Homegrown & Handmade: A Practical Guide to More Self-Reliant Living gives you all of the information you need to get started homesteading, whether you live in the city or the country. It includes sections on gardening, canning, fruit trees, the home dairy, backyard poultry, and homegrown fiber, as well as recipes for all the things you grow.
Raising Goats Naturally: A Complete Guide to Milk, Meat, and More is about raising goats without scheduled doses of chemical or herbal dewormers and letting moms raise their babies as nature intended. Over the years I’ve discovered that with proper management of pastures and good nutrition, goats are extremely healthy and productive animals that don’t need constant drugs or veterinary attention. I’ve also learned that goats in different parts of the country have different needs, so rather than creating a one-size-fits-all approach to raising goats, I give you the information you need so that you can create an environment where your goats will thrive.
Ecothrifty: Cheaper, Greener Choices for a Happier, Healthier Life is basically my response to people who think that living a greener life has to be complicated and expensive. The reality is that you will save money and time by making truly greener choices, and you’ll be happier and healthier too!
The rest of this page will always be a work in progress because I will never stop reading!
If you’re not sure which animals you want to raise, Small Scale Livestock Farming is a good place to start. It also includes great info on hay, which I knew nothing about when we moved out here.
Another great book with a little information on everything is Storey’s Basic Country Skills.
If you’re thinking about getting goats, Living With Goats is a good book to give you an idea of what you’ll be facing as a goat owner. To learn a bit more about the book, check out my blog post when author Margaret Hathaway visited the blog in 2009.
If you think goats are cool, but aren’t sure whether you want them or not, you could start with Margaret’s first book, Year of the Goat, which is about their year traveling around the country visiting goat farms. Click here for my review. And if you already love goats, it’s also an excellent read!
If you’re like I was, you might assume that stuff just rots, so what do you need to know about composting? Well, as it turns out, there is a lot to know. The Idiot’s Guide to Composting by Chris McLaughlin is my personal favorite book on the subject. Want to know more? I hosted the author on my blog when the book came out in 2010, so click here to read about it.
To learn how to cook things like stew hens that you don’t find in a modern supermarket, you need to find cookbooks printed in the 1970s or earlier. They’re usually easy to find and very cheap at garage and estate sales, and I scored the entire 20-volume set of Better Homes and Gardens Encyclopedia of Cooking from 1973 on Freecycle!
You can learn everything you need to know to get started canning your fresh garden produce by reading the Ball Blue Book. They come out with a new edition every year, but there is very little different from one edition to the next. You can find it wherever they sell canning supplies.
I had not read Michael Pollan’s books before we moved out here, but now that I’ve read them, I am so glad that we’re raising a lot of our own food and buying locally. My reviews of his books are here:
If you’ve ever thought that Americans are a little crazy about food fads, you might enjoy French Women Don’t Get Fat. I’ve never fallen for the carb craze or the protein craze or any of those “in” or “out” foods, like oat bran and margarine. If it’s real, I eat it; if it’s fake, I don’t. My daughter bought this book, and I don’t remember why I read it, but I loved it. Here are Part I and Part II of my review.