nothing about sustainable living as you do. Oh, well...
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2013 3:00:29 PM PST
The absolutely best book about a beginner moving into country living is The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald. She followed her husband to a chicken farm in the 1920s and wrote a wonderful book about it. Her prose is so skillful and her comic sense of humor so wonderful that the book can be read over and over with pleasure. My family quotes from it all the time.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2013 3:06:24 PM PST
This is a review about the quality and value of her book, which is pretty low in both writing and information. I'm glad that her example inspired you; I'd suggest do a lot of research and talk to experienced people and don't just buy animals and then fail to protect them properly, which is pretty much what she did. We have an extension office in our county and it's pretty amazing to just read their pamphlets and see how much there is to know about even basic farming. I'm attending workshops and lectures just because I admire farmers so much -- theirs is complicated and important work. I wish you the best in your move toward a smaller carbon footprint!
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2013 3:15:08 PM PST
As for real info on farming, I'd go to the County Extension Office if you are in a rural area or the nearest one if you are not. You might also contact the forestry department of your state government and see what they recommend as a source of info (they might know where offices are that you wouldn't necessarily even have heard about). Narrow down exactly what you to know -- for instance, heritage apple trees -- I went to Seed Savers (website), found an expert in apples who gave me a list of varieties that were in my local area in 1880 (for a museum project) -- he also gave me sources. Now, apple trees are best trained to grow in easy-picking ways and heritage varieties are great, but perhaps less disease resistant than modern hybrids or not. I'm giving you all this info, which may seem wide rather than deep and maybe too deep if you don't care about apple trees -- but what I'm really saying is go to the experts online -- chickens, apples, bees, etc. -- and go to the government for their factual publications -- talk to people who have actually already succeeded in what you are trying to do -- look for a club in your area -- but look for successful and experienced when being guided in your choices. It's not easy to move into even backyard farming, but good information can help you succeed. Best of luck to you!
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