Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Gifts for the Beginning Farmer...

I realize that doing is much better than reading ... but, you can't put doing on a Christmas list (at least yet, maybe we have our own place then we can ask people to do stuff!). So, this year my Christmas wish list was littered with what I hope will be some good reading material. I only have one chapter left in "The Contrary Farmer", so these books arrived at the right time.

Here are three books I received this year:

  • Harris on the Pig :: Practical Hints for the Pig Farmer :: This book was written by Joseph Harris and first published in 1883. Some would look at the date and think the book was out dated, but I see that date and know that the book will be full of useful information. Mr. Harris writes about selecting breeds, building pens and buildings, feeding, and other interesting tidbits. The farmers of yesteryear knew what was going on and they raised their pigs on a diverse farm much like we intend building so I think this will be a helpful resource.

  • Dirt Hog :: A Hands-On Guide to Raising Pigs Outdoors ... Naturally :: You may be noticing a pattern here! I have read good things about this book and mediocre things about this book, so I will just have to see for myself. Just with all things in life I'm sure I can learn from it even if it isn't the most helpful thing ever written. It contains many of the how-to's that the Harris book does, but it also attacks pig raising specifically from the pasture based angle. It also includes information on marketing (which is helpful) and on selection and breeding. This book by Kelly Klober looks pretty interesting so I'm not sure which pig book I will read first!

  • Making Your Small Farm Profitable :: Here is a book by Ron Macher, the publisher of Small Farm Today magazine, about some of the nuts and bolts involved in making a profit on your farm. Of course it talks about marketing and developing markets, but it also talks about maximizing your net profit per acre and Mr. Macher throws out 25 principles he believes you should follow (you gotta have principles if you are doing a how-to book). I'm not looking for practical working farm knowledge from this book, but I do hope it adds to my knowledge base when it comes to the "business" of a small farm.

As with other books that I have read I will be giving a little book report after each chapter. I find this helps me retain more information and provides a resource for others who are thinking about adding these books to their libraries.

Oh, I guess I did receive one more farming related gift... a nice straw hat so I don't come home with many more sunburns on the neck. It's alway nice to try and keep the skin cancer at bay!

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