by Oscar H. Will III & Karen K. Will
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: New Society (January, 2013)
When I first read the title of this book, Plowing with Pigs I wasn't sure it would be the right read for me. I don't have pigs, and I don't intend to have pigs. But the subtitle, and Other Creative, Low-Budget Homesteading Solutions, told me to take a look. I'm glad I did!
Authors Oscar and Karen Will combine their knowledge and experience in homesteading, farming, gardening, resourcing and cooking with their creative writing skills to inspire the reader to "make better use of readily available renewable resources" and strive for a simpler, healthier lifestyle.
Like many people who consider themselves modern homesteaders, I crave a way of life that more closely resembles that of our grandparents and great-grandparents who lived closer to the land, raising animals and food that is healthy and untainted by the modern practices of using chemicals and genetically modifying our food sources.
Plowing With Pigs gives us a look at the past when farm animals were not raised in restrictive enclosures but were valued as hard working farm hands who "thrive at doing what comes quite naturally to them," and "are among the most likely to partner with you on the labor required around your place."
This easy read provides very practical insights and instructions for making use of your property elements and resources for the "creation of sturdy fences, structures and tools that will benefit your place and your pocketbook."
Plowing With Pigs also includes several chapters on how to grow and harvest crops and then turn them into forage for your animals or food for your table. The authors' conviction and detailed information makes it possible to envision "a society that values do-it-yourself skills" as they "encourage you to try the methods that make sense in your particular setting rather than blindly following some list of rules from some expert."
The concluding section of the book, "Home(stead) as a Production Center" contains some heartwarming chapters on cooking from scratch (including lots of great recipes), upgrading your kitchen on a budget, and how to run a home-based food business. From the first chapter to the last, the Wills remind us that "recycling is the name of the game on the homestead, so don't overlook anything."
I was delightfully enthralled by Plowing With Pigs for its nostalgic look at the past, practical, useful information on "how to" be a homesteader today, and the wide gamut of topics that were covered in an easy-to-read, interesting and very instructional format. It has something (and much) for everybody!