BDS Book Festival 7: 5 Acres & A Dream – The Book

Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
BDS Book Festival 7: 5 Acres & A Dream – The Book

Today I share the next author interview and giveaway in the Backdoor Survival Book Festival 7.  Leigh Tate, the blogger at the popular homesteading site, 5 Acres and a Dream, has written a book about the challenges she and her husband have faced while pursuing their dream.

Her book, 5 Acres & A Dream The Book: The Challenges of Establishing a Self-Sufficient Homestead, is unlike any homesteading book I have ever read!  In it, Leigh shares her dream of self-sufficiency and her homesteading aspirations along with the disappointments, successes, and failures that happened along the way.  In all honesty, this fantastic volume just speaks to you.

5 Acres and a Dream The Book - Backdoor Survival

Naturally, Leigh is here to answer the Book Festival questions and of course, to award one lucky reader with a copy of her book.

Enjoy the interview and be sure to check out the details of this week’s giveaway below.

An Interview with Leigh Tate, Author of 5 Acres & A Dream “The Book”

1. Tell me about your book, 5 Acres & A Dream The Book: The Challenges of Establishing a Self-Sufficient Homestead. What is it about?

It’s the story of my husband’s and my longtime dream to own our own land and to learn how to live from it. We got a late start, after our kids were grown and on their own, and we faced a lot of challenges.

5 Acres & A Dream The Book is the story of how we made our start. It’s about how we defined our dream and our goals, how we found our property, how we set priorities and developed a plan for self-sufficiency, and how we’ve been approaching those areas: food, water, and energy.

It’s about the obstacles and difficulties we’ve faced, and what we’ve learned from them.

2. What type of research did you have to do while writing your book?

Most of my research revolved around how to self-publish a book! For example, I included a lot of photographs and diagrams, but soon learned that preparing them for digital media, such as a computer screen, is vastly different from preparing them for print. I had to learn to use a Desktop Publisher and book design, both interior and cover. Even something small like a publishing logo, required learning to use a vector drawing program.

For the content itself, I wanted to tell a (hopefully) interesting story, as well as provide useful information. I spent time checking and referencing my details. I did the most research for the chapters on water and energy self-sufficiency. These are areas we are just exploring ourselves, as we try to determine feasibility. I couldn’t speak from much experience, but I could share what I was researching and learning.

3. How long did it take to write?

It took a couple of years, actually. The basis for the book was written as my blog, which pretty much has told the story from the beginning.

A blog, however, is a different style of writing. It’s like a journal, where I might write about chickens one day, gardening the next, and then get out my soapbox the day after that. There’s a lot of information there, but the order is random.

For a book, I wanted to arrange the information into logical categories. That meant pulling together much of what I wrote previously, rewriting so that the material flowed well, and then filling in with more details to round out the chapters.

4. Every book, fiction and non-fiction, includes a message. What message do you hope my readers will take with them after reading 5 Acres & A Dream The Book?

My motivation for writing was to encourage others who long for a similar lifestyle. We started late in life and didn’t have much money, but I’ve always believed that something is better than nothing, so we made our start.

We’ve run into a lot of problems, made quite a few mistakes, learned a lot by trial and error, and had our successes too. What I hope folks walk away with is – no, it isn’t easy, but yes, it can be done.

5. As an author in the survival, prepping and/or homesteading niche, what are you personally preparing for?

Our culture is based on an economy that is not sustainable and doomed to fail.

Survival will not simply be a matter of securing our wealth and making sure we have enough supplies to weather the storm. Survival will require changing our way of thinking.

Our society has been dependent on a profit based consumer system for so long, that we no longer know how to take care of ourselves. We don’t know where food comes from, nor how to produce it. We don’t know how to work; we rely on gizmos and gadgets to do everything for us. We don’t know how to think; we rely on the media and “experts” to tell us what’s what. We have become so dependent on industrialized technology that we have become invalids as a people.

The results of all this will ultimately be disastrous. I don’t know if it will be sudden or gradual, but Dan and I decided a long time ago that we wanted out.

6. Do you have plans for another book?

I’m actually working on a couple of projects. One will be another paperback, tentatively titled Critter Tales: What my homestead critters have taught me about themselves, their world, and how to be part of it. Our animals are both amusing and amazing. They’ve been wonderfully entertaining teachers and I want to share their stories and what I’ve learned from them.

The other is an eBook series of how-tos, sort of a complement to 5 Acres & A Dream The Book, which I described as neither a how-to nor a why-to. Hopefully, this series will be another source of encouragement to those interested in homesteading.

7. Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?

One of the hardest things for Dan and me is to not get overwhelmed with how much there is to do. Too often we focus only on what isn’t done, or what isn’t working. At times like that we get discouraged. We have to remind ourselves that homesteading is not merely a checklist of tasks to be accomplished, it is a lifestyle.

There will always, always, always be something that needs to be fixed, something that needs tending to, something that goes wrong. This is the way life is.

At times like that I ask myself what I’d rather be doing. Would I rather be back in that rental apartment? Would I rather be buying my food at a grocery store? The answer, of course, is always NO. I’ve learned to focus on the task at hand, simply doing what’s next. There are so many things to be thankful for, and that’s what’s important.

The Book Giveaway

A copy of 5 Acres & A Dream The Book: The Challenges of Establishing a Self-Sufficient Homestead has been reserved for one lucky reader.  To enter the giveaway, you need to utilize the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If for some reason the Rafflecopter widget is not working, you may also enter here.

The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific next Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article.  Please note that the winner must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

The Final Word

Whereas homesteading on an acre or more of land may not be for everyone, the dream of self-sufficiency is one that most of us share.  Whether you are young and just getting started, or older and more mature like I am, having a dream than pursuing that dream is the motivation that gets us up in the morning.

I truly believe that this book will get your one step closer to realizing your dream.  Good luck, everyone!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for me daily at Top Prepper Websites!

In addition, SUBSCRIBE to email updates and receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Spotlight: 5 Acres & A Dream The Book: The Challenges of Establishing a Self-Sufficient Homestead

What does it take to become a successful homesteader?

Based on her popular homesteading blog, 5 Acres & A Dream, Leigh Tate shares how she and her husband Dan are facing the challenges of trying to establish a self-sufficient homestead; from defining their dream, finding property, and setting priorities, to obstacles and difficult times, to learning how to work smarter, not harder.

She shares what they’ve learned about energy self-sufficiency, water self-sufficiency, and food self-sufficiency for themselves and their goats and chickens too. Included are copies of their homestead master plan plus revisions, homegrown vitamins and minerals for goats, and several of Leigh’s favorite homestead recipes.

For your convenience, here is a list of all of the books in the current Backdoor Survival Book Festival.

Plus: The Preppers Guide to Food Storage

No list of books would be complete without my own book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage.

Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!

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69 Responses to “BDS Book Festival 7: 5 Acres & A Dream – The Book”

  1. I got my start with trying to cut back and live simply from a book called The “Have-More” Plan. When I read the title ” 5 acres and a dream ‘ It brought back a lotf fond memories.

    • I am fairly certain that the “Have-More Plan” is now in the public domain and that I shared it way back when on BDS. Today I will see if I can find it and put it out there for everyone to download. Thanks for the reminder, Karen.

  2. Finally building a log home for myself on about 5 acres so I can be relatively self sustaining. Then blacksmithing and doing handyman work to fill in the cash end.

  3. We have been working on our dream. We recently purchased a home on two acres out in the country. So now have our large garden and have been learning more and more about gardening and preserving food. The next thing on out horizon will be raising chickens and doing more hunting for our meats. Our hope is to be able to retire or partially retire and supply at least half of our food needs. It’s all a learning process of baby steps, reading, research, trial and error. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

  4. My dream is to be able to grow my own food & herbs, make my own medicines and be able to take care of myself and my family without depending on the government or anyone else

  5. My dream is for all the county inspectors that tell me what I can and what I cant do with my land, have their name on the voting ballots so I can vote them out of office. All the nitwits that give me a hard time are all appointed.

  6. My husband and I are dreaming of starting our own homestead in the near future. We would love to read this book to get more tips on what to try and what not to try.

  7. My goal is to work with what I have, which is a house and yard, and to work within my disabilities, which are back and energy problems. That said I intend to grow a grain, a bean, and potatoes this year, in addition to vegetables. The beans and grains must be dried and the potatoes stored in a makeshift root cellar. And the veggies must be canned.

    In addition my major goal is to build the things needed in a TEOTWAWKI situation.

    A composting toilet and composting bins. A water filter made from 2 buckets and a filter, a clothes washer made from 2 buckets and a plunger, a space heater made from flower pots and a good cooler made from flower pots.

  8. My dream is to be self reliant. To have enough food and water to survive and trade for what I can’t grow or make. To have knowledge in diverse subjects that can help myself and others in times of need.

  9. Just moved to our new location, ready for spring to get started on all my projects. First up garden and chicken coop.

  10. Hopefully the winter will be mild and we can start a garden early in the spring. Looking forward to some early greens.

  11. My dream is definitely to get off the electricity grid. We are already homesteading and we do a lot of things the same way that my husband’s family has done them for the last 60+ years. The problem is that we don’t have a lot of cash flow so being able to fund solar has so far been out of reach.

  12. My dream is to be able to sell my home and buy a house with some land 3-5 acres so I can grow a bigger garden. Problem is it would have to be a same price swap for what I owe, im on target now to have my house pd off in 16 yrs, abt time I would retire. My goal to be more self reliant on food. I have a raised box along side of my house to grow veggie but I want more! Currently growing swiss chard, lettuce, and onions. I live in Southern Cali and could grow so much more with some land!

  13. My wife and my dream is to have a small place such as yours where we could have a small garden and livestock to support ourselves. This world is headed down the tubes, and no one knows how much longer it will last. We need to be more self-sufficient, and I hate today’s societal tendency to “if it breaks, replace it”. That won’t work when nothing more is available and you have to “make do” with what you have and repair not replace.

  14. From what I have read in the article, this is a lot like what my husband and I did 25 years ago. We bought 125 acres and have proceeded to develop skills and a self sustaining life style. Not an easy task when you came from the city. After 25 years still learning. It definitely is a lifetime commitment. But very rewarding.

  15. I would love to win this book as it has been my dream to find the right home on 5-10 acres that would accommodate my husband and I and our 3 adult children and grandchildren. We have been prepping for over a year and this is our 2015 goal.

  16. My dream would be to have the necessary resources (read money, equipment, and a better garden) to can and dehydrate more of our food.

  17. To be as self-sufficient as possible. I live in AZ and water and money are the biggest problem. The water here is down to 2000 feet.

  18. My dream is very similar to Leigh and Dan’s, to have a plot of land, and live as close of a self sustaining lifestyle as I can. I’ll have to look further into this book it’s looks very interesting. I may find some great info that would save me a lot of heartache in the future, should I venture down this same path.

  19. I dream of growing a little bit of food. With severe back problems, I may never be able to, but I dream and remain hopeful.

  20. I want to have a little farm with a little tractor and working with livestock and the land. I’m sick of working with computers and idiots

  21. We are working toward being better and better. The south has it’s unique problems
    with bugs, disease, heat and humidity. We are learning to beat those odds.
    What a learning experience it has been.

  22. My dream is to be able to grow our own food and herbs, to study essential oils more for medication needs and to be left alone by the government.

  23. My dream is to be more self sufficient: 7-10 acres, a large enough garden, safe, year-round water supply, part of the area with trees to harvest as needed for building and warmth, safe and secure home, Plumbing?, wired electricity?, definitely solar, wood stove, chickens, guineas, goats for milk, more medicinal herbs. More skills: more canning, better building and repair skills, further knowledge regarding herbs and herbal medicine, more knowledge and ability in making clothing/cloth for clothing–to begin with. Thank you so much for the chance to enter!

  24. My husband and I have a strong desire to raise our children to appreciate growing their own food as well as living a more simpler life. We’re trying our hardest to get out of suburbia in hopes of living life on the farm while the kids are still young.

  25. My dream is to have a place where I and my family can be self-sufficient and prepared for whatever might happen. That would include enough land to have chickens and a garden, a well…and a library! 🙂

  26. Wow this is my husbands and my dream also, to own our own small homestead that can sustain us both. I grew up in the country (Australia) and now live in Florida, he grew up in the Los Angeles lol…..apart of me is always on the farm and I feel most at peace when visiting. I’d love to move to a small homestead in the future. I’m bookmarking your book.

  27. I have a few goals in regard to self-sufficiency. 1, basic survival skills, 2, be able to not only make simple repairs but more complex repairs around the house, cars, and my buisness. 3, simply my life as much as possible, and last 4, simplify my life as much as possible. Running from fire hydrant to fire hydrant is no fun. Time to plan and follow the plan.

  28. We will not be moving anywhere rural any time soon…or probably ever, but I’d love to be able to make my home as self-sufficient as possible. Growing all my own fruits and vegetables and preserving them for year-round consumption, having an aquaponics set-up, raising chickens for eggs and meat (and possibly rabbits), and growing as many herbal remedies as I can. This is my dream!

  29. I would love to have a few acres with a warm log home where my daughter and I could have all the animals our little hearts desire! Goats, chickens, ducks, and alpacas would be a grand start!

  30. Leearning how NOT to kill off plants of all sorts ( I have the blackest of thumbs) on a few acres and building a small cabin in which to live out my twilight years without “gubmint” interference.

  31. I’m with Jennifer M, Oh to be able to be self sufficient and “off-grid” with power, water,the ability to grow our own food where we’re at. We don’t have the where withal to move to a small rural property. So we’ll have to do the best we can here to make preparations for what ever God/life throws at us.

  32. I’m praying I can get my five acres in the next three years. In the mean time, I’m doing what I can to learn the skills I’ll need. Thank you for the post.

  33. My dream is to be able to live with my son and best friend on our own land where we can grow our own food and be self sufficient with not so close neighbors.

  34. I would like to be as self-sufficient as possible. I’m living in a travel trailer on my sister’s property and plan to start a garden soon.

  35. I would love a copy of this book! I have a plan but working on the money and location part. This book sounds like it would be informative and encouraging for me!

  36. We actually own five acres and are building our dream home on it. We had horses to begin with, along with dogs, cats & a very spoiled bunny, now we’ve added chickens & ducks and hope to add a milk cow or a couple of milking goats. We have a huge garden, herbs, and fruit trees. It really IS a challenge. Our next step, after the house is done, is a summer kitchen & a green house.

  37. My dream would be to have a couple of acres off the beaten path wit some chickens, goats, and maybe raise some hogs and feed out a couple of calves each year. I’d love to have a big garden, orchard and nut trees. I’d like to be off grid and have a pond! Sounds like a bit of heaven on earth!

  38. Leigh’s comment on the economy is so true. If you haven’t started to grow your on food and prepare yourself and your family, you should begin. We have seen more and more indicators that we cannot sustain the life style that we have come accustomed to in the US. Books such as this are a great resource for those who need to educate themselves. This is a MUST buy!

  39. I love reading Leigh’s blog. It’s always great fun to read what other homesteaders are doing because it gives me more ideas for my farm. Her chicken coop “ladder” perch is really neat. How do the chickens like it, Leigh? On an economic note, have you noticed an increase in people wanting to know if you have anything (like food) for sale? Or if you would hold classes (like canning, soap making, stuff like that)?

    • Hi Joyce, the chickens like it pretty well but I’m finding it harder to clean under than a traditional roost. Dan and I may be rethinking that in the future.

      I’ve only had folks stop by on rare occasions to ask if we have anything to sell, mostly eggs, occasionally chickens, I did have someone stop and “demand” some of my daffodils. They’ve naturalized all over the place so that we have 100s of them. I was glad to share but a little miffed at her attitude.

      Mostly folks drive by and look at us like we’re nuts. Haven’t actually considered offering classes (because besides not having many around with similar interests, our house is pretty small). Instead I’ve got started on my new eBooks, The Little Series of Homestead How-Tos. They are inexpensive (99 cents each) and I hope will cover a lot of topics that will help others toward self-sufficiency. The webpage for those is here.

  40. I live in the suburbs on 1/3 acre. My front yard is the only part that gets sun, my dream is an edible front yard that looks good, my wife requires it:)

  41. We just moved to a new one acre property in a small town. I hope to utilize our available space as efficiently as possible to produce food and herbal medicines here at home while conserving wildlife habitat and protecting the ecology of our small parcel.

  42. This book would be a wonderful resource as we look to begin our homesteading journey later in life, as the author has!

  43. The toughest thing to do is to break from the familiar. I quote ” with any tough job, start immediately; do nothing else until it is done.”

  44. We would love to have maybe at least 20 fenced acres that had deer and other animals on it that could be part of the food supply. We would also want a running water source through the land, and would like to have a pond that we could initially stock with fish. We would want a fenced garden area and a protected area for raising chickens. Some livestock would be nice to have, too. An orchard area with fruit and nut trees would be planted. We’d like a well that could be operated manually if necessary. As much power as possible for the property would be from solar and/or wind sources. Also important would be water collection systems. We would like to be able to live as self reliantly as possible.

  45. We have a 5 acre homestead and our goal is to become as self sufficient as possible. I blog about our experiences because we do not have any homesteading experience and we hope to inspire people (and make them laugh) We raise animals, grow a garden, raise a couple boys and strive to be green.

  46. my dream is to live in a very rural area, have a homestead and be ready for anything. I wish to be completely self sufficient and self reliant. My goal is to have my place in less than 4 years and to begin the process of building it up to what I will need

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