By now you may have heard that the suburban farm has moved to the country. Even on 5 acres, I would still define it as a micro or hobby farm. In fact, I still do a lot of suburban-type farming such as planting in containers on my back deck and growing in raised beds. That may surprise people considering the “space” that I have now. But the fact is that I share that space with a lot of deer and other wildlife — not to mention that I have horses and goats. So, to utilize my land I have to cross-fence with TALL fencing if I want to grow on the acreage.
At one time many years ago, we lived in this same vicinity, but I’m having to re-learn some of the skills I acquired back then. We tried many things on out little farm at that time but some of the things we’re doing in the country now are new to us. One thing I do remember is to listen to the folk that have been there and done that. Amazingly, just before we made the big move, The Joy of Hobby Farming: Grow Food, Raise Animals, and Enjoy a Sustainable Life by Michael and Audrey Levatino showed up at my door.
With their friendly voices and can-do tone, Michael and Audrey Levatino have not only written this book from hands-on hobby farming experience, but the passion that they have for the country lifestyle comes through loud and clear. It’s this type of voice in a book that excites me. For example, take a look at this passage:
“Hobby farming embraces the idea that smaller is better. Better tasting foods, both plant and animal, come from small farms that don’t use intensive cultivation methods to increase profits. Hobby farming profits come mostly from the reddest heirloom tomatoes, grown with personal attention and careful handling; the freshest eggs with firm, orange yolks, made by chickens who have fresh air and room to roam; and the hardiest, most gorgeous flowers that retain their brilliance for weeks in a vase. The profits aren’t always monetary — you’ll have a stronger body and mind gained from hours of personal fulfillment working on the land.”
And if that wasn’t enough to make me devour this book — this was the closer:
“Unless you’re independently wealthy or have inherited your farm, you’re probably going to keep or find a job outside of the farm to pay your mortgage or rent. That’s why it’s called hobby farming. It doesn’t mean that you’re not taking it seriously; it means that you’re realistic and practical. After all, diving headlong into this particular economic situation (surviving on farming alone) has ruined countless well-intentioned people.”
The bold type is mine. I kept thinking, ” I have found my people.”
From finding your farm (and asking all the right questions), to growing food, flowers and raising animals. The Joy of Hobby Farming is an excellent introduction to the reality of hobby farming the truth about the work involved. The last section goes into running your farm as a business and once again gives you some tools that you may not have been equipped with before picking up this book in the form of the right questions that need answering to become successful.
There are lovely pictures and excellent side bars throughout the book that only served to egg my hobby farming passion forward. In fact, they’ve given me some better ideas than I originally had for our place here at Hawk Hill.
Basically, they’re my kind of people that wrote my kind of book.
The Joy of Hobby Farming: Grow Food, Raise Animals, and Enjoy a Sustainable Life
Authors: Michael and Audrey Levatino
Softcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing (April 2011)
Check out what else the Levatino’s are up to at Ted’s Last Stand.com.
A copy of “The Joy of Hobby Farming” was sent to me for the purpose of review. That said, all of the views and comments in this article are honest and all mine.