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William Cobbett Believed in Unschooling

William Cobbett Believed in Unschooling

Near the end of the delightful collection “Cobbett’s Country Book” there is a section about the importance of rural sports. By this he mostly means hunting, especially with dogs. (Though he goes into detail about a game called “Singlestick” where two men beat each other with sticks until one draws blood on the head that runs down an inch.) Cobbett describes his reason for unschooling his kids, having determined they could and would learn on their own sheerly out of…

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William Cobbett Needs Farm Help

William Cobbett Needs Farm Help

  They say good help is hard to find these days, and for a man of discriminating requirements it was also hard in the early 19th century. I became aware of the great 19th century journalist, politician, and agrarian William Cobbett last year while reading Farming for Self-Sufficiency, which used his amusing quotes as the epitaph for almost every chapter. Cobbett was an early advocate of going back to the land, and even at the beginning of the 19th century…

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Books: “The Tulip” By Anna Pavord

Books: “The Tulip” By Anna Pavord

“I suppose there must be one or two people in the world who choose to not like tulips, but such an aberration is scarcely credible.” – Anna Pavord The Tulip: The Story of a Flower that has Made Men Mad – By Anna Pavord, 1999. The allure of the tulip is well known. One of the earliest and the most impressive of the Spring bulbs, tulips have been planted the world over in home gardens, palaces, and magnificent public parks. Tulips are beloved…

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Books: Robbing the Bees

Books: Robbing the Bees

“Ace handed me a plastic bear full of his most recent harvest, and when I tilted it to my mouth, head back, eyes closed, I really experienced honey for the first time, standing next to its creators. In that glistening dollop, I could taste the sun and the water in his pond, the metallic minerals of his soil, and the tang of the goldenrod and wildflowers blooming around his meadow. The present golden-green moment was sweetly and perfectly distilled in…

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Books: The Owner-Built Homestead

Books: The Owner-Built Homestead

“Reduced to its simplest terms, a homestead is an ecosystem in which humans evolve in mutual association and coexistence with plants, animals, and other life forces. In this cohabitation the various components of the homestead germinate, develop, and mature at varying rates for varying purposes, all interdependent and individually supportive of life therein.” – Barbara and Ken Kern, The Owner-Built Homestead.  The Owner-Built Homestead, Barbara and Ken Kern, 1977 (Second Edition). The Owner-Built Homestead is a classic text on neo-homesteading…

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Books: Farmers of Forty Centuries

Books: Farmers of Forty Centuries

“The great movement of cargoes of feeding stuffs and mineral fertilizers to western Europe and to the eastern United States began less than a century ago and has never been possible as a means of maintaining soil fertility in China, Korea, or Japan, nor can it be continued indefinitely in either Europe or America. These importations are for the time making tolerable the waste of plant food materials through our modern system of sewage disposal and other faulty practices; but…

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