- Audible Audiobook
- Listening Length: 15 hours and 14 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Hachette Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: October 10, 2011
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005U8O2CY
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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This is a story (sort of) about a man and what he has made of his and his family's life. It's about hard work and being rewarded. Being healthy and being one with the environment.
Writing is good. It's obvious he is not a professional writer. It is almost like siting in a TED Talk as you read. As important as his message is, it does seem to get a bit repetitive. But then again, that repetitiveness makes you want to get out there and do things. There were several side stories about how things were and about personal interactions. Overall interesting while delivering a message.
It wasn't only him, but this book has helped me get outdoors. Three raised garden beds later, I'm improving my own little yard, spending time with my kids outdoors and being much more healthy.
I learned to trust the farmers and used their many suggestions on how to grow and expand my garden. I am now stronger, healthier and happier, free of illness and off all medications.
Reading Salatin book is like talking to my local farmers and also like talking to my GrandParents or the other important ancient wisdom people in my history on getting real lessons in life. The book is loaded with real life saving suggestions some of which society isn’t any where ready to listen too. I am learning a great deal and was thrilled to find that many of my local farmers have attended seminars where Salatin was the guest speaker. They listen to his suggestions also. There isn’t any magic bullet, just hard work and a lot of common sense.
As one of the farmers said to me “This is the Real Thing”
Mr. Salatin will cause you to rethink our industrial food market, among many other things. You will be challenged reading this book. You will be inspired as well. Thank you to the author for pouring his heart and soul into such a great work.
I knew of Joel from a few articles I'd read on Mother Earth News and from a few documentaries---but a recent recommendation to pick up some of his books was a great recommendation. Joel Salatin has basically writing exactly what I've been figuring out for the last few years on my own without my even knowing of him. The problem is, how to get more on board so we don't feel so lonely heading towards more sustainable lifestyles?
Basically, where are you other people? We(my wife and I) want to grow and learn more and more about permaculture type ideals and sustainability--yet we feel alone in the dark with no real community. Those who I keep meeting who have any interest in the ideas and things like Joel shares are on the fence too much or too far away to have a real community.
This is not a book about how to do farming, although the attentive reader would pick up many good points. It is more about a philosophy of self-sufficiency and using nature rather than battling it. The first part of the book handles that very well. Basically, the author contrasts the way food is raised on a "traditional" but well managed nature-embracing farm and the way food is produced in the industrial approach to raising vegetables and meat. Needless to say, he illustrates the horror and unhealthy results of the latter. He also makes excellent points as to the true costs of our over-subsidized industrial agriculture - particularly with respect to energy consumption.
Along the way he illustrates how the farm life, lived his way, creates emotional strength and satisfaction for the farmer and creates children who are happy, confident, realistic and responsible. He does a great job of selling this approach to self-sufficiency and community stability. My only problem with some of his methods is a health worry. He is big on pasturing both cattle and hogs (and having chickens follow them around). In fact the hogs go rooting in the forest, to the forest's benefit.
I believe all this, but I worry about the possible downside -- parasites. I wince when I watch TV and see the feral hog hunters eating the pork they catch. I have to believe parasites are a problem when the meat producing livestock just wander through nature. On the other hand, industrial meat (and vegetables) may be free of parasites, but they create a number of anti-biotic resistant mutant microbes and viruses, not to mention the steroids and other unnatural chemicals we eat.
Now, after this bucolic picture of farm life revealed in the first half, the author gets to another area. He talks about the conflict between the industrial food producers and the "little guy." There he reveals that he isn't all that little. He would appear to be relatively wealthy from his writings. His home farm is 550 acres and he rents several others. He wants to sell his produce far and wide. To me this seems inconsistent with enjoying a natural self-sufficient life on your own land. He wants to be a mini-industrialist. This bothered me.
Nevertheless, he makes terrific points about the idiocies and hidden agendas of government regulation. He appears shocked to realize that the regulations are not so much to protect the consumer (despite support from "consumer advocacy" groups), but rather to protect the big producers from competition. I'm not shocked. I'm old enough to remember numerous times when a free-market-loving industry is confronted with upstart competition that it runs to its well-paid politicians for protection and relief. This is nothing new. But, it is bad. Of course the shock of actually going to free markets is something no politician would really like to see.
He makes a good point about trying out new regulatory schemes on a small limited scale to see the real effect before rolling them out to cover everyone. That's something business has always known, and government never. However, I think he, like Milton Freeman, embraces the free market concept but is pretty naïve about how one gets rid of the bad actors. True, in small areas of society where everyone knows everyone else the word can get around and the bad actors decimated. That's not so easy in our population-crammed society. He thinks one solution is that we all just have contractual relations with no limits on what we can agree to. That could work if we were all equal, but we're not.
Amusingly, he absolutely hates lawyers for good reasons (and I am a recovering lawyer), yet in this land of free contracts he would have things done by "arbitration." He needs to think this through more thoroughly. Just an aside - He thinks our politicians and judges should come more from the common people and not the lawyer class. Actually, we used to do that. My first law case was before a non-lawyer judge, the last one in Missouri. He was terrific, although I lost the case. Also, Harry Truman was a non-lawyer judge before going on to bigger things.
So, the bottom line is that I love the book, although I'm not sure I agree with all his ideas. The author, Joel Salatin, is very creative, articulate, and puts a lot of material in his books. He also includes some great excerpts from Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. We should all meditate on these. This book will perhaps inspire you, definitely make you think, and maybe even act. So, despite my quibbles I give this 5 stars.