Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Five Acres

I have been re-reading my ancient copy of "Five Acres and Independence: A Handbook for Small Farm Management" by M.G. Kains.  This practical book aboutthe realities of farming a modest sized spread has a wealth of information and guidance to help someone succeed both at farming the land and raising a family there.  In his introduction, he quotes from H.W. Wiley, author of "The Lure of the Land":

"Many a wreck has been the result of taking the family to the country, and afterwords having part or all of it become thoroughly dissatisfied.  There are many rough realities in a life of this kind that it takes the poetry out of the visions of joy, peace, contentment and success that arise in the minds of many."

One might also add that the realities of country life are such that preppers would profit from reading this book.  Anyone who has recently taken up their abode in the country and is trying to garden on a large scale for the first time, and going through the learning pains of maintaining a young orchard, new hives of bees knows what I speak of.  There is so much to learn and it seems like you have to learn it all at once.

This book was first printed in 1935, and is still in reprint today, and has 52 chapters of practical information.  And he didn't hesitate to quote from older authorities.  One important quote which I think is relevant in today's financial "climate" is from David S. Kelsey, author of "Kelsey's Rural Guide":

"Almost any farm needs a much larger working capital than the proprietor provides.  The more successful the farm is, the more it absorbs or ties up capital."

For anyone who is "going back to the land" as a preparedness measure, the stark reality is that you are unlikely to make a living at farming for a long time, if ever under the current economic system.  It's value for you is going to lie in its potential value when all goes to hell in a hand-basket.  This is one investment that should be protected. 

Mr. Kains wrote a number of books that would be useful to someone who wishes to keep chickens, or grow fruit.  However, only Five Acres and Independence: A Handbook for Small Farm Management is currently in print.

Check out these other books he has written:

Ginseng, Its Cultivation, Harvesting, 1902
Making Horticulture Pay, Experiences in Gardening and Fruit Growing, 1909
Culinary Herbs, 1912
Plant Propagation: Greenhouse and Nursery Practice, 1916
Home Fruit Grower, 1918
Profitable Poultry Production, 1920
The Principles and Practice of Pruning, 1922

These books are all available in PDF, kindle or ePUB format.