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Modern Homestead: Grow, Raise, Create

Sixth-generation gardener Renee Wilkinson embraces the old school while adding a bit of funk in this saavy-smart guide to homesteading. From a windowsill to a sprawling backyard, these are all places we can grow vegetables, make homes for animals, and fill our cupboards with canned decadence, all the while flashing our personal style and taste.

Paperback: 256 pages

Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing; 1st edition (May 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1555917488

ISBN-13: 978-1555917487

Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)

Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

Best Sellers Rank: #492,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #100 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Gardening & Landscape Design > By Technique > Urban #1143 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Sustainable Living #7784 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Home Improvement & Design

There are a lot of books out there about getting started in homesteading in urban environments now, and the truth is, I don't think you can have too many because a lot of them offer different approaches and information.This book is great for beginners. It's easy to get overwhelmed when you're first getting interested in trying to grow more produce for your dinner table or when you're considering taking the next step in homesteading.Renee writes in an easy and clear way. It's so easy to read that I spent a day in the sun with a choice between this book and a trashy novel I was reading and wound up happily reading this.Grow:It's in bits and bites, and she recommends that you start with what you think you can realistically handle, then lays out methods to handle it. Where to go to get information, how to set up a garden club to exchange ideas and seeds, and how to start planning and planting. She offers practical suggestions for planting in very limited spaces and how to find the best areas for sunny plants in those spaces.Raise:Then she gets into livestock. Are you able to have chickens? She gives plans for a minicoop that will fit on some balconies. It's sized for bantam sized chickens and includes a worm bin for compost. She gives lots of practical advice about how to raise chickens and care for them. Then gets into other things like ducks, goats and beekeeping,what kind of space, time and supplies you'll need to raise those.Create:The final section of the book is recipes, for cooking seasonally out of your garden or farmer's markets, jams and other food preservation methods, non-toxic cleaning supplies and beauty items.One of the things I love about this book is how down to earth it is.

This reviewer can readily be classified as an "old hippie" so that much of the homesteading advice out there today is stuff I practiced in the 1970s. But Renee Wilkinson is one of the new lights in town; focusing on modern (aka "urban") homesteading, she brings the ideas of homesteading, do-it-yourself, and creating a life you will love to people who never thought of raising a chicken or of the fascination of bees. Whether you are in an apartment or a suburban tract home, whether you are a novice or a seasoned gardener, you will find enrichment and encouragement in Modern Homestead.Wilkinson warns you to check your local laws and befriend your neighbors; it is essential to make modern, urban homesteading viable and happy. There are only four chapters to this book, each embracing a homesteading concept and breaking it down into bite-sized chunks for your consumption. She discusses rented homesteads, small spaces (patios? balconies?) and sprawling spreads. She encourages her readers to cultivate community, to create a group of neighbors and friends who share and appreciate the "hip homesteader" idea.I very much enjoyed her page in Chapter One that is basically just a collection of ideas on sustainable living practices. We know them, in our hearts, but having them on one page rattles our cages and helps us embrace what we know is the right thing to do for the planet. The mantras Eat Local, BYOB (bag,) Alternative transportation and the classic Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are solid reinforcement for all of us.Wilkinson avoids giving advice without backing it up with ideas and plans. Her duck coop is on my list of things to build this Spring.

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