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The Half-Acre Homestead: 46 Years of Building and Gardening

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Lloyd Kahn and his wife Lesley's story of building their own home, establishing a garden, and practicing crafts on a small piece of land on the Northern California Coast over a 46-year period, with over 500 photos.

Lloyd, the former shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog, has published seven books on owner building, showcasing hundreds of builders, and this is his first book on his own work.

Starting with a vacant half-acre piece of land, they built their own home, created a garden with vegetables and fruit, and describe raising chickens, bees, and goats. The book also covers cooking, foraging, fishing, crafts, birds, butterflies, and tools.

Their main theme is that this was all done by hand.

They have never paid rent nor have they ever had a mortgage.

There are over 500 photos illustrating all the above facets of their lives and clear explanations of building skylights, maintaining a septic system, building greenhouses and raised vegetable beds. There is a section on unique kitchen tools, as well as advice on useful tools used in construction.

168 pages, Paperback

Published March 3, 2020

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About the author

Lloyd Kahn

28 books30 followers

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Community Reviews

5 stars
28 (48%)
4 stars
18 (31%)
3 stars
8 (13%)
2 stars
3 (5%)
1 star
1 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 reviews
Profile Image for Richard.
1,135 reviews1,016 followers
June 20, 2020
This was the perfect book for a city dweller, stuck indoors due to Covid-19, who dreams of crafting a home and garden.

I devoured it in one night, and I've since revisited it quite a few times, just for the pleasure of looking at the pictures and thinking, oh, yeah, that'd be cool.

It might be even better for someone that has a home and yard but isn't quite sure what they want to do with it. Buy a copy and find out.
Profile Image for Sherri.
1,136 reviews
August 20, 2020
Compilation of Lloyd and Leslie's inside and out of their home. Almost a diary insight look into their home. The style may not be for all but interesting to put your whole detailed home in photos for other to see.
1 review1 follower
November 6, 2020
I was in a bookstore and enable to leave this book out of my hands ... it is a useful book for people needing some ideas about the interior and exterior of a rural house and also some advices ... That’s true (regarding other comments with 2 stars :/ ... ) , the book can be seen as “personal” or as “a journal” ... but this is also a part of the beauty and the charm of this book ... Seeing what’s possible, and not having only “instructions and informations” inside ... After me, a useful book, for the people having a house and looking about ideas about “how can improve the house?” or for the ones who are dreaming about having one ...
What can make this book even better: ... after me, some thumbnail drownings with architectural details referring to some of the pictures inside the book can help as well ... :)
ps: English is not my mother tongue and that's why I may have made some mistakes ... I apologize for that :)
15 reviews
December 25, 2020
A really nice read. The book covers a LOT of topics. I think maybe too many topics even. I wish the author can spend more time on details of the first appendix "advice to someone building a home." It is definitely a book to read & re-read. I wish there are more details on how to do them instead of just pictures of flowers...:)
Profile Image for Diana Rajchel.
Author 42 books56 followers
June 28, 2022
The overview of homesteading acknowledges that times change, and gives ample resources for deeper research. I appreciate the honesty of the author - not everything they did worked, but what did work worked great!
Profile Image for Ashley.
174 reviews
January 21, 2021
Some good ideas and lots of great photos. A major complaint, as with so many homestead/gardening books I read — it’s not so relevant to our harsh climate.
Profile Image for Angie.
147 reviews
October 14, 2021
What a wild ride. I loved every bit of information, and you can tell this guy would be so much fun to talk with for hours.
Profile Image for Sarah.
22 reviews
January 4, 2022
My favorite book of 2021. Lovely photographs and simple dialogue showing how Lloyd Kahn and his wife Lesley have put together a simple and beautiful life.
Profile Image for Colleen.
506 reviews30 followers
June 13, 2022
A few nuggets here and there but nothing I haven't heard or read before. The most endearing quality is how long they've been at it and continue to learn and grow.
Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 reviews

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