Hits and misses of DIY projects, both big and small.

Add to My MSN

And Here's To You, Mr. Robinson

11/9/2009 10:25:37 AM

Tags: Rototiller, Ed Robinson, Geoff Taylor

A few weeks ago, rummaging in an antique store, I found a booklet by Ed Robinson, titled How to Do Wonders With a Little Land. The sponsor was Rototiller; I've used Rototiller's inventions for the last forty years with great happiness.

The booklet covers all the bases. The balance of text and photographs eases the eye, with a splash of red on the front and back covers to catch it. This little booklet of mine looks like it has been read a hundred times, but there are no disrespectful dog-ears. (And it still does its magic: After reading it once, almost fifty years after publication, I find myself consumed by a desire to own a Rototiller — as soon as possible.)

The copyright date is 1954. At the time, I was three years old, living in a brownstone in Greenwich Village. Ed and his wife, Carolyn, had already taken the big jump and moved to rural Connecticut. But this booklet, and the simple, all-important book that it helped promote — The Have-More Plan, published by the MacMillan Co. and republished in the first issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS — not only set the course of my life, but also put me on the path of my livelihood as a writer.

This February, MOTHER EARTH NEWS will celebrate its 40th anniversary. How time flies. In 1972, I discovered MOTHER EARTH NEWS at my favorite local bookstore, Grass Roots in Corvallis, Ore. There was a rack with all the back issues, including the first. I purchased every one. (And yes, I still have them.) Took them home, started with No. 1, and inhaled every word. It was like discovering a universe of limitless joy and independence, contained between the covers of a magazine.

It was like planting a seed. In 1980, I sold my first national article to MOTHER EARTH NEWS, about rebuilding a burned-out house. Since then, I’ve earned a living as a freelance, and have churned out many booklets such as the one Ed Robinson wrote. I doubt my booklets have changed any lives. But his began to change my life, for the unimaginably better, when I was still knee-high. Thank you, Ed Robinson.


Related Content

The Benefits of Homesteading: An Introduction to the Have-More Plan

Read as Ed Robinson, author of the 1940s "Have-More Plan," shares why his family made the move to th...

Homesteading Expert Lloyd Kahn Reviews His Favorite Tools From the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Green building guru Lloyd Kahn recounts his favorite new discoveries from the Puyallup, Wash., MOTHE...

Great Farming and Gardening Tools for Women

While people come in all shapes and sizes, too many farm and garden tools are designed for a mythica...

Homemade Rototiller

Turn your worn-out, gas-powered rototiller into a homemade electric tiller.

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.