Book Review of The Backyard Homestead: Produce All The Food You Need On Just A Quarter Acre!

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Helpful Score: 15


So often I find myself wondering, "But how do you get to this point?" while reading a book.

A good example is: Once, when reading instructions in a cookbook, I was told to zest a lemon. That stopped me cold. What in the world does that mean? Granted I grew up in the 70s and in a family where "haute cuisine" meant the chemicals in the boxes had more syllables than usual. Thank goodness I could turn to "the Joy of Cooking" for answers in those dark days before the internet had such common knowledge!

My frustration level gets pretty high with most gardening books. My parents didn't garden and everyone I know are struggling with gardens and incomplete information. Going to my local garden center, chances are high that they neither have the time nor thing information themselves. If you can get the local extension agent to give you a call/shoot you an email, my hat is off to you. I wish authors would stop recommending the latter option. I don't even think such a thing exists! Heck, I couldn't get a local Gardening Club to give me information!

Authors generally make assumptions that you know basics. Perhaps you have hung around enough homesteaders but you certainly you have enough vocabulary to have picked up *their* awesome book. Ms. Madigan does not make those assumptions. She merely assumes that you are smart enough to be interested in the urban/suburban/homesteading/microfarm movements but not that you have the vocabulary or access to people to teach that vocabulary to you without exorbitant fees.

Most of us didn't grow up on farms and most of us interested in this movement are trying to find a way to not be forced to buy so-called organic produce that is twice as expensive but just as tasteless as the regular produce (for example). As such, Ms. Madigan's succinct, accessible writing style fill in many of those basic skill gaps to give us a more informed jumping off point. A decent appendix includes a good number of resources to get more focused information in areas that interest you a bit more!