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.
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.
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!
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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.
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