This one volume edition of Living the Good Life and Continuing the Good Life brings these classics on rural homesteading together. This couple abandoned the city for a rural life with minimal cash and the knowledge of self reliance and good health.
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Helen Nearing tells us that they left the city with three objectives:
- economic: independence from the commodity and labor markets
- hygienic: to maintain and improve health
- social and ethical: to liberate and dissociate from the cruder forms of exploitation - plunder of the planet, slavery of man and beast, slaughter in war and animals for food. They were against the accumulation of profit and unearned income by non-producers.
She goes on to tell us that after 20 years:
- a piece of eroded, depleted mountain land had been restored to fertility
- a successful economy without animals, animal products, chemical fertilizers had been created
- a subsistence household had been established , paying its way and yielding a modest surplus
- a small scale business had been established from which wagery had been virtually eliminated
- health was at a high level
- the complexities of city life had been replaced by a simple life pattern
- they enjoyed six months labor and six months leisure used for research, travel, writing, speaking, teaching
- they always had an open house for hundreds of people annually
We are told that no family group of vigor, energy, purpose, imagination and determination need continue to wear the yoke of a competitive, acquisitive, and predatory culture. A family can live with nature, make a living, preserve and enhance efficiency, enjoy leisure, and do their part to make the world a better place. They maintain that a couple of any age 20-50 with minimum health, intelligence and capital can adapt to country living, learn its crafts, overcome its difficulties and build a rich pattern of life of simple values, being productive of personal and social good.
If you have wondered whether city life is for you, there is no better book to read than "The Good Life".
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