Sunday, February 2, 2014

5 Acres and a Dream

I love to read. When I was younger, my book of choice was a good crime fiction. Patricia Cornwell, anyone? As time has gone by, my library of homesteading and real food books has increased. Barbara Kingsolver and Michael Pollan inspired me to take a more in depth look at what I was consuming. After we purchased our property, my bookshelf expanded to include books on chicken keeping, keeping a family cow, and other homesteading books. I also have a few memoir type books from other farmers and homesteaders.

As one of my birthday gifts, my mother in law got me the new book "5 Acres & A Dream The Book." I had never heard of the title or Leigh's popular blog. I checked out the blog and got to reading. I became hooked quite quickly!

Leigh's book is neither a how to book nor a memoir. She outlines the ongoing journey she and her husband Dan are in to becoming self-reliant. She goes into some detail discussing what it means to be self reliant vs. self sufficient. Is it possible for someone to be completely self sufficient? Probably not. But, self reliance is a goal that is attainable.

One of the things that inspired me the most was the development of Leigh and Dan's master plan. They laid out their 5 acres and assigned area to specific objectives. It is an ever changing plan, but it helps to focus Leigh and Dan. I love this idea and it has the wheels turning in my head for our farm. We have 53 acres to work with and we initially plotted out a rough idea of where we wanted things. We haven't looked at it since we built our house. As we are approaching our third summer of living in our house, we are starting to expand gardens, add chickens, and start our vineyard. A master plan is something we are going to start working on soon.

Leigh doesn't sugar coat this lifestyle. When dealing with animals and nature, changes don't occur overnight. Sometimes it takes a year of trial and error, or several years, to see if a breeding program or garden spot is going to be successful. And hard decisions sometimes have to be made. Leigh talks about some decisions that weren't easy, but necessary.

It's encouraging to see a couple doing what they love. Through trial and error, they are making progress toward their goals. Leigh and Dan are empty nesters, so they are starting their journey a little later than we have started ours. We are fortunate that we built our home from scratch and have that out of the way. Now we can focus our efforts on developing other areas of our homestead. Leigh and Dan have made great strides in improving their 90 year old home and each decision is made with the future in mind.

If you're looking for a book that will challenge your thinking and inspire you to pursue your homesteading goals, you should definitely check out Leigh's book. It's self published, too, which is way cool!

Happy Homesteading, friends!

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