Monday, April 17, 2017

Review: Welcome to the Farm by Shaye Elliott

Image from NetGalley, blurb from Goodreads
A fresh, new guide to the backyard lifestyle 

The homesteading movement is continuing to grow, as more people are stepping up to have a hand in where their food comes from. Whether you want to dabble or immerse yourself completely in the do-it-yourself, back-to-basics lifestyle, Welcome to the Farm is a comprehensive, fully illustrated guide to growing the very best food right in your own backyard. Shaye Elliott takes readers on a journey that teaches them how to harvest baskets full of organic produce, milk a dairy cow (and make butter), plant a homestead orchard, can jams and jellies, and even raise chickens and bees. From her experience running The Elliott Homestead, Shaye provides all the how-to wisdom you need to know about: 

The benefits of a home garden The basics of seed starting Building your own greenhouse What belongs in the winter garden Canning, freezing, and dehydrating techniques and recipes The pros and cons of caged vs. free-change chickens keeping a dairy cow and what to do with all the milk Raising animals for meat Making your own cider and wine and so much more!
Welcome to the Farm is aimed to serve homesteaders and urban-farmers alike, guiding them through the beginning stages of small-area farming and utilizing whatever amount of space they have available for optimal and delicious food production.

The first thing I have to say about this book is that it is seriously beautiful! I love the cover and the pictures on the inside are just as amazing as the cover. I also love the tone of the writing. Reading it you feel like a friend is teaching you about seeds, and chickens, and canning. I've been trying to get started with a backyard garden for a couple of years and have yet to be successful but this book makes me think I can give it another try! 

There is tons of information here, on everything from different methods of gardening (even ones that can be used on an apartment balcony), to butchering your own livestock. That being said, not everything in this book will be for everyone, and that's okay. I will probably never have to learn the proper way to wean lambs, and honestly I don't think I'd want too, but I still need lots of help with seed choices and what works for container gardening. 

I honestly did not know there was a difference between organic seeds and heirloom seeds before I read this. I had no idea that you could purchase dwarf fruit trees for orchards in smaller areas. I feel like I've learned so much about gardening from this one book. I love that the author included resources for buying seeds and plants, lists of essential tools, and words of encouragement and wisdom from other homesteaders/ supporters. She also has recipes for just about everything, from how to freeze herbs in olive oil to head cheese, and step by step canning instructions so you can preserve all the yummy stuff you make. I love to cook and honestly the recipes are my favorite thing in this book!

This book has me looking at dwarf fruit trees for the new house and checking on city ordinances for goats. I feel like there is a lot of good information here for anyone who wants to take control of where their food comes from, even if that just means growing your own lettuce and seeing how it goes. I intend to buy a paper copy of Welcome to the Farm when it comes out! There is so much to learn here! The only 'complaint' I would say I have is that the section on fruit trees is not near the gardening section, it's after all the info on animals, which isn't really a big deal. So 5 out of 5 stars! Totally recommend!

I was given a free copy of this book from review through NetGalley.

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