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A lighthearted A-to-Z encyclopedia of farm lore, Barnyard Confidential covers everything you need to know about living in the country, from courting to dealing with manure, root picking to rat catching, winter chores to tractor restoration, hay mows to outhouses … anything and everything related to farm life. Entries from well-known country authors like E. B. White, Gwen Petersen, Roger Welsch and Patricia Penton Leimbach range from funny definitions to full stories and are illustrated throughout with a charming mix of fun, nostalgic, black-and-white photos and illustrations. These stories are both humorous and practical and will remind you why you often have a love-hate relationship with rural living. Before you move to the country (or even if you already live there), learn all the secrets to success from Barnyard Confidential.
Featured authors include: Eric Sloane, Roger Welsch, Gwen Petersen, Ben Logan, Jim Heynen, Bob Artley, Marjorie Myers Douglas, Hamlin Garland, E. B. White, Jerry Stelmok, Louis Bromfield, Bob Becker, William Hazlett Upson, Patricia Penton Leimbach, Jerry L. Twedt, Michael Perry, Willa Cather, Jerry Apps, Josh Billings, Michael Dregni, Jared Van Wagenen Jr., Hugh Orchard, Dorothy Canfield, Virginia Bell Dabney, Tom Anderson, Ronald Jager, Margret Aldrich, Bill Vossler, and Gordon Green.
Author: Melinda Keefe
In an organic garden, plants in optimum health thrive abundantly, produce harvests with amazing taste, and possess the ability to fight off plant predators. When they don't, there's often something lacking in their proper nutrition. Maybe they are missing beneficial microorganism companions, or perhaps they are short of the energy needed to reach their full nutrient-dense potential. The solution is to "start with the soil," but healthy soil doesn't happen just by composting, fertilizing or companion planting alone. The solution can be found in Building Soils Naturally, which gives gardeners a hands-on plan for creating productive, living soil by using a practical, holistic approach - crafted right in your garden.
Author: Phil Nauta
Longtime Maine farmer and homesteader Will Bonsall possesses a unique clarity of vision that extends all the way from the finer points of soil fertility and seed saving to exploring how we can transform civilization and make our world a better, more resilient place.
In Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening, Bonsall maintains that to achieve real wealth we first need to understand the economy of the land, to realize that things that might make sense economically don't always make sense ecologically, and vice versa. The marketplace distorts our values, and our modern dependence on petroleum in particular presents a serious barrier to creating a truly sustainable agriculture.
For him the solution is, first and foremost, greater self-reliance, especially in the areas of food and energy. By avoiding any off-farm inputs (fertilizers, minerals and animal manures), Bonsall has learned how to practice a purely veganic, or plant-based, agriculture—not from a strictly moralistic or philosophical perspective, but because it makes good business sense: spend less instead of making more.
What this means in practical terms is that Bonsall draws upon the fertility of on-farm plant materials: compost, green manures, perennial grasses, and forest products like leaves and ramial wood chips. And he grows and harvests a diversity of crops from both cultivated and perennial plants: vegetables, grains, pulses, oilseeds, fruits and nuts—even uncommon but useful permaculture plants like groundnut (Apios).
In a friendly, almost conversational way, Bonsall imparts a wealth of knowledge drawn from his more than 40 years of farming experience.
"My goal," he writes, "is not to feed the world, but to feed myself and let others feed themselves. If we all did that, it might be a good beginning."
Author: Will Bonsall
You can have fresh, sustainable foods and delicious, handcrafted dishes … right at home!
Vibrant, crisp greens. Juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes. Sweet, mouthwatering strawberries. With Grow. Cook. Preserve., you'll grow sustainable produce right in your own home. Whether you have a giant backyard or just a balcony, this book shows you how to build a thriving garden and feed your family nutritious, homegrown food all year long. From where to plant and what crops to sow to maintaining a balanced ecology, you'll learn everything you need to know about cultivating sustainable foods, including how to:
Whether you're looking to lower your carbon footprint or just want to serve your family fresh, organic meals, Grow. Cook. Preserve. will help you build a sustainable lifestyle from the ground up.
Author: Helen Lynne Culpepper
In his insightful new book, Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind, contrary farmer Gene Logsdon provides the inside story of manure — our greatest, yet most misunderstood, natural resource. He begins by lamenting a modern society that not only throws away both animal and human manure — worth billions of dollars in fertilizer value — but that spends a staggering amount of money to do so. This wastefulness makes even less sense as the supply of mined or chemically synthesized fertilizers dwindles and their cost skyrockets. In fact, he argues, if we do not learn how to turn our manures into fertilizer to keep food production in line with increasing population, our civilization, like so many that went before it, will inevitably decline.
With his trademark humor, his years of experience writing about both farming and waste management, and his uncanny eye for the small but important details, Logsdon artfully describes how to make fertilizer and humus by managing farm manure, pet manure and human manure.
About the author
Gene Logsdon farms in Upper Sandusky, Ohio. He is one of the clearest and most original voices of rural America. He has published more than two dozen books. He writes a popular blog at OrganicToBe.org, is a regular contributor to Farming Magazine and The Draft Horse Journal, and writes an award-winning weekly column in the Ohio Progressor Times.
Recommended Product for Wiser Living: Today, more than ever before, our society is seeking ways to live more conscientiously. To help bring you the very best inspiration and information about greener, more sustainable lifestyles, Mother Earth News is recommending books and products to readers. For more than 40 years, Mother Earth News has been North America’s “Original Guide to Living Wisely,” creating books and magazines for people with a passion for self-reliance and a desire to live in harmony with nature.
Author: Gene Logsdon
Have you ever wanted to build your own chicken coop, cider press or herb-drying rack? How about a clever two-bin composter, horse-blanket washing machine or genuine Langstroth beehive? In Practical Projects for Self-Sufficiency, you'll find these projects and a couple dozen more to help you develop and grow your self-reliant lifestyle. Most self-sufficiency books give you pages of words and a couple of small drawings for an explanation, but this book shows you exactly how to do things, employing beautiful photos and complete plans. The projects are organized into four categories: Food Prep & Preservation, Homestead, Garden and Animals. Among the projects are a simple brooder box for chicks, a jumbo cold frame, a basic loom, a large-capacity soil sifter, fencing, trellises and even a solar oven. So, whether you're a longtime do-it-yourselfer looking to complete your skill set or a newcomer taking your first step toward sustainability, Practical Projects for Self-Sufficiency is the book to get you there.
Author: Chris Peterson
This book turns the compost bin upside down with a natural six-way gardening system of keeping compost heaps right in the garden, rather than in some dark corner behind the garage. The compost and plants live together from the beginning in a nourishing, organic environment.
Author Barbara Pleasant's bountiful, compost-rich gardens require less digging, weeding, mulching and even less planting. And here's one of the best parts — no more backbreaking slogs from compost bin to garden. Pleasant and co-author Deborah Martin even identify the plants that benefit most from compost and how the elements of a composted garden work together. Their natural six-way compost gardening system provides the ruling principles for successfully improving every garden with healthy compost.
Author: Barbara Pleasant/D. Martin
Humanure: waste or resource? Joseph Jenkins answers this question in this guide to reclaiming and recycling human waste through composting. Offers simple and practical solutions anyone can use.
Recommended Product for Wiser Living: Today, more than ever before, our society is seeking ways to live more conscientiously. To help bring you the very best inspiration and information about greener, more sustainable lifestyles, Mother Earth News is recommending books to its readers. For 40 years, Mother Earth News has been North America’s “Original Guide to Living Wisely,” creating books and magazines for people with a passion for self-reliance and a desire to live in harmony with nature.
Author: Joseph Jenkins
Composting has never been easier! Learn how to incorporate Brett Markham's amazing composting techniques to maximize your vegetable output, increase your self-sufficiency, and be kind to the ecosystem.
Markham, author of Maximizing Your Mini Farm: Self-Sufficiency on ¼ Acre, is here to help you get started in this new handbook that covers everything you need to know about composting. Whether it's your mini farm or flower garden that needs nourishment, Markham explains how to compost just about anything you can grow … and reminds us that developing your own composting practices can not only be fun but saves money and encourages self-sufficiency. Learn to make a backyard compost structure with Markham's easy-to-follow directions and learn the science behind how your food scraps become food for plants. In The Mini Farming Guide to Composting you'll find instructions that make composting simple, with checklists, extensive tables, measurements, diagrams and photographs taken by the author.
Author: Brett L. Markham
Around the world, everyone is talking about environmental issues and the concept of “going green.” Natural organic gardening and landscaping are among the most important parts of that movement. Some organic proponents only say to stop using the chemicals. Howard Garrett, in the Organic Manual, explains in detail what to do instead. His “what to do” is the organic method. The book opens with the advice to stop the use of toxic chemicals, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers, but Garrett then goes on, in great detail, about the practical alternatives. This is one of the few books effective for use coast to coast and border to border. The organic method has no geographic boundaries.
The best kept secret of all (uncovered in this book) is that the organic program is better in every way. Whether it’s growing beautiful landscaping or delicious, healthy food crops, the Organic Manual explains bed preparation, planting, pest control, and compost making. It also covers natural living advice. The organic method is the most efficient, most cost effective, and most fun of any approach. It also produces the best trees, shrubs, flowers, fruits, and vegetables that you’ll ever grow.
Author: HOWARD GARRETT
The book begins with a personality test for your soil, then uses that information to plan a course of action for revitalizing poor soil and turning good dirt into great earth. Next, you’ll learn to start and maintain a no-till garden, to balance nutrients with remineralization, and to boost organic matter with easy cover crops
Author: Anna Hess