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One of my dreams is to live a closer-to-self-sufficient life, with us raising most of our own food and enough surplus to make a living. In short, I want to be a cottage farmer, and this book is an excellent starting point, offering three things to the would-be cottage farmer: In many ways, Logsdon defies easy categories. He criticizes modern chemical-intensive agriculture repeatedly, but isn't afraid to take i One of my dreams is to live a closer-to-self-sufficient life, with us raising most of our own food and enough surplus to make a living.

He criticizes modern chemical-intensive agriculture repeatedly, but isn't afraid to take ideas from these radically different farmers, if they serve his purpose. Likewise, much of what he does could be categorized as "organic" practices, but he refuses to be tied down to any "party line" there either just to be "certified organic. In short, the first chapter is a microcosm of the book as a whole.

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On the practical side, he not only gives recommendations for instance, regarding which animals to raise and an order of preference--chickens, sheep, a cow or cows, and finally pigs, with other animals from draft animals to rare animals, bee-keeping, and aquaculture but also discusses in detail the reasons behind those recommendation, working to give the reader the tools to make his or her own decision. That is, after all, in keeping with the spirit of a contrary farmer.

There isn't enough information here to simply head out and start farming just on the basis of this book at least, not successfully! This book is a starting point and a grand overview, and it serves those functions admirably. The stories he tells are interesting, endearing, sometimes funny, and taken as a whole, quietly inspiring. In this way, too, it is a starting point, serving not only to guide but encourage. I have no doubt that I will read this book again when Lauren and I finally begin such a life, whenever that may be.

Sep 23, Diane rated it really liked it. This is a great book for two separate groups of people. The first group knows nothing about agribusiness and how it endangers our food supply and environment or how food animals are produced for market. The author covers each crop and animal and the practices and abuses of big industries. The second group is starting a small farm of their own and needs a blue print to follow, i.

Exactly how many cows can my four acres This is a great book for two separate groups of people. Exactly how many cows can my four acres support? Falling in neither group I didn't enjoy this book as much as my rating would suggest.

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I've been thoroughly versed in the dangers of single varietal planting, the cruelty of raising animals for market and the idiocy of continuing practices that will eventually fail. If I were starting my own small farm however, I would consider getting this book as a resource. The author covers his farming methods while managing to avoid repetition and dullness. A book which educates and illuminates. Feb 11, Fernleaf rated it really liked it Shelves: One of Logsdon's earlier books, the contrary farmer discusses what he terms 'cottage farming,' farming on smaller lots in a more traditional and ecologically friendly way.

The chapter on pastoral economics Ch 2 is particularly interesting, stating that industrial economics really don't mesh with pastoral ways of living and that the attempt to layer them together has caused much of the current crisis with regards to our farming systems. He goes on to muse about barnyard harmony or lack thereof One of Logsdon's earlier books, the contrary farmer discusses what he terms 'cottage farming,' farming on smaller lots in a more traditional and ecologically friendly way.


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He goes on to muse about barnyard harmony or lack thereof , water, meadows and pasture, small tree plots, and some crops. All throughout is the genuine feeling for the land, and the respect that he obviously has for natural systems.


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Another great and contrasting perspective on small farming, and an interesting counterpoint to slightly more intensive systems like Joel Salatin and the less-intense-but-lots-of-work-initially systems like permaculture, while still being compatible with both. Sep 27, Sam rated it really liked it Shelves: This book has some really nice information, typically presented in a nicely readable manner and interspersed with observations of Logsdon's own farm or those of his acquaintances.

However, I felt as though he dismissed methods and elements that he doesn't personally use too quickly—for example, he mentions using horses in the chapter on equipment, but their presence is dwarfed by the info specific to tractors; in another section, he describes the animals he recommends raising and why he likes th This book has some really nice information, typically presented in a nicely readable manner and interspersed with observations of Logsdon's own farm or those of his acquaintances. However, I felt as though he dismissed methods and elements that he doesn't personally use too quickly—for example, he mentions using horses in the chapter on equipment, but their presence is dwarfed by the info specific to tractors; in another section, he describes the animals he recommends raising and why he likes them, but completely ignores less traditional animals that could serve the same purposes goats may be slightly more difficult to keep than sheep but they're nearly as capable at most of his points, and yet they don't get a single mention.

Overall, though, I found it an enjoyable, and rather informative, read.

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I dream about self sufficiency, having the ability to produce my own food on my own land, releasing my reliance on the agroindustrial infrastructure into which this country is locked. When I came across this title, it seemed a great introduction to such an idea. While the book is somewhat dated, it contains a lot of information that'll remain current because it focuses on the best way of doing things rather than the popular way of doing things; it describes a way of farming contrary to what the I dream about self sufficiency, having the ability to produce my own food on my own land, releasing my reliance on the agroindustrial infrastructure into which this country is locked.

While the book is somewhat dated, it contains a lot of information that'll remain current because it focuses on the best way of doing things rather than the popular way of doing things; it describes a way of farming contrary to what the government and big business proscribes. Logsdon's book reads almost like a how-to manual, although it doesn't delve far enough into the topics it introduces to be used individually as such. Rather, it gives enough information to present an idea of how and why, leaving the details to other manuals.

I think that anyone with pastoral agrarian dreams would benefit from this book.

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Dec 06, Shane rated it really liked it Shelves: Sustainable biodynamic agriculture; just a bunch of fancy words to describe what Logsdon refers to as cottage farming. There is a little bit of 'how-to' advice which may or may not be outdated. There is also a great deal of colorful opinion shaped by decades of practical and hard won experience. This is not a shrill manifesto but a well written plea for sanity and a return to an approach that worked.

The thoughts are not only about choosing farming as a lifestyle as opposed to choosing it as a j Sustainable biodynamic agriculture; just a bunch of fancy words to describe what Logsdon refers to as cottage farming. The thoughts are not only about choosing farming as a lifestyle as opposed to choosing it as a job; but also about the community that is created out of necessity and the interdependence of rural life. This well told argument is more like a painting with words than the over-length article it could have been. It may be more 'house painting' than 'fine art' but painting a house with words can still be artful.

Now I want to find twenty acres or so and make a lifestyle choice all my own. Nov 28, David rated it really liked it. Good book about sustainable, or practical, or reasonable agriculture and the benefits of a life lived this way. I think the author would be pleased that my copy of his book has the last pages stained by coffee and several pages stained with dirt and slobber. The coffee coming from a spill while doing some farm related work and the dirt and slobber from a couple of goats that thought the book might be good too.

The best sentence in the book: Aug 26, Jennifer Miera rated it liked it Shelves: I'm not sure how I feel about this book. The author runs a small organic farm, including a small flock of sheep, chickens, a couple of cows. Having never husbanded livestock, I can't say for sure, but seems to me that I wouldn't be cutting the tails off of my lambs. I appreciated his honesty and attempts to be as kind as possible to his animals, but it doest come down to making enough money to being self- sustaining.

I'm sure my vegan worldview is naive, but I can't see myself slaughtering anima I'm not sure how I feel about this book. I'm sure my vegan worldview is naive, but I can't see myself slaughtering animals that I've raised. I did especially like his section on the home garden as the proving ground for bigger ventures The Woodland Homestead Brett Mcleod.

The Lean Farm Ben Hartman. Four Season Harvest Eliot Coleman. Tartine Bread Chad Robertson. The Woodland Way Ben Law. You Can Farm Joel Salatin. The Unsettling of America Wendell Berry. Good Life Helen Nearing. Bestsellers in Sustainable Agriculture. Start Your Farm Forrest Pritchard. Hydroponics for Beginners Erin Morrow. Miraculous Abundance Charles Herve-Gruyer. Restoration Agriculture Mark Shepard. Sepp Holzer's Permaculture Sepp Holzer. The Maria Thun Biodynamic Calendar Practical Permaculture Dave Boehnlein. Permaculture in a Nutshell Patrick Whitefield.

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