A couple of months ago I was approached by a book publisher about doing a review on a book about hobby farming.
At first, I wasn’t too keen on the idea because I really do not consider myself a hobby farmer, and the subject is not really within the scope of this site.
After a little consideration I decided to accept the book offer.
I have always had an interest in homesteading and living a more sustainable lifestyle, so I felt like hobby farming fit right in with those ideals.
The book is simply titled The Joy of Hobby Farming: Grow Food, Raise Animals, and Enjoy a Sustainable Life, is written by Michael and Audrey Levantino, and published by Skyhorse Publishing.
At first glance, I immediately noticed the book was pretty healthy, coming in at over 240 pages, and featured a very nice looking front cover with pictures of cattle, chickens, and honey.
It gives a nice sense of what the book is about just in case the title is confusing.
In a nutshell, the authors give their story of how they went from living in the big city to operating a hobby farm. Michael and Audrey were growing weary of the big city life and had dreams of living on a small farm out in the country.
So, they loaded up the truck and moved to….. rural Virginia.
The Joy of Hobby Farming documents everything they experienced from their big move. It details their successes, their failures, what they did right, what they did wrong, and how you can learn from all of this.
The book is broken into four main parts:
Part One – Place
Part One gives fantastic instructions on everything you need to know about choosing the perfect location for a hobby farm of your own. I was very impressed with the amount of detail that was given to this part.
They cover everything from the search process, choosing a realtor, finding the right house and outbuildings, and whether you should buy, rent or lease.
There is even detailed information on inspecting the wells and sewer systems, heating and cooling systems, and a whole bunch more.
I don’t think the authors left a stone unturned when it comes to finding the place to start your hobby farm, or homestead.
Part Two – Growing Things
Part Two delves into my favorite part of the book. This part goes into the garden placement, the layout and preparation of the garden, composting, and much more.
There is an entire chapter dedicated to growing food, and another on growing flowers. You can find some very valuable information in this part, especially the chapter on extending the growing season. They offer solid ways to get the most out of your garden by taking steps to increase the length of your growing season.
Part Three – The Care of Living Creatures
I couldn’t relate much to Part Three because I live in an urban area, and anything other than a dog or cat will get you a fine from the friendly folks downtown. Regardless, I found this section to be very interesting and enlightening.
Michael and Audrey share their philosophy on raising animals, basics for caring for chickens, cows, goats, and even the husbandry of bees. They cover important topics like selecting healthy animals, veterinarian costs, and helpful information on proper housing.
Even if you never plan to own any livestock, this is a great read none the less.
Part Four – Running Your Farm as a Business
Part Four gets down to the unsexy part of hobby farming – trying to make money from it. The authors go into nice detail about getting the most from all your production by learning how to barter and make some cash from Farmer’s Markets and other sources.
You can also find great information on how to sell your produce to local markets and restaurants.
I will honestly say that I was thoroughly surprised when reading The Joy of Hobby Farming. It serves up practical advice with real-life experiences that forms a complete guide for hobby farming.
There is a good mixture of full-color images that really highlight the points of the book. It is very easy to read and understand. The authors do an excellent job of taking a topic that is not really all that sexy, and making it personable and appealing.
There is such a diverse mix of information you could almost say it is a real estate book, gardening book, livestock husbandry book, and small business book all rolled into one.
If you have dreams of owning your own hobby farm some day, or are just interested in the subject, then I believe The Joy of Hobby Farming is your go-to resource.
A review copy of The Joy of Hobby Farming was supplied to me by the publisher, Skyhorse Publishing. This did not have any bearing on the outcome of my review, and no payment was received for a review, or mention, of this book.
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