The Virginia Hobby Farm
Farming for Self Sufficiency
Perhaps you are the individual who possesses all means of financial resources, and your farm is more about fulfilling a wish rather than a need. A Virginia countryside farm can be more about product and less about profit.
A farmer more concerned with lifestyle than economics is seeking a farm that may provide an aesthetic Shenandoah Valley backdrop to his or her life. A “soundtrack” of comfortable, contented animals, peaceably grazing in the fertile Jamestown River basin, even a soulful uplift as your spirits mingle with those of the kinder, lesser beasts.
One manifestation of this lifestyle choice is detailed in the book “Farming for Self-Sufficiency” by John Seymour. Seymour takes us on an introduction to the odyssey of farming for your own sustenance. On as little as 5 acres, an individual and family can raise almost everything they need for a life free from the clock.
Seymour covers the vast range of foods and products necessary for the charmed existence:
- The Finer Things
Seymour explains this most productive aspect of farming. The result of receiving milk in exchange for food and watching your fields improve as you spread and till the resulting manure is an enriching tale. The commitment is great but the reward is stirring, as you shepherd this great beast toward a synergistic existence.
Seymour covers the practicality of owning a dairy cow, or sharing the responsibilities with a like minded neighbor. The husbandry of cow and the ultimate use of the necessary occasional calf is explained as are the processes of making cheese and butter.
Seymour covers the day to day requirements of raising your own beef, pork or mutton. Occasionally he delves a little further than most sensitivities are prepared to deal with, but the realistic portrayal is a necessary education for those that wish to raise their meat animals for consumption.
Seymour writes at length about the uses of many grains. Wheat, rye and barley have functions beyond the making of bread. Each in it’s own way returns nutrients and mineral balance to the soil while providing the farmer with the ingredients for a healthy diet.
The Finer Things
What would be the good of all this natural work and sweat be were it not for the ability to create your own fineries? Making your own beer or wine are rewards for jobs well done as well as possible points of higher revenues.
And what life would be called complete were it not for the pleasures of cultivating and storing your own fruits and nuts?
Farming is not for the sedentary. But it is for the vigorous who want the better things in their life that come from the security of providing for yourself, and increasing your own sense of independence while becoming a part of the land you love.