Every once in a while I feel the internet is one of the best things that happened to me. From being a raw newbie who had a PC forced on me some years ago by my brother (he felt I was sinking into the world of plants and birds and butterflies too much and forgetting all about the modern one) to discovering a whole new world filled with like-minded people with similar interests, has been one of the most amazing journeys of my life.
Best of all, I also discovered that I was not the only one who enjoyed that world of plants and birds and butterflies!
Which is why I'm really excited about this new e-book I'm getting, 'HOW NOT TO MAKE MILLIONS - but still enjoy a rich rural life' .
Is that a great title, or what? It made me go "huh? what was that again?" the first time I read it. I wish I had thought of it first!
With a zinger of a title like that can't you just taste what's in store? I 'met' the author, Alan McDonald, on an online forum a couple of years ago and I don't know if I love his tongue-in-cheek sense of humour more or the very practical solutions he always has to offer. When one has been farming and gardening for around 60 years in places as diverse as Scotland, Portugal and Australia, one does pack a great store of garden wisdom !
'How not to make millions ... ' began as a series of notes when Alan started jotting down his experiences as a gardener and farmer, recording what and what not to do in the future. His intention, partly, was to create a record which his son could access anytime he wanted to, adding some notes too about their personal history which he thought future generations might find interesting.
Started in 1951, the notes took on a new life when Alan decided to transfer them to a computer. Very soon, he was persuaded on popular request, to convert them to e-book form (a big "thank you" to whoever was responsible for this feat!).
"My original aim had been to show my son that through his own efforts and on minimal income, he could make a farm out of any land irrespective of where it might be or its condition when purchased, and then enjoy a lifestyle that many people think would require a considerable income to support."
I love that, especially the last bit.
But, it didn't end there. Alan realised that what was good advice for his son was just as good for a wider reading public.
"As I moved around the world the book came to have a second aim, and that is to have all landholders think long and hard about how successive generations of future farmers can do the same thing by leaving their land in a more fertile state than when it was acquired."
Which makes the book such a perfect read. I love the whole "leave the earth a better place" angle.
"Even if your dream is to undertake some other pursuit rather than things agricultural, it is still necessary to produce as much of your own food as possible if you want to eat really well at minimum cost, so you must have a vegetable garden, preferably some fruit and nuts too, and space for some meat production if you eat meat."
You see what I mean? No-nonsense, practical to the core.
I'm not looking for new-fangled notions and concepts in this book. I'm going to devour it instead for the author's wholesome attitude to farming and gardening, practical advice on growing food and what a new landowner (or even a seasoned one) should look out for, especially, which pitfalls to avoid. And, 6 decades of hands-on experience and knowledge. I'm looking forward, especially, to re-discovering gardening and farming practices which may have become forgotten today but which deserve a second look. I'm looking forward, most of all, to a good read.
I for one, thoroughly treasure Alan's advice and recommendations. Even if he claims that a city-dweller may not possibly appreciate his book.
Well, you're so mistaken, Alan McDonald! I can think of a million reasons why I'm just itching to read it, and guess what ? I feel millions richer already!
Post-script : Take a look at Alan's blog here
(excerpts are quoted from the Preface, accessed from Smashwords )