A Few Books For Summer Reading

I have a few books to recommend that really inspired me.  So grab a big glass of lemonade and a porch swing and enjoy.

off on our own

The first one is “Off On Our Own; Living Off-Grid in Comfortable Independence” by Ted Carns.  He details how he and his wife have lived in an off-grid house and off the land for over thirty years.  The imagery of frogs hopping through the house, a lagoon in the living room, a living compost floor, outbuildings holding odds and ends of things he can use in his buildings.  He has thrown away one small load of trash in thirty years and even regrets that.  Everything is put back to work.  He builds filters to capture rain water and creates electricity.  Not being mechanically minded, I sure wish I could have understood his explanations on how to build all these things but I know many people that would.  A mixture of spiritual and how-to makes this book an interesting read.  His model of living is inspirational and gave me many ideas for our homestead.

a bushels worth

I just finished “A Bushel’s Worth; An Ecobiography” by Kayann Short.  I was delighted to see that it takes place here in Colorado.  Her farm is in Boulder and she and her husband were professors at Colorado University at the same time that Doug went there.  She even mentioned one of my favorite farmers, the Millers.  Learning from a farmer via print that is in a similar climate as I am was fun and inspirational.  I love her CSA model that she runs her farm on.  She doesn’t do markets but instead has many members that help with everything from pressing apples to painting barns in exchange for their share.  Some pay for their shares.  All come together for pancake breakfasts and concerts at the end of the season.

She talks about the sobering fact that our subdivisions are named after the farm they now stand on.  The ranches that were taken over.  A sad tribute to once was.  She says that preserving farmland may even be more important than preserving public lands.  Miles and miles of it out here in my county for sale waiting to be bland homes on tiny plots.

The other day a sweet family came to visit our farm.  The children helped me pull garlic and planted radishes.  They oohed and ahhed over the gardens.  They visited with the animals.  A four year old boy told me to use fish to make the corn grow.  He, himself, grows a two foot square plot in a greenhouse at his home two towns over.  So pleased they were with their visit.  As they were leaving I mentioned that hopefully this time next year we’ll be on a bigger farm and stopped myself as I realized how rather ungrateful I sounded.

This kind of rental is incredibly rare.  An adorable old house, two lots, no rules against livestock or digging up one’s front yard.  A darling town and fabulous neighbors.  Really, what more could I ask for?

I am so grateful for the opportunity to farm here and if the doors close on anything else I will be happy as a sunflower staying here.  I do hope though that my request is somehow, miraculously, granted.  I do not wish for a bigger house.  I do not wish for more land out of greed.  I do not wish to be tucked away from society on our massive land.  I would love to help preserve a patch of God’s gorgeous earth, to nurture it, to feed people, to help folks learn to feed themselves and learn old time arts.  I am limited here because I cannot do business out of our home.  My classes are actually outlawed and having people over to buy eggs is a against the law as well.  I am certain there is an old homestead out there that needs tending and a plot of land that wants to feed people and bring smiles to many faces, where a blue grass band plays at a pumpkin festival….

In the meantime I will keep reading and learning and being inspired until that door opens and work with what I have!

Have you read any good farm books lately?  Do share!

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Mark Pearce says:

    “… having people over to buy eggs is against the law as well.”

    I can just see you standing on a street corner in a trench coat. “Pssst … hey buddy … wanna buy some eggs?” as you open the coat to reveal your wares.

    When you said you were going off grid, I didn’t realize you were going underground.

    Actually, it adds kind of a dash of excitement to it. I’d much rather buy illegal, homestead eggs than a carton at Piggly Wiggly.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      Yes, that’s me….egg dealer. Illegal. Wanted.

  2. kayann short says:

    Thank you for reviewing my book, A Bushel’s Worth: An Ecobiography. In farming, we meet new challenges everyday. Last night a windstorm knocked a cottonwood branch through our greenhouse roof. Glass everywhere, but we’ve got it cleaned up and are glad that branch is down thanks to nature’s pruning. Besides the book, I write about our farm at pearlmoonplenty.wordpress.com. Good luck with your farmstead dreams!

    1. Farmgirl says:

      Thank you! I hope you get the greenhouse fixed soon!

  3. I recently read The Permaculture Handbook by Peter Bane and found it to be pretty good.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      I am very interested in learning more about permaculture. I will have to check out that book. Thanks!

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