The Backyard Homestead: How to Make the Pages a Reality

Several months ago my wife, Pan, and I were at the bookstore wasting away a rainy Saturday afternoon. I have to admit it was a little oxymoronic to be sipping my chai tea latte whilst I perused the self-sufficiency and homesteading books. But I digress.

After picking up a few of those titles that have great book jackets and catchy subtitles but little substance I came across a book by Carleen Madigan called The Backyard Homestead. With its etsy-esque cover and obvious homages to the neo-homesteading venture it captured my attention rather quickly.

After reading just a bit I found that the author, Carleen Madigan, was born into a self-sufficiency oriented family and the had the opportunity to grow up eating homegrown foods. She continues to live this way and now brings a comfortable even keeled passion to the subject matter.

I found myself mesmerized by even just the first chapter with its simple quarter acre plot sketches and landscaping ideas. It is a huge source of information and while it is fairly dense on content it is an easy enough read with a lot of illustrations, charts and graphs. It is most certainly a resource that every homesteader, hobby farmer and aspiring one should have in their personal library. I am proud to say that now – some 3 months later – I have my own copy compliments of Santa Claus.

The main premise of the book is that you can produce all the food you need on 1/4 acre (dependent, of course, on your zone and your personal diet). The back cover boasts that on a 1/4 acre you can yield:

1,400 eggs
50 pounds of wheat
60 pounds of fruit
2,000 pounds of veggies
280 pounds of pork
and 75 pounds of nuts

How encouraging is that? For a homesteader like myself who lives on just over an acre, this is not just food for thought. This is divine agricultural intervention! It gives my brain new possibilities to get lost in.

I am still reading and will likely give a more detailed report when I finish. But with my own gardens to prepare for and two new seed catalogues having just arrived in the mail, I don’t think it will be soon. But make no mistake about it. I recommend this book for its simple, straightforward ways as well as it is robust amount of information.

  • Published on Jan 28, 2010
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