I can’t tell you how many times I’ve let myself wander into the daydream about quitting the grind cold turkey – just moving to the country somewhere, planting a big truck garden, getting a flock of chickens and selling handicrafts. But then I think of the rent/mortgage payment, the student loans, the employer-sponsored healthcare… and reality sets in. I snap out of it and go back to toiling away for the man without complaint (okay, not entirely without, but minimal).
But maybe I’ve got it all wrong; maybe there’s hope. Maybe I can have the proverbial cake and eat it too. Michael and Audrey Levatino seem to think it’s possible. In their new book The Joy of Hobby Farming they maintain that you can have the farm and the security of a 9-to-5 job at the same time – it’s just all about scale. A lot of people seem to think of “hobby” as a dirty word – people that just live on an estate with a horse and a fancy farmhouse. Anyone who farms as a hobby can’t possibly be a real farmer, right? The Levatino’s show us this misconception couldn’t be further from the truth.
This book covers all of the basics of starting your farm on a small scale that’s perfectly manageable while still working outside the home – how to find your farm, growing food and flowers, managing animals and how to run your farm as a business. It’s laid out in a sensible fashion, with useful sidebars summarizing the main points, as well as helpful charts and lists. And the thing that I absolutely love about this book is the full-color photographs. In addition to photos of their and some of their neighbor’s farms, there are also step-by-step photos for many skills discussed in the book, from extracting your tractor from the mud, cutting down a tree, inoculating your own mushroom log and many more. It’s one thing to read about a process, but if you’ve never done it before, it can be very hard to visualize and actually do, so having the step-by-step photos is a great addition. It brings you that much closer to realizing your dream.
The Joy of Hobby Farming literally just came out on April 1st and I certainly recommend it as an addition to your homesteading library – especially for those that want to farm but have reservations about leaving the office jobs for good. Now that you don’t have to, it can be done!
(And thanks to the fine folks at Skyhorse Publishing who put this read on my radar and were kind enough to send me a copy for review.)