Homesteading-book review

Homesteading, it’s a buzzword that means different things to different people, back in the day, it meant getting land for free as long as you lived on it and improved it for x number of years. It was a way to get people to move west (in the USA), back when travel was slow and painful, even dangerous.

Today it usually refers to someone who is living more like our ancestors did, in a more self sufficient manner, on a plot of land, often raising livestock, growing their own food, living more independently. Most of us are more than one generation removed from those who lived on a farm or homestead, so we don’t benefit from the knowledge of our family members who lived in a more self sufficient manner. I know in my family, it was my great grand parents who had lived on a farm, my grandparents and parents lived in suburban neighborhoods with small yards and animals no bigger than a dog.

Because of this, those of us who want to live closer to the land have to resort to alternative methods of obtaining  knowledge. I continually scour the internet for books about living off-grid, gardening and such, I found this book The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading: An Encyclopedia of Independent Living (The Ultimate Guides), actually I didn’t find it, I was offered an opportunity to review it and I jumped at the chance, it was a book I had been looking at previously and was more than happy to review it.

I keep getting distracted from writing because I keep finding more and more interesting things in this book to read, I just read about growing cotton, then picking it, cleaning it, and spinning it. Since I crochet, this is especially appealing to me, and something I think I can do with little trouble. For now, I’m not set up to raise wool bearing animals, but I can grow cotton and process it.

This book has a lot to offer, it doesn’t go into extreme detail on any one subject, but gives you enough information so that you can decide if that particular thing is something you really want to try.  Nicole Faires (don’t you just love her name?) the author, has certainly lived the life, she is not just spouting theory, she grew up on a hobby farm raising chickens and growing her own food among other things.

While not an exhaustive list of homesteading subjects, I believe it covers the majority of them quite nicely, such as:

  • land-buying, communities…
  • water-getting it, purifying it and such
  • food-finding it, growing it, preserving it…
  • animals-livestock, domestic…
  • shelter-various home styles, barns, fences…
  • financial-making money from your skills…
  • health-medicines, herbal medicines,
  • and lots more

There is a great  dictionary in the back so you will at least sound like you know what you are talking about when chatting with the old timers at the feed store, LOL, seriously, I have had a good time reading the terminology and their meanings. Such as “butt-up”, before reading this book, I would have said that is how one lands when tripping over a rock and doing a face plant, now I know that is a type of roof ridge made in thatching which forces the straw together from both sides of the roof to form a peak. “Flying change”, I would think it’s what happens when you lose control of your change purse, but it really has to do with horses.

Near the back of the book, just before the index, the author’s bio and several blank pages (perfect for adding your own notes), there is a great bibliography with tons of resources, mostly in the form of internet links. These will send you to more detailed resources for the subjects found in this book. This alone is worth the price of the book.

The book is easy to read, well made, with lots of color photographs and diagrams, nice thick glossy pages ensure this book will last for a long time, that’s a good thing because once you have this book, you will be referring to it over and over again throughout the years.

PB (my hubby) has been trying to steal this book from me ever since I received it, his comment on it was that it is a good all over resource, not detailed on each thing, but a good book and he’s glad we have it, he has also been going on and on about how well this book is physically put together, the binding, the paper quality and the pictures. Now that I’m finished with this review, I can safely give the book to him, I’ll not see it again for a while. :)

See my other book reviews here:

Honesty disclaimer:
I did receive this book free from the publisher for the expressed intent of giving a review, that in no way influenced my review, all of my reviews are honest and from the heart.

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2 Responses

  1. Interesting tips left by elnav above. Good looking out. We are now preparing to move out onto our own lil homestead. Thank goodness the hubby has been raised off-grid on farms. I am so looking forward to our new life. Each day in this system that I listen to CNN and the goings on in Washington make my heart yearn for what we are preparing.

    I am grateful for sites like this that “get it”.


    Lovin’ Locks

  2. Guess I am fortunate. My wife was born and raised on a homestead. She was seven before they bought a generator ‘lighting plant’ So our information on off-grid is first hand. Many of our neighbors were also born and raised on off-grid homesteads. If you get a book about local history or the early pioneers chances are you will find them featured in one of these books.
    Yesterday Amanda learned about someone disposing of a dozen boxes of old cook books. Needless to say some of them will have old recipes and kitchen tricks. And we know of one yough lady who will be glad of the newer books. We have also learned that going shopping in good will stores near old mennonite communities often yield great non electric appliances , Its a case of when the older generation leave the homestead the children decide to get rid of all that ‘old junk’ mom and dad had so they load everything into a truck and drop it off at the good will store.

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