Sunday, January 10, 2010

across the water

I picked up a magazine at Tractor Supply a few weeks ago because it looked interesting, but I had never seen it before. It was called Home Farmer, and was about small scale farming and homesteading, with a heavy focus on backyard livestock. I scooped it up, checked out, and then let it sit on my coffee table for a while before I really dug into it. Last night after sewing (and two episodes of HBO's John Adams - which is wonderful) I started paging through it. It was wonderful! Turns out I wasn't familiar with it because it's a British publication. But I was so thrilled reading it because it was like sitting in someone's backyard in England and being shown around their gardens and coops. (Let me tell you something, the British have perfected backyard bird homes. Check out and Framebow.) Anyway, my favorite take away from the magazine is how universal homesteading is. This was an English magazine, but could easily apply to someone in New York or Portland. Same animals, same desires, same understanding that freedom isn't in our bank accounts or the cars we drive—it's right past the garden gate.

This is one of my favorite things about backyard farming- everyone needs to eat, and we all want to eat a little better. To some that means a better restaurant and to others it means a hen house and a veggie garden. I'll always be on the second side of those options, but I'm just thrilled the later is so well understood 5,000 miles away.


Blogger Laura said...

There is definitely a mindset that goes with backyard farming that is universal. Knowing what it takes to keep livestock alive in the dead of winter, while holding down a full time job in many of our cases and the understanding that is is always a work in progress, never complete. I will have to look for that one at Tractor Supply. Congrats on the final payment on the Subaru, I know thats such a good feeling!

January 10, 2010 at 10:38 AM  
Blogger English Animist said...

Congrats on paying off your car loan and thanks for the magazine recommendation. I just found their web site and signed up for their newsletter. Looks like a great magazine.

Fingers crossed that everything works out for the cabin.

January 10, 2010 at 10:51 AM  
Blogger Lorna Jean said...

I find it interesting how much we, as an American society (I cannot comment much on other countries), have distanced ourselves from our homesteading past-suburbs that don't allow chickens, whole communities that don't have gardens, etc. I wonder sometimes if it's how we want to define modern and forward-thinking? Is this part of our definition of "civilized?" I hope not. I currently live in a country that has gone from bedu to booming modern cities in less than thirty years. Such fast growth comes with growing pains-infrastructure problems! Yet, I have wealthy neighbors (nationals, not expats) who live in grand estates with vast gardens. And chickens. And goats. It makes me smile.
As for home, I hope the current trend toward urban and suburban homesteading continues, and expands!

Wishing you the best in your search for a new home--how frightening, yet exciting at the same time :)

January 10, 2010 at 10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oooh, that John Adams mini is awesome! I learned more history watching that than I did in all my years of schooling, and it's sticking: I can answer Jeopardy questions from that time period now!

I just love Paul Giamatti. If I were to make a movie, he'd be in it.

January 10, 2010 at 11:49 AM  
Blogger unpackingtreasure said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

January 10, 2010 at 1:26 PM  
Blogger unpackingtreasure said...

Hey,there..would you show pics of the messenger bag...and is there a tutorial??

January 10, 2010 at 1:28 PM  
Blogger bookjunky said...

I love the "Chickens On Trial" thing on What a neat idea for people who are hesitant to get into chicken farming - a 4 week trial (or lease really).

The Brits have John Seymour, who of course is one of the most famous homesteading gurus. His books are so wonderful and inspirational.

January 10, 2010 at 2:25 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Montero said...

I can attest to the genius design of the Forsham arks. We have 7 different hen houses in the garden and that one ticks all the boxes. It's lasted nearly a decade now (with a bit of TLC).

There don't seem to be any restrictions on keeping livestock in your backyard here. At least in 15 yrs I've never had any problems.

There are even urban shepherds now, as we've figured out that keeping green spaces under control with man & machine is less efficient and costs more than a simple flock of sheep.

Congrats on officially owning your car, and good luck with the hunt for a permanent residence for you and all the critters.

January 10, 2010 at 3:47 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...

I'll have to check this out! I recently found 'Organic Gardening', you may like that one too.

January 10, 2010 at 4:49 PM  
Blogger arkman said...

Hello All .

I thank you Jenny for your recommendation and also the flattering remarks from 'book junky'.

My wife Cindy and I started Forsham Cottage Arks here in the UK thirty one years ago primarily to make a some money to keep the bank of our scent. Back then only real old timers kept hens and they where few and far between . We were relatively young and deemed a bit weird to hanker after keeping chickens and growing our own beans, we were so far off the wall folks would peer thought the hedge at us .

I have over the past year or so been jotting down some 'events and happenings' from those first days. I apologise in advance for the poor grammar spelling and punctuation. Back in in 1957 if you could not spell you were labelled THICK ! now its called dyslexia………. Like keeping poultry I was a bit ahead of the game


Regards and My God Bless ……… Rob

January 11, 2010 at 8:36 AM  
Blogger CallieK said...

Here in Toronto we are pushing to legalize raising chickens in the city. Vancouver okayed it last year and my hope is we'll see backyard chickens here soon! Of course this is the province that had to repeal a clothesline ban last year- clotheslines were considered 'unsightly'. It amazes me that passing such laws in the first place was considered progress at some point.

January 11, 2010 at 10:02 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

Check out this British blog- I think you'll like it:

She calls it "Stumbling Self-sufficiency in a Small Space".

I'll have to keep a look out for the Home Farmer mag...

January 12, 2010 at 1:37 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

I picked up my first copy last month. It's full of great articles!

January 19, 2010 at 5:54 PM  
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