Full of facts and figures, this book is what you need if you are seriously considering setting up a smallholding. Adrian doesn’t hold back with the reality of both the financial and emotional investment you will need to be a smallholder. It is refreshing to read about the mistakes made and occasional animal lost. I highly recommend this book.
I really enjoyed this book because it mixes it real life anecdotes with information useful for someone thinking about moving to a smallholding. It is therefore very engaging and not “just another book about how to live off the land”. I found it also to be a very honest book in as far as it might even put someone off taking the leap into the smallholder life! It basically spells out that unless you have another job of some sort you are not going to make ends meet no matter how many eggs you intend to sell by the side of the road. I liked this approach because it encourages you to think very carefully before throwing yourself into investing in pigs, sheep, cows or whatever you have in mind. Personally I had absolutely no idea sheep were such hard work and for so little return! My eyes have really been opened, next time I drive along a road and see a field of sheep and lambs I will spare a thought for the farmers and shepherds working away behind the scenes for ridiculously long hours in all kinds of weather. I found the tables on “how much profit can be made” on each animal very illuminating. Also the charts on what each animal needs. It is certainly food for thought because I now know that the smallholder life is not by any means a cheap and cheerful life, it is quite an expensive life, especially at the beginning with all the infrastructure needing putting in place and investment in livestock. I can now see why many smallholders run courses or sell high value or unusual items, just to make their animals pay for their hay, let alone turn a profit. I would absolutely still consider the smallholder life, it has been a dream of mine for a very long time, but after reading this book I will now be thinking about ways to balance a part time job with running a smallholding as opposed to simply living off the land.