Current Reads: V

I’ve recently read a rash of books about living off the land, making things by hand, and living (what I think is) The Good Life. I thought I’d share this bounty.

Made From Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life by Jenna Woginrich

Made From Scratch

Graphic designer by day, somewhat of a farmer by night, Jenna makes “discovering the pleasures of a handmade life” seem feasible for us 9-to-5-ers, since she is part of our cubicle ranks. Jenna also breaks down things such as caring for chickens and honey bees down into parts and pieces that actually seem less daunting than I had originally though. Even if you never want to bake a loaf of bread, feed a chicken, or play a dulcimer, this book is a fun read and stimulates one’s thinking. In fact, I can directly attribute my skill with a box grater to this book.

We Took to the Woods by Louise Dickinson Rich

We Took to the Woods

We Took to the Woods is the story of a family who moved to the very rural woods of Maine and how they eked out a living without being farmers or owning livestock. The book answers every question you might have for the family–do you get bored? How do you handle housework? What do you do in the winters? I stayed up many nights reading this book because I just couldn’t put it down. Highly recommended even if you never desire to leave your heating and a/c.

Putting Food By: Fifth Edition by Ruth Hertzberg, Janet Greene, and Beatrice Vaughan

Putting Food By

If you’ve ever been daunted by canning or scared of giving botulism to those nearest and dearest, this is the book for you.

Putting Food By is the quintessential reference book and idea starter for those just starting out into the world of canning as well as experienced canners. Bonus: I found my copy for $0.50 at a thrift store.

Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn’t Make From Scratch–Over 120 Recipes for Homemade Foods by Jennifer Reese

Make the Bread, Buy the Butter

My new favorite book.

Jennifer writes like she’s having a conversation. I found myself nodding, laughing, and trying to prop my eyelids up enough to read just one more page.

In addition to being entertaining, I learned how to make Worcestershire sauce, bagels, and sweet-hot pickle relish. I call this book a win.

The Backyard Homestead: Produce All the Food You Need On Just a Quarter Acre! by Carleen Madigan

The Backyard Homestead

The title sounds too good to be true–growing as much food as you need on a quarter acre? Sounded like a load of crap to me. But then I read the book, which was rife with details on how to plant, what configurations work better than others and what animals you should raise (and how many). In addition to detailing what to do with a quarter acre, this book also shows how to work with other (larger) amounts of land, if you’re lucky enough to have more than a measly quarter acre (I don’t even have that much….).

Highly recommended and very, very informative.

Encyclopedia of Country Living 10th Edition by Carla Emery

Encyclopedia of Country Living

This is the quintessential book on all things home, and would be indispensable if you live on a homestead, but can be just as useful if you’re an urbanite. The author began gathering information from elderly farmers and homesteaders in the 1960s and has been adding to the book ever since; there are at least 10 editions that I know of (I have the 9th).

If you have this book, you probably don’t need many others on the topic.If you can think of a question about country living, this book can answer it. Seriously, name one.

Ever want to know the difference between winnowing and threshing? Or how to do either with animals by hand?

It’s in the book.

Or have you ever wondered how to deliver your own baby?

It’s in the book.

Want to make your own linen? Need to press oil from seeds? Yearn to make your own lard?

It’s all in the book.

Now go get the book and find the answers to all those other burning questions I know you have.

suck it, martha.

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2 Comments on “Current Reads: V”

  1. February 25, 2013 at 7:10 am #

    Really great post, thank you! I must put these on my book list.

    • March 4, 2013 at 6:52 am #

      Glad you found it interesting! Let me know what you think!

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