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Homesteading: A Backyard Guide to Growing Your Own Food, Canning, Keeping Chickens, Generating Your Own Energy, Crafting, Herbal Medicine, and More

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Who doesn’t want to shrink their carbon footprint, save money, and eat homegrown food whenever possible? Even readers who are very much on the grid will embrace this large, fully-illustrated guide on the basics of living the good, clean life. It’s written with country lovers in mind—even those who currently live in the city. Whether you live in the city, the suburbs, or ev Who doesn’t want to shrink their carbon footprint, save money, and eat homegrown food whenever possible? Even readers who are very much on the grid will embrace this large, fully-illustrated guide on the basics of living the good, clean life. It’s written with country lovers in mind—even those who currently live in the city. Whether you live in the city, the suburbs, or even the wilderness, there is plenty you can do to improve your life from a green perspective. Got sunlight? Start container gardening. With a few plants, fresh tomatoes, which then become canned tomato sauce, are a real option. Reduce electricity use by eating dinner by candlelight (using homemade candles, of course). Learn to use rainwater to augment water supplies. Make your own soap and hand lotion. Consider keeping chickens for the eggs. From what to eat to supporting sustainable restaurants to avoiding dry cleaning, this book offers information on anything a homesteader needs—and more.


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Who doesn’t want to shrink their carbon footprint, save money, and eat homegrown food whenever possible? Even readers who are very much on the grid will embrace this large, fully-illustrated guide on the basics of living the good, clean life. It’s written with country lovers in mind—even those who currently live in the city. Whether you live in the city, the suburbs, or ev Who doesn’t want to shrink their carbon footprint, save money, and eat homegrown food whenever possible? Even readers who are very much on the grid will embrace this large, fully-illustrated guide on the basics of living the good, clean life. It’s written with country lovers in mind—even those who currently live in the city. Whether you live in the city, the suburbs, or even the wilderness, there is plenty you can do to improve your life from a green perspective. Got sunlight? Start container gardening. With a few plants, fresh tomatoes, which then become canned tomato sauce, are a real option. Reduce electricity use by eating dinner by candlelight (using homemade candles, of course). Learn to use rainwater to augment water supplies. Make your own soap and hand lotion. Consider keeping chickens for the eggs. From what to eat to supporting sustainable restaurants to avoiding dry cleaning, this book offers information on anything a homesteader needs—and more.

30 review for Homesteading: A Backyard Guide to Growing Your Own Food, Canning, Keeping Chickens, Generating Your Own Energy, Crafting, Herbal Medicine, and More

  1. 4 out of 5

    Zach

    I love reading factual books and this one was no exception. This book was filled with hundreds of pages covered with invaluable information that will and has helped me improve my everyday life. I would recommend this book to any outdoorsy person or people living in rural enviroments.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    This is the worst how-to book for homesteading/gardening/raising livestock/building/etc that I have ever read. You will get more useful information by getting a children's picture book on 'Clifford Goes to the Farm' than from this book. Information here is either sketchy, not there, outdated, or just plain wrong. In the first aid section (and I'm still not sure why a homesteading book has a first aid section), it tells you how to put on a tourniquet! That's right next to the picture from the 19 This is the worst how-to book for homesteading/gardening/raising livestock/building/etc that I have ever read. You will get more useful information by getting a children's picture book on 'Clifford Goes to the Farm' than from this book. Information here is either sketchy, not there, outdated, or just plain wrong. In the first aid section (and I'm still not sure why a homesteading book has a first aid section), it tells you how to put on a tourniquet! That's right next to the picture from the 1939 Boy Scout Handbook on how to carry an injured person. Really?!? Oh, and if you're going to make yogurt - good luck following the instructions here. I've made yogurt for years and can tell you that the recipe/instructions are wrong and bordering on stupid. Same for the build-your-own-barn 'instructions' and the home canning/freezing guides. There are dozens of books out there that can help you get started homesteading. If the apocalypse comes and you can only grab one how-to-survive-and-raise-your-own-everything book, hope and pray that it's not this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I was very disappointed in this book primarily because the title is so misleading. It is more of a pop-suburban form of more self-sufficient living than actual homesteading. The information is pretty basic and somewhat random (12 pages of food co-ops?, making your own bead jewelry? really?) The pictures are pretty but many doen't evoke backcountry homesteading life to me. A short section dedicated to stress management techniques (yoga and massage) and another on home decorating (hanging wall pap I was very disappointed in this book primarily because the title is so misleading. It is more of a pop-suburban form of more self-sufficient living than actual homesteading. The information is pretty basic and somewhat random (12 pages of food co-ops?, making your own bead jewelry? really?) The pictures are pretty but many doen't evoke backcountry homesteading life to me. A short section dedicated to stress management techniques (yoga and massage) and another on home decorating (hanging wall paper and light sconces) utterly destroyed the entire ridiculous facade of a series homesteading book. Marketed under a different title it may have been better received, but as it is I just can't help feeling cheated.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ann Keller

    Homesteading is extremely relevant, as we pursue our efforts to adopt a more “green” lifestyle on a worldwide scale. The reader will find a host of useful ideas in this book, ranging from growing your own food, canning fruits and vegetables, smoking meats, designing and erecting wind turbines, the art of keeping bees, constructing poultry houses and even solar and thermal heating systems. Photographs and designs will spark the reader’s imagination and, hopefully, lead to a better and cleaner Ear Homesteading is extremely relevant, as we pursue our efforts to adopt a more “green” lifestyle on a worldwide scale. The reader will find a host of useful ideas in this book, ranging from growing your own food, canning fruits and vegetables, smoking meats, designing and erecting wind turbines, the art of keeping bees, constructing poultry houses and even solar and thermal heating systems. Photographs and designs will spark the reader’s imagination and, hopefully, lead to a better and cleaner Earth for us all.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emily Mellow

    I cannot even give this book a chance, because the text is too small to even think about reading. It's crazy small. Hopefully I'm not missing any valuable information. I think this book is trying to cover too much, and from briefly skimming it, it seems like it cannot cover any topic in depth. Better to get a book on beekeeping if that's what you're into, or generating your own power, or canning, etc. One book for all these topics could not do justice to them. I cannot even give this book a chance, because the text is too small to even think about reading. It's crazy small. Hopefully I'm not missing any valuable information. I think this book is trying to cover too much, and from briefly skimming it, it seems like it cannot cover any topic in depth. Better to get a book on beekeeping if that's what you're into, or generating your own power, or canning, etc. One book for all these topics could not do justice to them.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    I saw this book at the library and checked it out because i wanted to get more information on raising chickens. Which I found out that it was way too basic of info to be of much help. I really needed detailed instructions or tips to start chicks and keep them healthy. The book told more about how to build a chicken coop... which i didn't need. but overall it was really quite interesting - even soap making recipes and canning foods recipes! I saw this book at the library and checked it out because i wanted to get more information on raising chickens. Which I found out that it was way too basic of info to be of much help. I really needed detailed instructions or tips to start chicks and keep them healthy. The book told more about how to build a chicken coop... which i didn't need. but overall it was really quite interesting - even soap making recipes and canning foods recipes!

  7. 4 out of 5

    William

    Emphasis is on breadth rather than depth.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Wolf Fortenberry

    I am extremely disappointed with this book. I should have known from the beginning with as many topics as it says it covers, but this book is college textbook sized. It’s massive... massively disappointing. There are a few good things in here to give you ideas on things to try yourself, but that’s about it, only general ideas. Nothing to really sink your teeth into. The biggest issue I have with this book is some seriously misguided info in the livestock section - enough so that if someone were I am extremely disappointed with this book. I should have known from the beginning with as many topics as it says it covers, but this book is college textbook sized. It’s massive... massively disappointing. There are a few good things in here to give you ideas on things to try yourself, but that’s about it, only general ideas. Nothing to really sink your teeth into. The biggest issue I have with this book is some seriously misguided info in the livestock section - enough so that if someone were to follow these authors’ suggestions, they could easily end up with dead livestock. It makes me wonder what other topics, that I am unfamiliar with in this book, are spreading potentially dangerous misinformation. In my opinion this book is not worth buying.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lmichelleb

    This may be a hasty review, since I skipped several sections and skimmed many, but I found this book to be trying to cover too much territory to be much use. The section on chickens (which I was especially interested in) was not informative enough to get a beginner started, and it looked to me that many other topics were treated the same: cursory and not enough detail to be helpful. Not recommended.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Louise

    A useful introduction of terms

  11. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    Behold, the lesbian farmer!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amy Burdick

    Excellent book, everything you need to know about homesteading. Things I hadn't thought of. Excellent book, everything you need to know about homesteading. Things I hadn't thought of.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Connie

    This is an interesting overview book but I guess there's not enough information to do more than dabble in any of the skills described. It's probably enough for many people, who'd perhaps prefer to try something once, get a mediocre result while they are working out the process and refining it for themselves. I'm more the sort of person who likes a little more complete information and specialized info right up front. Thus, for example, if I wanted to know how to make jam, I'd rather have a book d This is an interesting overview book but I guess there's not enough information to do more than dabble in any of the skills described. It's probably enough for many people, who'd perhaps prefer to try something once, get a mediocre result while they are working out the process and refining it for themselves. I'm more the sort of person who likes a little more complete information and specialized info right up front. Thus, for example, if I wanted to know how to make jam, I'd rather have a book dedicated to that subject than this one, with a few pages on the basics. But it's a fun read with some overview info that I enjoyed. Just in case the zombies destroy civilization or whatnot, you know....

  14. 4 out of 5

    David Gross

    If you want a catalog of things to go study, an idea cache so to speak, then this book is fine. If you want a guide to the things this claims to guide, then you really want Seymour's "The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live it." It covers roughly the same turf, but it is written from the position of experience. This book feels like it is written by someone who just googled each topic and did a summary of what she found. This is not inherently bad, but it makes the book much less useful than it s If you want a catalog of things to go study, an idea cache so to speak, then this book is fine. If you want a guide to the things this claims to guide, then you really want Seymour's "The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live it." It covers roughly the same turf, but it is written from the position of experience. This book feels like it is written by someone who just googled each topic and did a summary of what she found. This is not inherently bad, but it makes the book much less useful than it should be. Save yourself the money, and Google "what backyard skills should I know to be self-sufficient?" and then research whatever topics you find interesting for yourself, or just buy John Seymour's book instead.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rebecka

    Good book. She starts off with an excited interesting tone, but then looses it half-way through the book. Or well, i lost interest when i found out that low acid foods require more labor to can and more equiptment, for instance the pressure cooker needed to take care of bacteria. Guess i'll stick with drying vegetables for now. But at least i didn't waste money on the wrong kind of canning kit. I would recommend the digital copy because the size of the book was very inconvenient. When you open i Good book. She starts off with an excited interesting tone, but then looses it half-way through the book. Or well, i lost interest when i found out that low acid foods require more labor to can and more equiptment, for instance the pressure cooker needed to take care of bacteria. Guess i'll stick with drying vegetables for now. But at least i didn't waste money on the wrong kind of canning kit. I would recommend the digital copy because the size of the book was very inconvenient. When you open it - it's 2 feet wide. Not easy for a lounger and cup of tea. I felt like i was tied to the table. Not cool.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cara

    OMG this book is self-sufficiency pr0n. I was already getting a bit nutsy about making local, sustainable food, making my own bread, learning to make my own cheese. This book makes me want to raise my own chickens and goats, make my own yogurt, basically move to the country, start a farm, and do my own everything. All with gorgeous pictures! No room for details on anything--if you actually want to do any of this stuff, get a book on it. But lots of fun for dreaming.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    This is not the book most people will pick up for a casual read, but I'm a glutton for information. :) The book is packed with useful information that I recommend for anyone interested in gardening, self-sufficiency, and better, greener living. This is the kind of knowledge that doesnt get passed on from generation to generation much these days as we become increasingly more an urban culture. A must read in my opinion. This is not the book most people will pick up for a casual read, but I'm a glutton for information. :) The book is packed with useful information that I recommend for anyone interested in gardening, self-sufficiency, and better, greener living. This is the kind of knowledge that doesnt get passed on from generation to generation much these days as we become increasingly more an urban culture. A must read in my opinion.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    First off, if you read this book cover to cover, I am pretty certain you would go blind because the type font is freakishly small. Information is distributed somewhat unevenly -- cursory info on growing plants for food but a huge chapter on canning? How am I supposed to grow enough to can anything? The book does serve as a good overview of a lot of ideas, but should probably be seen as a jumping-off point, rather than a definitive guide.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Astrid Yrigollen

    This book is a great overview of the many different things a person who wants to start their own little back yard farm needs to know. Its a great starting point if you want to see the different options you have if you want to do a little homesteading. Covers growing , canning preserving veggies & chickens, sheep,wool, shearing, energy systems,building a stanle, chicken coop, bee keeping and a lot more.

  20. 5 out of 5

    gina

    A good beginner book to have on your shelves if you are interested in living off the land. It has a little bit about everything. I was especially enamored by the canning section. The pieces are short and easy to digest. If you're really about to homestead then you'll need other books to flesh out the brief coverage of topics in this one, but still a good overview and fun book to have. A good beginner book to have on your shelves if you are interested in living off the land. It has a little bit about everything. I was especially enamored by the canning section. The pieces are short and easy to digest. If you're really about to homestead then you'll need other books to flesh out the brief coverage of topics in this one, but still a good overview and fun book to have.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    A lot of really useful and interesting information in this book, from growing plants in your garden to making your own cheese to alternative energy sources to recipes for homemade lip balm. Basically a broad view of each topic, but there was enough information to get a start with and determine if it's something you really want to delve into. A lot of really useful and interesting information in this book, from growing plants in your garden to making your own cheese to alternative energy sources to recipes for homemade lip balm. Basically a broad view of each topic, but there was enough information to get a start with and determine if it's something you really want to delve into.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kenzi

    This is a great book for anyone who thinks they might be interested in doing more for themselves. It's not in depth or a true guide to doing much as it claims-but it gives a great overview of many homesteading things. It's a good book to see what is out there so you can read other books that are more in depth. This is a great book for anyone who thinks they might be interested in doing more for themselves. It's not in depth or a true guide to doing much as it claims-but it gives a great overview of many homesteading things. It's a good book to see what is out there so you can read other books that are more in depth.

  23. 4 out of 5

    D

    Esthetically pleasing, perhaps inspiring, but not particularly in-depth. Many topics are covered including solid advice, but this should be viewed as more of a coffee table book than a reference book overall. Tons of pretty pictures and enough information to get someone started on various projects, but yeah, probably a lot like many other similar books out there cashing in on "the dream". Esthetically pleasing, perhaps inspiring, but not particularly in-depth. Many topics are covered including solid advice, but this should be viewed as more of a coffee table book than a reference book overall. Tons of pretty pictures and enough information to get someone started on various projects, but yeah, probably a lot like many other similar books out there cashing in on "the dream".

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mathew Carruthers

    Skimmed through most of it, but spent most of my time looking through the edible wild plant section and checking out the handy companion planting chart. Unfortunately, it has to go back to the library today. Well worth looking into, especially if you've already read "Back to Basics" by the same author. Skimmed through most of it, but spent most of my time looking through the edible wild plant section and checking out the handy companion planting chart. Unfortunately, it has to go back to the library today. Well worth looking into, especially if you've already read "Back to Basics" by the same author.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sara Q

    I didn't expect much from such a short book claiming to cover so many topics, but - wow! This could be a very handy reference book with a lot of helpful quick tips on things ranging from canning food to making compost. Many of these activities I will probably never try myself, but this is a good way to get a quick look at how much might be involved in that random new hobby you're considering. I didn't expect much from such a short book claiming to cover so many topics, but - wow! This could be a very handy reference book with a lot of helpful quick tips on things ranging from canning food to making compost. Many of these activities I will probably never try myself, but this is a good way to get a quick look at how much might be involved in that random new hobby you're considering.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    Not deep knowledge on any subject, yet still a fantastic overview of a homesteading life, and with doable projects whether your idea of your homestead is a tomato plant in a bucket on the patio or an off the grid, water collecting, solar powering grow your own food, animals and animal feed providing sustainable farm. Lots of fun info, and shortcuts to do most projects on a budget.

  27. 4 out of 5

    judith kilgore-atkins

    Love!! Has a step by step process on how to gradually get off the grid (or find the right place on the grid) w/out going cold turkey. Describes how to make your own energy, food, shelter and how to even be an *urban homesteader*. Very easy and enjoyable read. Love the illustrations and diagrams.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lynne

    A broad overview of home craft ideas; visually appealing photos and diagrams. Includes growing and preserving food, simple constructs for energy conservation, crafts, and do-it-yourself projects. Recipes: making soap, chicken feed Photos: edible mushrooms

  29. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    When I say, "read" I mean "flipped through it and read the parts that interested me." It was a good book to get ideas from. There's lots of information. Not too in-depth on any one topic but good to look through. When I say, "read" I mean "flipped through it and read the parts that interested me." It was a good book to get ideas from. There's lots of information. Not too in-depth on any one topic but good to look through.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Marjorie Elwood

    This had some interesting departures from what I would consider homesteading, in the "crafts to sell" section, for instance. The explanations and instructions for all sections were clear and comprehensive and the text was easy to understand and free of the political undertones of many such books. This had some interesting departures from what I would consider homesteading, in the "crafts to sell" section, for instance. The explanations and instructions for all sections were clear and comprehensive and the text was easy to understand and free of the political undertones of many such books.

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