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Get Your Pitchfork On! Book Review – A Useful Guide to Country Living

Need some summer reading?  A new book by Kristy Athens offers an amusing and useful guide to rural living for those whose dreams of farm ownership have not yet coalesced.  

Get Your Pitchfork On!: The Real Dirt on Country Living is a great guide for every aspect of planning for a rural life, from buying land to maintaining the property to acclimating to the community and culture.

Even if you’re not yet at the moving stage, this smooth-reading compendium is great to read cover-to-cover or to refer to specific sections (from zoning and right-of-ways to alternative energy systems for the house to dealing with unfriendly neighbors!).  In 300 pages, the book shoots through most every country-living element you’ll encounter.  While you’ll certainly need to acquire additional knowledge around some of the technical skills touched on in these chapters, you’ll get a good grounding to know where to start.

Athens gives the benefit of her own experiences as well as information from research and other interviews.  She and her husband Michael decided to pursue their dreams of rural homesteading by buying farm land in Oregon’s Columbia Gorge.  For seven years, they explored the realities of that lifestyle, dealing with the often surprising challenges that arose.  The author is quick to point out that she was no expert going into the endeavor, but they were quick to learn and now pass on those lessons for the next person.  In fact, many of the most amusing elements of the book – partially a narrative and partially written as an expository piece – come from the mistakes they made, making great educational moments for the rest of us!

The book is primarily oriented to the urban or suburban reader.  Those who’ve been living the farming lifestyle already might find some of the wisdom to be obvious here and there, but even life-long farmers can pick up useful insight in their reading.  In fact, the first chapter alone – which goes through the litany of necessities one needs to consider when purchasing land – makes this book a worthwhile investment for those who don’t yet own land.

Unlike most farming books that might line your shelves already, Athens goes beyond covering the technical elements (maintaining the property, dealing with animals and more) and delves into the less-discussed aspects – healthcare obstacles, the additional complications of socializing, looking for work, and more.  

Reading it through, you realize the truth to the author’s warning that “”living in the country is a full-time job in itself.”  If you might be in the position to live a rural life in the future, the engaging anecdotes and straightforward advice found in Get Your Pitchfork On! make it a worthwhile read.  Visit for more information.
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