Helen and Scott Nearing on Living the Good Life (a tale of homesteading)

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I have always been inspired to homestead, but have recently began reading The Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing, originally published in 1954. These two are incredible examples of setting homestead goals and not only achieving them, but taking the Gold! If you're feeling down and out and need some inspiration, or simply looking for good reading material, I highly suggest this book. Helen discusses their principles to homesteading, how and why they build their stone house in the forest, gardening techniques, what they ate and how they maintained a vegetarian diet (I eat meat, but her ideals are quite persuasive from a homesteading and economical standpoint) and more!

Also, I get no benefit from this but if you can't find a book you want from your local library, check out Thriftbooks.com. The only way I'll buy books from here on out!

For more info on the Nearings and a chance to apply for a summer residency to live at, and help maintain the Nearing farm check out goodlife.org.

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Their stone house, greenhouse, and garden:
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baymule

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I like this post. I bet this book has inspired lots of people.
 

farmerjan

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It's a good book and their policy on deep mulch that you never remove, never till the garden, just keep adding is very interesting. Good old salt of the Earth New Englanders... The real kind of Yankees, ones that were thrifty and lived simple lives.
 
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It's a good book and their policy on deep mulch that you never remove, never till the garden, just keep adding is very interesting. Good old slat of the Earth New Englanders... The real kind of Yankees, ones that were thrifty and lived simple lives.
I was already going to try a no-till method but I don’t think I mulched enough this year. I’ve also realize I am growing all of the wrong things at the wrong time. Instead of some sputtering cabbages I could have used all that space for more shelling beans. Shelling beans are all done producing now. I could have had more beans, ripped them up, THEN planted the brassicas. I am still going to plant some winter kale, but I’ll double down on my efforts next year.
 

Mini Horses

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This book and couple were featured in Mother Earth News, many years ago. While this is a viable method, it does NOT happen at once. Your original soil, site and area are factors. Then the mulches and composting time play into it. It's a good gardening method after it gets started. Yes, planning which plants work best within the growing season is sure best. In my area, most years, some things will actually grow outside way into winter. Maybe extra mulch but, still "store" out there and be harvested.
 
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This book and couple were featured in Mother Earth News, many years ago. While this is a viable method, it does NOT happen at once. Your original soil, site and area are factors. Then the mulches and composting time play into it. It's a good gardening method after it gets started. Yes, planning which plants work best within the growing season is sure best. In my area, most years, some things will actually grow outside way into winter. Maybe extra mulch but, still "store" out there and be harvested.
Oh yeah they mention their first years were tough harvests and it took decades to have their vibrant harvests. I was actually going to link to that Mother Earth news article but decided not to. I read some place that the Nearings “flunked” a soil test for the soil being “too rich.” For the size of my gardens, I have two and they are both larger than the average kitchen garden, I REALLY need to get to work on my competing!!
 

Britesea

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LOL. I would say the size and quality of their harvests would give the lie to the business about their soil being "too rich".
 
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I need that book
If you’re up for buying it new, buy it straight from their Good Life website because donations go to the organization. If not, check out thrift books.com. It’s where I usually get my books! I’ve greatly enjoyed reading this one!
 

baymule

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My garden at our old house had beautiful soil--after years of Composting with chicken and horse manure, leaves, grass clippings and everything I could get my hands on. I could take a garden fork and push it down with one hand.

Then we moved here on sugar sand like a beach with no ocean. We have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at it and if it would help, I'd throw the sink at it. Finally, after 6 years, I have pretty decent soil in the garden.
 
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