Seven years ago I moved from the city to a farm where I taught myself to garden, raise animals & cook “farm to table”. I show you how.
I’m Travis Corcoran. For 20 years I lived in the big city and worked at tech companies. My heat and water came from city utilities. My food came from the supermarket.
Seven years ago I moved to a farm in the countryside. I still work for tech companies (remotely), but now I heat my house with firewood from my forest. I grow my own fruits and vegetables. I make my own bacon, from pigs I raise and butcher.
A sane, possible choice
This project is for people like you – people who live in the city or the suburbs. Whether you’re already convinced that there’s a better, more in-touch-with-the-world lifestyle for you in the country, or just want to learn what your options are, this project has the information you need.
The good news is that moving from the city to the country is easier than you think… and it can be a lot more affordable than you think too. If you have even a modest home in the city or suburbs, you can trade it for a much nicer farm or homestead in the country, with all the conveniences you’re used to, at the same price. I know, because I’ve done it. I traded a 1,000 square foot, two bedroom 1950s cookie-cutter house on a postage stamp lot, for a 5,000 square foot, five bedroom recent-construction house…and it came with 40 acres of forest, 16 acres of pasture, and two ponds.
I used to commute in stop-and-go rush-hour traffic and shop at an overpriced supermarket. Now I work from home, where I eat lamb, pork, beef, eggs, fruit, and vegetables fresh from my farm – all of it higher quality than what I could buy at Whole Foods.
You can do the same.
All you need is information
You can move to the countryside, work a good-paying job, see your cost of living drop, and see your quality of life improve.
The only tricky part is learning the skills. When I moved to the country, I didn’t even know what questions to ask. I had to learn thousands of things about tractors, gardens, compost, livestock, and more. A lot of it the hard way.
Now I’ve put it all in a book – two books, actually, because there’s too much information to fit in one volume. Absolutely everything you need to know about country living and homesteading, to help you move from the suburbs or city out to the country, and thrive once you’re there.
Whether you want to plant orchards and raise livestock, or just want to have a few chickens for eggs, my books will give you everything you need to know. They’ll tell you what equipment and tools you need, and show you the skills to use them.
Why this book ?
There are endless books on gardening, farming, and homesteading – I know, I own hundreds of them. All of them have three failures.
They don’t have sufficient breadth. One will talk about compost but not gardening. Another will talk about gardening, but not tractors.
They all have blind spots. Especially about the basic stuff. They forget that thousands of things aren’t obvious to everyone. The difference between straw and hay, between sweet corn and field corn, discing versus plowing versus rototilling, pastures versus fields, the different kinds of fencing, how utilities differ from the suburbs to the countryside. A book on gardening doesn’t tell you what you really need to know about hoses. A book on firewood might tell you to haul logs with your tractor, but not everything you need to do it safely.
The third failure is the lack of itemized lists and step-by-step instructions. For every topic that I cover, there’s a conversational discussion, but I follow that up with simple checklists, overviews, alternative choices for different price points or enthusiasm levels, and step by step instructions. I also included dozens of recipes for every vegetable and fruit I grow, and for every part of every animal I raise, from apple cobbler to red wine, from beef fajitas to T bone steak, from Asian fried pork chop cutlets to head cheese and English black pudding.
This project delivers
This is not “here’s what I’m going to do” kickstarter. I’ve already written the book. …and I’ve done this before. Three years ago I kickstarted two novels I wrote, released them on time, and went on to win awards for them. All I need is your help to turn the manuscript into a finished, printed book…and put it in your hands.
You’ll get all the benefit of my experience — including dozens of misadventures, so you can learn from my mistakes. Broken sheer pins, logs jammed in snow blowers, bent tractor buckets, the wrong way to make vineyard trellises, invasive weeds and what not to do with them, trees falling where they shouldn’t, broken tractor implements, trespassing neighbors, dogs barking at coyotes, dogs barking at bears, escaped sheep, and pig carcasses falling from great heights.
And, of course, I talk about the pros and cons of farmhands, and why I really don’t believe the one who told me that the Hopi Indians planted corn seeds 4 feet underground.
Over the last decades millions of people have become more interested in gardening, ethically raised meat, becoming more self-sufficient, and having a lifestyle that doesn’t feel consumerist, fake, and constrained. I’m guessing you’re one of them. Whatever your dream of living in the country is like – a small vegetable garden, eating home made bacon in an off-grid compound, or just having a bigger house than you have now and heating it with a wood burning stove – I’ll tell you everything you need to know to plan realistically, and how to make your move to your country dream home a success.
Collaborative writing and early access
In these crazy times, a lot of people are looking for information RIGHT NOW. It’s my intention to share early drafts of the book, and invite conversation with the first 300 backers. You’ll get access to the content immediately, to help you make decisions about your own life in summer 2020 and beyond.
I expect the finished project to be around 1,000 pages of information – 800 pages of text, and 200 pages of photos, though that ratio could change based on a lot of factors). I’ve already written almost 700 pages of text.
The book is split across two volumes because no printer can bind 1,000 pages, but this is, in essence, one large book.
The books will be professionally printed. The trade paperbacks will be 6″ x 9″. The hardcover books will be the same size and have dust jackets. Pictures will be black and white (though all hard copies come with complimentary ebook versions which will have color photos).
The problem with writing 800 pages is not coming up with enough material to fill it all – it’s deciding what to prune (because longer books cost more to print).
As stretch goals, I’ll add extra content.
$ 10k – plans for a general purpose 12′ x 12′ utility shed
$ 15k – feast recipes #1: how to throw a pig roast for 50 friends
$ 20k – everything is negotiable: a primer on haggling
$ 25k – feast recipes #2: how to throw a viking farm party for 50 friends
$ 30k – LOCKED
$ 35k – LOCKED
$ 40k – LOCKED
Table of contents
The full table of contents is much larger than this; to make it manageable I’ve trimmed this to just top tier and second tier topics.
Intro: How to Read this book
Intro: Organization of this book
Intro: Types of Farming
Farming Scenarios: Which Is Right For You?
Farming Scenarios: Suburbanite In The Country
Farming Scenarios: A Garden With Chickens
Farming Scenarios: Market Gardener
Farming Scenarios: Homesteading
Farming Scenarios: Commercial Farmer
Life In The Country
Life In The Country: Things To Consider
Life In The Country: Distance From Civilization
Life In The Country: Taxes Vs Services
Life In The Country: Zoning, Landscaping Laws, Noise Ordinances
Life In The Country: Internet Access
Life In The Country: Neighbors
Life In The Country: Cultural Fit
Life In The Country: Jobs
Life In The Country: Buyer’s Remorse
Planning Your Move
Planning Your Move: Figuring Out What You Want
Planning Your Move: Ten Year Plan For Young Adults
Planning Your Move: Buying Your Homestead
Utilities: Internet / Phone
Buildings: Run-in Sheds
Buildings: Sugar Shack
Buildings: Garden Shed
Buildings: Tractor Shed
Buildings: Fabric Buildings
Buildings: Greenhouses, Cold Frames, High Tunnels And Low Tunnels
Buildings: Firewood Sheds
Vehicles: Tractor alternatives
Vehicles: Riding Mowers
Vehicles: ATVs / Quads / RUVs / ROVs / UTVs
Vehicles: Skidsteer loaders (“Bobcat”)
Raising Animals: Fences
Raising Animals: Chickens
Raising Animals: Turkeys
Raising Animals: Geese
Raising Animals: Goat And Sheep
Raising Animals: Pigs
Raising Animals: Cattle
Raising Plants: Orchard
Raising Plants: Berry Patch
Raising Plants: Vineyard
Raising Plants: Lawn
Raising Plants: Garden
Raising Plants: Pasture
Raising Plants: Field Crops
Forestry: Maple Syrup
Invasive Species: Japanese Knotweed
Invasive Species: Oriental Bittersweet
Invasive Species: Poison Ivy
Meat Processing: Introduction
Meat Processing: Equipment
Meat Processing: Slaughtering
Meat Processing: Butchering
Household: Food Storage
Farmhands: Safety and Legal Concerns
Selling Products From Your Farm
Selling Products From Your Farm: Stage 0 – Giving Gifts
Selling Products From Your Farm: Stage 1 – Sell As A Small Merchant
Selling Products From Your Farm: Stage 2 – Sell As A Commodity Farmer
Selling Products From Your Farm: Laws
Recipes: Fruit And Berries
Recipes: Goat, Mutton, And Lamb
Recipes: Chicken, Turkey, Goose, and Duck
Recipes: Sausage making and Charcuterie
Workshop: Hand Tools
Workshop: Compressors And Pneumatic Tools
Irrigation And Drainage
Irrigation And Drainage: Drainage
Irrigation And Drainage: Drainage: Legal Concerns
Irrigation And Drainage: Drainage: Ditches
Irrigation And Drainage: Drainage: French Drains
Irrigation And Drainage: Drainage: Downspout Adapters And Catch Basins
Irrigation And Drainage: Drainage: Retention Basin
Irrigation And Drainage: Drainage: Dry Well
Irrigation And Drainage: Irrigation
Irrigation And Drainage: Irrigation: Pipe Thread
Essays: Near Mode vs Far Mode
Essays: Critique of the Open Source Ecology Global Village Construction Set
The full table of contents is much larger than shown here – as an example, the one bullet point “Tractors” above expands into almost two dozen sub sections, covering options, accessories, safety, connecting implements, choosing tire types, and more. Most of the above chapters are the same – as another example, “Irrigation” covers sprinkler types, pipe type, drip tape, pressure regulators, fertigation, and more. The level of detail is intense.
Extra copies, BackerKit, Shipping
If you want multiple copies, or more than one type of copy (e.g. two sets of trade paperbacks for Christmas gifts, plus a set of hardcovers for yourself), select one reward and pledge the appropriate dollar amount for everything you want.
When the kickstarter ends all backers will be directed to BackerKit, at which point you’ll be able to specify exactly which items you want.
BackerKit will also ask for your address and charge you actual shipping. I will use USPS Media Mail for US shipments, which I expect to cost around $3 for one book and $4-5 for two books.
Free Upgrade to hardcover
If you pledge at the “both trade paperbacks” level, and tweet a link to this kickstarter with the hashtag #EscapeTheCity, I’ll enter you in a drawing for a free upgrade from paperback to hardcover. One upgrade will be awarded per 50 people participating.
Thank you for backing this kickstarter. I spent decades dreaming about moving to a farm, then I did it and spent another seven years learning what I need to know. I’m thankful for the opportunity to share what I’ve learned with you, and I appreciate your help bringing this project to fruition.