The Joy of Hobby Farming by Michael and Audrey Levatino

Joy of Hobby FarmingWhile our family does not own, or even live on, a farm, it is something that Super G. and I often dream about. Living in the country there are farms all around us. We do try to grow a small garden each year to enjoy a bit of fresh veggies during the summer. Keeping backyard chickens and ducks for fun and our household egg supply is only the beginning for us. Someday our farm will become a reality! We’re stocking up on good books and reference material in the meantime can keep the ideas and dreams flowing. The Joy of Hobby Farming written by Michael and Audrey Levatino is one of many books I’m glad to have on my ever growing bookshelf.

Michael and Audrey have learned the ups and downs of farming through experiencing it first hand on their 23 acre farm, Ted’s Last Stand. Going into this adventure, while still holding full time jobs, has certainly called for them to seek out the best and most efficient way of keeping their hobby farm running smoothly. An excerpt from the very beginning of The Joy of Hobby Farming  sets the tone for the whole book.

The best piece of advice that we received getting started on our hobby farm was, “Start small and don’t overwhelm yourself.” There are countless stories of folks who move to the country, buy a flock of sheep and several horses, order a bunch of chickens and start an organic garden, only to exhaust their economic and physical resources.

It’s much easier to start small and grow into your comfort level than to go “all in” and try to keep up. This is the key benefit of hobby farming. Since you aren’t pressured to make it profitable right away, you have room to explore and grow into your farm.

The Joy of Hobby Farming was a pleasant surprise. Michael and Audrey write as if they’re talking to an old friend. The photos are gorgeous and plentiful. The book flows naturally, like a casual conversation over a cup of coffee at the farm house table. At the same time, the information is helpful, well thought out and organized in a way that keeps you interested and engaged. The first few chapters will give you advice on how to go about choosing your land, the tools needed and their upkeep. Tips on fixing old outbuildings, land maintenance and farm safety are touched upon as well.

In chapters four through ten, you’ll get into the heart of your farm with advice on “Growing Things” and “The Care of Living Creatures.” Find ideas and advice on gardening for food, beauty and even profit. One of my favorite sections is Growing Mushrooms, how neat! We used to go mushroom picking when I was little. I have fond memories of searching the cow pasture up the road for tasty morsels with my Dad {don’t do this unless you have someone who knows what they’re doing!} . Mushrooms sound like a worthy and fun crop to include in a hobby farm.

Hobby Farming

I don’t know if I’ll ever have to trim a donkey’s hooves or shear a Llama, but if I do, this book has the instructions {with pictures!} to help me do it! The chicken keeping information was especially interesting {shocking, I know!}, I even learned a few things about poultry care that I didn’t know before.

Finally, chapters eleven and twelve discuss “Bringing It All Together” and advice on “The Farmer’s Market And Other Sales Opportunities”. Thinking about what you will sell, and how you will sell it, on your hobby farm is a  main point of interest. Bartering, Branding your farm and making a profit are all topics covered near the end of the book.

There is quite a bit of practical advice in the pages of this sturdy 256 page guide for both the seasoned and beginner hobby farmer {or dreamer}. I think The Joy of Hobby Farming is a very good jumping off point for the farming ventures you have in mind.


Where To Find It: Learn more about the authors and keep up to date with their farm’s happenings by visiting their blog, Ted’s Last Stand.

The Joy of Hobby Farming – Grow Food, Raise Animals, and Enjoy a Sustainable Life will be published this April 1st {2011} . It is currently available in stores, or find The Joy of Hobby Farming on {$11.21 at the time of this post}.

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Thanks to Skyhorse Publishing for sending an advanced copy to facilitate my candid review. All opinions and experiences are my own and unswayed by product received, your opinion may vary. No other compensation received. Questions? View my Disclosure.
About the Author

Henrietta Newman is a self-loving empty-nester into smudging, nature, yoga, fitness, healthy living, hunting, camping, hiking, tech, video games, gadgets, recipes, reviews and more.
With a love for the outdoors and visiting local attractions in and around NW PA and Lake Erie, you never know what you'll find in my nest! Subscribe to A Hen's Nest so you don't miss the fun!



  1. 1
    Black Soil Country says

    Hi, I found your post very interesting with great content. I think your readers could find some interest in the stories on my blog.

  2. 2
    Ian Jones says

    Henrietta, I agree with you that you don’t have to live on or own a farm to appreciate the joys of farming. I have also started growing some of my own vegetables and have definitely seen the benefits of my hard work. Not only is the feeling of being more self-sufficient greatly rewarding, but I have saved a surprising amount of money in fuel and shopping costs. I wouldn’t hesitate to encourage anyone to grow as much of their own food as possible- I have also noticed a marked difference in flavour and freshness between the food I have grown and shop bought goods! Thanks for bringing the book to my attention as well- it looks like it could provide some great tips!

  3. 3

    Any type of farming brings you closer to the natural world, which should definitely be encouraged as we collectively seem to be drifting farther away from it.

    Growing up a farm boy, I also developed a strong work ethic and appreciation for things that I don’t always see being developed in young people that don’t have this type of experience.

    Hobby farming, on any scale, can be a very rewarding experience

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