A book review

Have you ever picked up a book and found that you actually can’t believe how much you’ve read when you finish your coffee (or tea for those leaning towards the leaf drink)? Not so much easy to read but more that it merges from the page to the brain with zero effort. Until I read this book I had never experienced a book that simply migrated to my consciousness like this. It was a real experience. And to boot, the book was about a subject dear to my heart and existence. ­čÖé

5 Acres & A Dream The Book: The Challenges of Establishing a Self-Sufficient Homestead

5 Acres & A Dream The Book: The Challenges of Establishing a Self-Sufficient Homestead

This is how I felt reading 5 Acres & a Dream by Leigh Tate. Leigh shares the journey she and her husband Dan took to find then purchase a block of land with the goal of creating a self-sustaining homestead, growing their own food (both plant and animal based), food for their animals and reducing their reliance on external sources for anything. They look towards capturing their own water and energy, growing field crops, combating weeds without resulting to toxic poisons, breeding goats for meat and dairy and preserving and putting up excess produce to see them through the leaner garden months.

Leigh comes to her journey from a different direction than we did although they are definitely┬ácomplementary and almost all of her goals are ours. ­čÖé With 5 acres to play with they have a better chance of realising growing all their animal food but I have picked up many tips and hints to realising a greater level of self-sufficiency in that area. Thanks for the info on comfrey Leigh. I have my next project planned ready to go now! ­čśÇ Don’t tell my husband. ­čśë

One chapter more than all the others struck a deep chord though. Chapter 10 – Obstacles.

… I’d say there is a bigger obstacle of which most folks aren’t even aware. it’s their world view, or mindset. By this I mean one’s expectations about how things ought to be, about life and society as we are used to them. It’s our attitude, particularly about what we have, what we need, and how we get it. It’s our mental image about cultural and lifestyle standards, of how life ought to be lived, how things ought to work.

I have found myself apologising to neighbours about the work in progress, to visitors and friends about the working mess, about not having home-grown or organic something to offer or about how something looks different from it ought. Clearly I carry many expectations I don’t feel I’m fitting. The reality is that this is my dream, my plan, my goal. It is, and should be, different to the dreams of others. It’s a dream that holds different expectations than conventional society and hence I shouldn’t expect it to conform to conventional societies conditions, although for peace with the neighbours it needs to balance with them at least.

Trustworthiness is based on one’s character, not ones credit rating. Money is basically a tool to meet needs. The goal of life is contentment and personal productivity. The concepts of recycling, reusing, sustainability, self-reliance, and self-sufficiency are natural extensions of the lifestyle, not individual activities which must be striven for.

A consumer/profit mindset considers land an investment…. Expendable is good. Disposable is good, instant gratification is good, product dependency is good, debt is good, anything that increases profits is good and desirable. The consumer/profit mindset thinks of people in terms of demographics rather than communities. It thinks globally, not locally, because more people mean more profit. There is no sense of social responsibility here; that’s the government’s job. There is no accountability because the end justifies the means. One’s trustworthiness is not based on character but credit rating. Money is not seen as a tool, but as a measure of success, personal importance, and power.

I believe we have lost more than we have gained from the industrial revolution. We have gained marvels and ease, tools to do jobs far easier and greater resources, particularly information. I have friends around the world whom I will, in all likelihood, never meet in the flesh and I have learned┬áthings that I would have little hope of learning without the wonders of the internet but perhaps I’ve lost the ability of friendships in the flesh and of learning things through the art of hard research and looking things up on the Dewey system (remember that) at the library or watching nature itself. Having these things articulated so beautifully has and will continue to help me on my own journey.

I would recommend Leigh’s book to anyone looking for inspiration, for a how-to guide on putting together your thoughts and planning out your dream and although the book is by no means a how-to book, it does show you just what you can do on a limited budget and 5 acres. ­čÖé Also, check out her blog. It’s a good one. 5 Acres and a Dream.


Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this review. In fact, I emailed Leigh to ask if I could write it. ­čÖé


3 thoughts on “A book review

  1. Lynda D says:

    It is a lovely book and one that i find i am able to refer back to again and again. I love her blog and the effort she goes to to respond to comments. I really feel like i know her.

  2. I will check out her blog Jess and see if I can get the book at the library. I like her thoughts.
    I can relate to what you are saying here. Roger and I don’t really fit the average mindset of the people we know or our neighbourhood and I sometimes feel I don’t quite match the abilities of other bloggers I read in all that they do…I don’t ever feel a need to compete or apologise for that in any way but sometimes I just feel different. But we do do things OUR way and that’s all we need to do. Remembering that is hard though at times ­čÖé We learn from a baby from others and what is acceptable around us, to deviate from that and be your own person is a life lesson that needs mastering sometimes!

  3. […] is aiming to grow most, if not all of her goats fodder. I reviewed her book a few months back (see here) and highly recommend it. We haven’t a hope on 1/2 an acre but we can definitely contribute […]

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