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Living The Good Life: How One Family Changed Their World From Their Own Backyard
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Living The Good Life: How One Family Changed Their World From Their Own Backyard

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  100 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Inspiring and challenging, this chronicle of a unique household experiment takes readers inside one family’s environmental test. Already mindful of the impact human activity has on the environment, the author and her family decided to take a further step towards thoughtful living by aiming for complete domestic sustainability. For six months, the Cockburns grew, bartered f ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 3rd 2007 by Hardie Grant (first published January 2nd 2006)
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Sep 25, 2009 Natasha rated it really liked it
Linda and her family set out to live from their suburban Australian yard/farm for 6 months and not spend any money. It was an interesting stunt, there seem to be a lot of "stunt" books out there now (Julie & Julia, Farewell my Subaru etc.). It was a great glimpse at how a family can eat from their garden, chickens, goat and a few bartered items. Occasionally they would crave beer and pizza or chocolate, but they ate well and both lost weight, improved their nutritional profile (higher iron c ...more
Mar 28, 2009 jess rated it really liked it
Recommended to jess by: krista wanted to read "made from scratch," but the library had t
Shelves: 2009, growing
Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself -- Leo Tolstoy

This is an inspiring story of a small family in Australia, and their six month adventure of not spending money. Everything they use and consume is grown, produced, scavenged, or bartered, although mostly everything is produced and grown by the family. They have a composting toilet, rainwater barrels, solar panels, a giant garden, a nasty goat, a bunch of chickens, and an incredible ability to look at the p
A family of three (Mum, Dad and son) document living for six months without spending any money. The father continues to work, riding his boke to work each day. The mother runs the house and the garden and ends up homeschooling her son. They bartered excess produce in return for some grocery items and animal feed and they occasional found themselves having to buy something (a new laptop on one occasion, fish and chips on another) but they lived six months without spending a significant amount of ...more
Emma Cooper
Jan 11, 2010 Emma Cooper rated it it was amazing
Living the Good Life is the story of an Australian family who try to spend 6 months without spending any money. They grow their own food (given that they're in Australia, it's a bit more exotic fare than spuds and kale), keep a goat and chickens and barter for things they can't make. They use solar energy and rain water and cycle everywhere (until they need to take their son to the hospital).

It's written in the form of a diary, but there's also inserts on various environmental issues such as was
Jun 18, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing
A Fascinating journal of how one family (in Australia) turned their backyard into a farm and lived off of what they themselves could produce (or barter) for 6 months.
This was particularly refreshing because it was from an Australian viewpoint. It wasn't all about how terrible the US is (although the US is mentioned occasionally), but specifically about their country and things people can do to make a difference.
If we lived in a better area (one that did not spray pesticides every summer), I woul
Mar 31, 2016 Yassy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lifestyle, simplicity
A really great account of one family's attempt to reduce their ecological footprint by simplifying their lives. Inspiring, challenging, informative and very readable. Linda Cockburn gives an honest account of the joys and pitfalls of their experiment: a commitment to producing their own food and electricity, riding bikes for transport & not spending any money for 6 months. A must read for anyone interested in the environment, sustainability, simplicity or minimalism.
Carl Wade
Dec 03, 2012 Carl Wade rated it liked it
Pg 118: Exercise cycling or strolling? They both burn calories but exercise cycling burns 3 times as many calories.
Pg xii: Emissions from 1 liter of gas pollutes 10,500 liters of air. Where does she get that?
Pg 1: Her plan is to go 6 months without spending a dollar.
Pg 8: She brings Bill Mollison and permaculture in and has a brief list of ethics and principles.
Pg 10: She makes a case for getting calories from the sun. Even at low percentage of efficiency.
Pg 13: Oh dear the kid wears no clothes.
Heather Tomlinson

I loved this book. It's the story of one family's attempt to live without cash for 6 months - to live off their land, bike and barter their way through life. It's an entertaining tour through this process, the bad weather and the crop fails, and the kid's eating troubles.
I liked the honesty, but most of all that it was very practical. It was written with inspiration and ideas for anyone wanting to do the same. Definitely one of the best books of this type I've read.
Jul 22, 2008 Alexis rated it it was ok
This book tells the story of a family who decided to live off their land for six months. They try not to spend any money, and live as sustainably as possible.

This book is Australian, and there was a lot of Aussie slang in the writing, which was interesting. I also learned a lot about water and power conservation. Unfortunately, I also found this book to be a bit dull. I'm not quite sure why.
Unfinished. The ideas were familiar, and although it's cool to read about living in a place where free-range kangaroo is an acceptable steak substitute, it was difficult to imagine applying their methods to my location.
Oct 23, 2009 Abby added it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Memoir of a family who attempted to live entirely self-sufficiently for six months. It's an intriguing subject, but I had a hard time getting into it because of the writing style. It wasn't very accessible. Contains recipes and tips.
Aug 16, 2015 Damon rated it liked it
I would have liked a little more instruction, but it was interesting and helpful. Now that we have land and an opportunity to grow food and animals, I'm looking for more helpful instruction. City boy wants to grow more than zucchini.
Aug 08, 2008 Wendy rated it really liked it
Very interesting read about a family who lives off what they already have, can grow or barter for 6 months.
Apr 27, 2009 Yvonne rated it really liked it
An interesting look at an Australian family's efforts to live in a self-sufficient, sustainable manner. Well written and includes some good recipes to boot.
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