My partner and I have a fun game we like to play. We have about a million homesteading books and what we like to do is ask each other a homesteading question and the other has to find the answer in one of the books. For example, how to build a gate? And the other would go through one of the books to find the answer. Another gem is “how to skin a rabbit?” and you can find anything in these books. There isn’t anything you can’t find. Well, at least anything about homesteading. And skinning a rabbit is in there. In two books actually. Same technique though, in case you were curious.
Don’t be confused, we aren’t homesteaders. We aren’t living off the grid, churning our own butter, and growing all of our own food, but gosh darn it (insert knee slap here), we want to be! So we buy up all the books we can, read some, skim others, and hope that by having these books in the house, the words will transfer into our minds and we will “learn” everything they have to “teach” through some sort of osmosis. Bookshelf osmosis. And then one day, when we have figured out how we can make it as homesteaders, and we are ready to build gates and skin rabbits (or not) we will give it a go. But that of course will take more than learning about homesteading, it will also take some planning and saving, mostly saving. We think we have the plan part down. Wanna hear the plan?
Our master plan has changed about a dozen times since we first dreamt it up, but I will fast track and give you the current version. To start, we already bought our homestead, Ferngully, at least that is what we call it. It is 84 acres of river front that has a quaint old home on it. The property is a mix of cedars, cottonwoods, and other green trees I can’t name, and between all these trees are ferns! They are everywhere. It makes you feel like you are in some sort of semi –rainforest part of Canada (which I nto didn’t think existed). Basically you feel like you are straight out of the movie Ferngully and Krista (the fairy) is going to fly into your palm at any moment. At Ferngully we plan to build a shop where my incredibly talented cabinet making partner will be able to work doing what he loves. As for myself, I know I will find some sort of work, whether it is selling eggs, berries, honey, or something else that I can do from the property. And that’s it really. We look forward to drinking tea and coffee on the back porch and watch the birds and spending our days working doing what we want.
We have a couple more years of saving to do, but we plan to be down there before I turn thirty five, and I am thirty one right now.
Yes. Yes. There are way more details and ins-and-outs of this plan, but that is the gist.
*I should mention that my partner wanted to me to explain that he knows exactly what he is doing and also grew up on a farm… so we aren’t going in to this completely blind. And I might be the one buying up the homesteading books at a rapid rate since this is all new to me, but he likes to play that game too;) And he does admit that he does learn new things from time to time.
Here is what we have we have on bookshelf
- Farming the Woods by Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel
- The Hive and the Honey Bee Edited by Roy A. Grout (collection of authors, not listed)
- Natural Timber Frame Homes by Bingham & Pfeffer
- Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway
- Growing Gourmet and Medical Mushrooms by Paul Stamets
- The Resilient Farm and Homestead by Ben Falk
- Keeping the Harvest by Nancy Chioffi and Gretchen Mead (this is ours neighbours and it is THE best)
- Building Green by Clarke Snell & Tim Callahan
- The Essential Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter and Willow Rosenthal
- Country Wisdom & Know-How from the Editors of Storey Books
- Concrete at Home by Fu-Tung Cheng
- Concrete Countertops by Fu-Tung Cheng with Eric Olsen
- Get In The Van by Henry Rollins (not a homesteading book)
- Illustrated Guide to Gardening in Canada by Reader’s Digest
- Natural Healing: Remedies & Therapies by Mark Evans
And this isn’t all of them. I think that I may need to post of my books in order of preference at a later date.
Do you have a favourite homesteading/back-to-the-land book?