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What's it like to homestead?

COUNTRYSIDE: I live (exist) in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Growing up, I would spend the whole day down by the swamps and woods. Today, almost 40 years later, there almost are no woods--I need to drive over an hour to find some open land. Even there, they're building housing developments on what was once farmland.

I'm divorced and my kids are moving out of state (my ex-wife married a guy in the Navy). I'm living in a one-bedroom apartment. It's like planting an oak tree in a flower pot! My kids think my apartment is boring--and I agree.

I've always had a yearning to farm, though I've never been on one. My dad had an uncle who was a farmer. Maybe I have some of his genes, I don't know. But I was wondering if a farmer could tell me/us what it's like to farm and the season-by-season things you do. The good, the bad ... okay, the ugly. You can write to me or the magazine. I think we would all like to know what you go through.--Joe Bissinger, 2E Linden Ave., Apt. R-2, Rutledge PA 19070

According to the latest COUNTRYSIDE survey (2004), 18% of readers live in small towns, 12% live in the suburbs, and 6% live in the city (63% live in a rural area, and 1% didn't answer), so there are probably a number of people who would like to know about the joys of frozen water buckets and the thrill of neighbors calling you at work to tell you your turkeys are in the road. (Okay, I'm joking-sort of.) Is anyone daring enough to send us a one-week day-by-day diary of your homestead life? (Send it to: www.csyeditorial@tds.net or 145 Industrial Dr., Medford, WI 54451.)

In the meantime, to get a feel for homestead life, you might be interested in these books: Homesteading Adventures: A Guide for Doers and Dreamers, by Sue Robishaw (a former COUNTRYSIDE contributor) who describes not only how to do things, but also the elusive way of thinking that motivates homesteaders; Rural Renaissance: Renewing the Quest for the Good Life, by John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist, former Chicago ad executives who now operate an off-grid bed-and-breakfast in southern Wisconsin; and Sylvia's Farm: The Journal of an Improbable Shepherd, the story of a 19th century farm life lived on the cusp of the 21st century, by Sylvia Jorrin. (The first two titles are available from the Countryside Bookstore.)
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Title Annotation:Country conversation & feedback
Author:Bissinger, Joe
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2008
Words:411
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