I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for "how we did it" type books documenting how people transition from urban to rural life. So when I came across The Accidental Farmers, I knew this was a must-read.
Well let me tell you, this book is honest. In sometimes gut-wrenching language, Tim Young describes what it takes to leave behind corporate America and build a farm from the ground up. Unlike the eternally optimistic perfection too often implied in country magazines, Mr. Young's rural journey wasn't all a bed of roses. There were quite a few thorns along the way. The book is riveting in its honesty and refreshing in its unvarnished approach.
The Young's journey began, like so many other urban-to-rural migrations, with the realization of how artificial modern conveniences are. "Urban living is all about convenience," he wrote. "Whatever you need there is a store or solution reasonably close by, easily identifiable by an endless line of traffic in low-speed pursuit. The perceived benefit of this reality is of course subjective. We moved in part due to the box stores that were beginning to encircle us, slowly moving in for the kill on our wallet. Within just a few miles of where we formerly lived was every conceivable type of restaurant, organic grocery store, specialty and large-scale retail, pet grooming, lumber and landscaping centers, malls, concert arenas, professional sports teams, museums, theaters, nightclubs, you name it. We felt drawn to many of these places, I think, simply because they were there."
One of the first things the Youngs discovered in their new location is allergies, which raises a philosophical and unanswerable question: "Does anyone honestly think this was a problem a thousand years ago? We've created such a perfect manmade world that we, the inhabitants who created it, cannot live outside of it."
Characteristic of the success he had in corporate America before chucking it all, Mr. Young and his wife approached their new farm with determination to succeed. "I don't know why I'm so stubbornly drawn to challenges and obstacles," he wrote, "but if it was a challenge my sub-conscious wanted it should now be permanently satiated by taking on sustainable livestock farming." Regarding farming in general and its reputation for being hard work, he wrote, "Still, the need is there and somebody needs to do it, and this fact is what pushed me over the edge."
The book outlines the Young family's journey toward building an organic sustainable farm as well as farm products. It's not always pretty. But when things are pretty, he tells about it. And that's what characterizes rural life in general, particularly when farming for a living instead of a hobby.
Anyway, I highly recommend The Accidental Farmer for a deep and honest read.
So imagine my surprise when Mr. Young contacted me -- me! -- and asked if I wanted to participate in a new book he was writing entitled How to Make Money Homesteading. The premise behind this book is a truthful analysis of how to earn an income in the country, whether it's selling farm-produced goods, or selling skills-based goods or services. The book is excellent and contains the author's characteristic honesty when it comes to rural life. As someone who's always trying to take the rose-colored blinders off country living, this is something I appreciate.
Now Mr. Young has a new blog called The Self-Sufficient Blog. It's a start up but it's great.
I'm impressed with Tim Young's multifaceted approach to country living. He blogs. He writes. He raises organic meat. He makes organic cheeses. He teaches classes. He conducts workshops. In short, he personifies the "many irons in the fire" structure of earning an income that I recommend to anyone living rural.