Sunday, November 9, 2008

Preface

THE man who feeds his cattle on a thousand hills may possibly see the title of this little volume paraded through the newspapers; but the chances are that he will never think it worth while to look into the volume itself. The owner of a hundred acres will scarcely step out of his way to purchase or to borrow it, while the lord of every smaller farm will be sure it is not intended for him. Few persons belonging to these several classes have been educated to believe Ten Acres Enough. Born to greater ambition, they have aimed higher and grasped at more, sometimes wisely, sometimes not. Many of these are now owning or cultivating more land than their heads or purses enable them to manage properly. Had their ambition been moderate, and their ideas more practical, their labor would be better rewarded, and this book without doubt would have found more readers.

The mistaken ambition for owning twice as much land as one can thoroughly manure or profitably cultivate, is the great agricultural sin of this country. Those who commit it, by beginning wrong, too frequently continue wrong. Owning many acres is the sole idea. High cultivation of a small tract, is one of which they have little knowledge. Too many in these several classes think they know enough. They measure a man's knowledge by the number of his acres. Hence, in their eyes the owner of a plot so humble as mine must know so little as to be unable to teach them any thing new.

Happily, it is not for these that I write, and hence it would be unreasonable to expect them to become readers. I write more particularly for those who have not been brought up as farmers -- for that numerous body of patient toilers in city, town, and village who, like myself, have struggled on from year to year, anxious to break away from the bondage of the desk, the counter, or the workshop, to realize in the country even a moderate income, so that it be a sure one. Many such are constantly looking round in this direction for something which, with less mental toil and anxiety, will provide a maintenance for a growing family, and afford a refuge for advancing age -- some safe and quiet harbor, sheltered from the constantly recurring monetary and political convulsions which in this country so suddenly reduce men to poverty. But these inquirers find no experienced pioneers to lead the way, and they turn back upon themselves, too fearful to go forward alone. Books of personal experience like this are rare. This is written for the information of the class referred to, for men not only willing, but anxious to learn. Once, in the same predicament myself, I know their longings, their deficiencies, and the steps they ought to take. Hence, in seeking to make myself fully understood, some may think that I have been unnecessarily minute. But in setting forth my own crudities, I do but save others from repeating them. Yet with all this amplification, my little contribution will occasion no crowding even upon a book shelf which may be already filled.

I am too new a farmer to be the originator of all the ideas which are here set forth. Some, which seemed to be appropriate to the topic in hand, have been incorporated with the argument as it progressed; while in some instances, even the language of writers, whose names were unknown to me, has also been adopted.

Preface from Ten Acres Enough

9 comments:

Serena said...

Do it! Good luck to you, and i'm sure i won't be your only crossover reader! :-)

sylvia said...

very nicely written :)

Lori Skoog said...

We live on a 5.1 acre horse farm and grow organic garlic, and a full summer garden of veggies and flowers. It is a very manageable property. You have a beautiful and talented horse...enjoyed reading your blog.
Lori Skoog

Anonymous said...

Before I realized this was a passage from 10 Acres Enough, I thought to myself, "wow, Daun really takes a more formal tone when writing about the land!"

sylvia said...

and now i see that you did not write the first entry. *slaps self in forehead*

Funder said...

Cool! I'm really looking forward to reading this new blog. I think you might enjoy readingGrass-Fed Cattle. Yeah, it's about medium to large-scale cattle ranching, but it's got some truly fascinating fundamental materials about how pasture work, ecologically, how grazing animals keep the pastures from turning into forest, and how to get your pasture into a self-sustaining balance. I read it over the summer and really enjoyed it.

McFawn said...

Your Extension office will have great nocharge/lowcharge info on pasture management and stuff. It looks like they even have a a beginning and small farm program

They even do pasture walks to check out your setup, etc. I work in Extension in Michigan (though not in ag) so I know they offer great, free support.

Tina said...

Daun,
Congratulations! I hope that you can realize your dream. I'd also love to see you put Brego to WORK as he was intended. You can call it ultimate cross-training!

BritnieAnn said...

wow, I'm glad you didn't write that, it was much too 'bigwordy' for me to even KINDA want to read every word of it. Gah, headache! (it was well written and said I'm sure, don't hurt me!!) ;)