Series: Process Self-reliance Series
Paperback: 360 pages
Publisher: Process; Revised edition (June 1, 2010)
Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #130,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #124 in Books > Reference > Encyclopedias & Subject Guides > Gardening #138 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Gardening & Landscape Design > Reference #186 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Home Improvement & Design > How-to & Home Improvements > Do-It-Yourself
I've read various books on self-sufficiency in the past ten years, but this one is different. First, it doesn't tell you how to recreate a 19th-century homestead, which is beginning to seem to me like another version of faux chateaux, but which also is not going to work very well if it is not surrounded by other 19th-century homesteads. And it doesn't describe what you can do "some day" when you get your five acres and independence. Instead, it focuses on what you can do right now in your own city to become more self-sufficient and sustainable. That makes it unique.The reviewer who said that this is not a compendium of how-tos is right. It is more of an idea book, although there are many references to sources of detailed info about, for instance, raising ducks. But the problem with other self-sufficiency books I have run across is precisely that they are NOT idea books--that they become absorbed with one particular way of growing food, for instance, or one particular way of heating your (19th-century farm) house. There is nothing about woodstoves or woodlots in here.This is the first book on self-sufficiency I have seen that directly addresses the fear that underlies the desire many people have to become more independent of the economy--the fear of some apocalypse, social collapse, disaster, etc., which they here dub "when the zombies come." I loved that they use humor to address that fear. There is a LOT of humor in this book; it's almost worth reading just for that.Other books on self-sufficiency focus on being isolated and seeing other people as the enemy. I read one that recommended you get a house in a dip that no one can see from the road. They'll tell you how much ammunition to squirrel away with your self-heating lasagne rations.
I was so excited to receive this book-- as someone who has had some experience farming and who hopes to continue in the future BUT who will be living in a city for the foreseeable future, I couldn't wait to get my hands on my guide to sustainable homesteading in the city.While this book is full of great concepts, it fails to deliver on the instruction side of things. This is not a Guide Book as the cover proclaims-- it is an Ideas book. The authors suggest planting fruit trees in your yard, and to save space, prune them into "an espalier". How do you do that? The authors kindly refer you to another book.I understand that covering all the skills involved in Urban Homesteading in-depth would require a tome many times the length of this paperback. But an Urban Wild Edibles section with no pictures? Seriously?This is a great tool for people who haven't gardened before and who have the motivation to seek out the actual technique elsewhere. But this is nowhere close to a guidebook, and most of the sections were wildly uninspiring, under-explained, and uninformative. If you had the foresight to seek out this book, you can probably figure out on your own that you can bake bread even in the city (!), red lettuce and green lettuce look pretty together in your garden, and composting may help reduce some of your soil woes.To be fair, the cooking section and home cleaning supplies section, while not very enlightening in terms of ideas, has a slightly more complete informative style.
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