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"Paradise" is no fable of spirit. It is inspirational and healing. No doubt you have met my father or at least aspects of a Walter, born in '26, tied to the farm no matter his circumstances. He farmed with a dozer and rather well at times. I write you here to tell the reclaimation of spirit and family. At 75 now he has built his planting 'rig' and is on top of the world with satisfaction.
We've always got along fantastic, he and I, but apart; deeply apart. I am determined now, to learn that dozer, that crane, that rig, to make a paradise from paradise lost. Hear the walls fall, the walls I put up, the walls I push away with his "Alice".
You and your generation are the "optomists supreme", practical and pragmatic to perfection. Cheeers!
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I am planning to buy 10 acres for a cottage farm as I sort out how I will spend the rest of my life. I have no answers yet, but I will leave The Contrary Farmer on the lamp table instead of placing it in the bookshelf with the other 'books'.
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Amidst his (admittedly spot on) diatribes about industrial farming, government meddling, and modern day prohibitionists he does manage to paint a lovely picture of the garden as the embodiment of the urge to simplicity and living close to the land. Further, he makes it clear that the reader can start whereever they already are, even if it means growing a few plants in a window box.
There is plenty of practical advice, but it is delivered anecdotally. There aren't any pictures or diagrams, but he describes his compost heated seed starting bed so well that one doesn't need a diagram. Likewise for what he calls mulch-bed gardening (basically lasagna gardening). The topics covered include the reason for gardening, vegetable gardening, small scale livestock husbandry (read: pet chickens, at least until they quit laying and end up in the stew pot), and aquatic gardening (ponds and such).
The key thing to keep in mind is that this book is an invitation to gardening, and not a primer or a manual. If you are looking for a how-to guide, this isn't your best book. If you are wondering whether you might enjoy gardening, or if you are already a gardener and you need something to do between the first frost and the last frost, this is an excellent read.
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