Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Book review: Mini Farming - Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre

This looked like an interesting book, so I checked it out from the library.

I don't think it's intended to be an in-depth manual but more of an overview.  The flaws I noticed included some missing information in the chapter talking about converting a hand grain mill to a huller about the rubber disk to be inserted into the device.  I didn't like the advice the author gave about composting chicken waste after slaughtering; the preferred method is incineration or burying and while the author discounts the 'many composting books that say not to', living in a semi-wooded are with mice and other rodents, I don't plan on putting chicken guts in my compost pile, thankyouverymuch.

The author recommends the addition of peat moss to the soil.  Since peat is currently harvested at non-sustainable levels, and given that it takes hundreds of years to form, alternatives like coir [which performs on a par with peat] are preferable. 

The author shows and describes one method of killing chickens, by cutting off their heads [holding the head with beak closed and using a knife].  There are other methods that probably would work better for beginners, and his plucker doesn't look very safe, nor does he describe its use.  See this site for information on making a safe, quick and easy plucker as well as a scalder.

I also notice that the book isn't well indexed; index entries refer to pages past the beginning of topics, like the index wasn't re-done one final time and checked.

All in all, I'd give this a B- or C+.  I won't be buying a copy, but check it out and decide for yourself.