This general guide to crops and animal husbandry for the novice homesteader or vacation farmer is, in the words of the author, a ""boy scout manual,"" in which basic information is laced with cheerful encouragement. The author discusses soil and tillage anticipating the plight of a beginner foundering with plow and harrow amid thigh-slapping neighbors. The processes are explained in an almost lyrical fashion for late-night study: ""you're plowing up the field, crossing the headland, and plowing down to the other headland in an ever-widening parallelogram."" Then on to fertilizers (organic of course), vegetable and fruit planting, care and harvesting, pest control (of the praying mantis and dish-of-beer school), the raising and care of chickens, goats, pigs and honeybees. Slaughtering methods are described and then Langer mollifies the squeamish (don't be ashamed of it). There is a sizable list of government agencies, suppliers, and publications for further reference. An illustrated, overly sunny prospectus, possibly, but it does give the back-to-the-soil group some idea of what lies ahead.