Publisher's Comments (cont.)
Today, as people become more eco-conscious and concerned with `carbon footprints' and other pressing environmental matters, their thoughts are turning towards a simpler, greener way of life, in which they are producers rather than consumers. This is not a book about self-sufficiency, however, but a guide to getting the best out of what available land you have, by growing a few vegetables, or even having some animals about the place, provided the space is large enough to support them. Even something as small as a city window sill may still be utilized to provide a little fresh produce for the table.
The ideal situation, however, is a house with a large garden; this can be converted into a small hobby farm, with a vegetable plot, poultry, and a few hives of bees, while a larger area may support a couple of goats or pigs. Think even bigger, and there could be chickens ranging free, or even a small flock of sheep, while 10 acres (40000m2) or so would provide space enough to grow hay and forage crops in support of any livestock you may have, or you may think of establishing an orchard that will provide a variety of fruits.
A backyard farm may be one that is maintained without thought of earning income, or it may be intended to provide a sideline income, or run as part of a lifestyle choice. Alternatively, it may be regarded simply as recreational land, to be enjoyed by the whole family, being a place where a few animals are kept, not only for the pleasure of having them around, but also for the enjoyment of what they can produce, be it new-laid eggs, milk for turning into home-made butter, or even honey.
Most people already know how to grow a few flowers, and it is a simple matter to develop this skill by learning to grow more things to eat. This need not be a daunting prospect, the secret being to start slowly and add something more to your repertoire each year. Remember that this will prove satisfying and enjoyable - a means of reducing the stress of modern life and not adding to it. When working with soil and growing things, time seems to slow down, and with it the troublesome thoughts that invade the mind. Soon you will find yourself appreciating your oasis of peace and calm in an otherwise frantic world. You will also have more confidence in the food you have produced yourself, knowing that it has been grown with love and in as natural a way as possible.
Terry Bridge lives in Somerset, England, with his wife Vanessa and children Jake and Katie. He has been working his smallholding for at least 20 years, growing his own vegetables and fruit. He also keeps chickens, bees and a Jersey cow called Gladys. He contributes regularly to magazines and books on the benefits of living a greener, more self-sufficient life.