Picky doesn’t even begin to describe my attitude toward homestead and natural living books. I’m definitely discerning; some people might say ‘harsh’. And honestly, they’d be right. I want books that are useful, beautiful, enjoyable, and lasting.
As I mentioned in my review of The Grace of Enough, I’m just not interested in owning printed out blog posts. So my collection of homesteading books is varied and only moderately sized.
Most of the time, I chose books that inspire me, and work out the practical stuff on my own. But I do seek out books that can do both. Books that are practical and full of wisdom; books that guide and inspire.
These are my favorites:
Grow, Cook, Nourish. By Darina Allen
Darina is a rural goddess. I have two of her books, written from her family farm in southwesten Ireland. Grow, Cook, Nourish is a bundle of wisdom gathered from years spent growing, cooking, and nourishing the bodies and hearts of those around her.
Written in a gentle, conversational style, Darina invites us all to sit around her wide farm table and talk about gardens, food, and community. I adore this book. The recipes range from extremely simple to delightfully complex. They’re consistently delicious.
The Homesteader’s Handbook. By Richard Israel and Reny Slay
Another homesteading couple gave us this book years ago. It was written in the 70s by back to the landers, and the 70s vibe is strong here. But it touches on animal care, gardening, cooking from bulk foods, and keeping your hippie commune clean!
True to hippe-form, there’s a detailed pot growing section in the gardening chapters, so be aware of that before handing in on to interested kids. I prefer to avoid all marijuana related products, so I just skip past that areas entirely.
Make Your Place. By Raleigh Briggs
This is an adorable little book with a bundle of wisdom inside. Everything from DIY cleaning supplies to body soaps to herbal remedies – I did remove the section referencing abortifacient herbs (though not giving advice), and because of that section, you may want to buy a used copy to avoid accidentally supporting something problematic.
But the book itself is helpful, with a cute tone, and a focus on low-consumption DIY projects. With so many unsustainable DIY projects out there, I really appreciated the author’s focus on low-waste projects.
Honorable Mention goes to…
The Reader’s digest Back to Basics Book!
Back to Basics is..well, basic. It gives you a quick overview of a variety of skills. I’ve owned this book since high school, and it’s been a huge source of inspiration. Now that I’m actually building many of the skills outlined in Back to Basics, I’m finding myself revisiting it, and adjusting the advice to my own needs.
What do you think? Any homesteading or homemaking books on your shelves that you think I should read?