Sunday, April 27, 2014

My Top 10 Book List on Self Sufficiency

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and assume that the majority of those in the sustainability community that might have a thing for books. I'm not sure why but it just seems they go hand in hand. So as a fellow bibliophile I want to share with you my favorite reading list on the subject of self-reliant homesteading. This certainly isn't a complete list, I'm sure many of you would have several to add to this list but I wanted to make a sort of top 10 books that I have felt gave me a better insight or maybe inspired me in the subject of permaculture. 

These are listed in no particular order. I have provided links to Amazon for each of these but I am making no money if you choose to buy from them thanks to a recent law passed in my state. Hope you enjoy. 

1. Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills, Third Edition. This is a widely well known book and was originally published as a Readers Digest book. This covers a wide variety of subjects regarding family homestead life and even though it doesn't delve deep into each I highly recommend this one. I'm pretty sure this is the book that sparked the self-sufficient fire in me. This one is also recommended by several of my friends. 

2. Country Wisdom & Know How. This book has been around about a decade but is already a classic. It's actually part of a series of books on the subject and covers over 200 topics. This is a great book and series for your library. 

3. One Acre & Security: How to Live Off the Earth Without Ruining It. This book was originally printed about 40 years ago by a then well know survivalist and back to earth proponent. This is really a great book for those looking for ideas on living self-sufficiently but yet not primitive survival. The author covers a lot including what to look for in that secluded property that's still not too far from the city. 

4. The Self-Reliant Homestead: A Book of Country Skills. This is one I wouldn't want to be without. It's detailed and yet easy to read much like a text book. This book really covers a lot of info and I highly recommend this one. 

5. The Encyclopedia of Country Living: An Old Fashioned Recipe Book. Many consider this the homesteaders bible. This is one of the first books I purchased on the subject. The author updates and comes out with news editions ever few years. There is so much information in this book, I learn something new every time I pick it up. This is a great reference book to have around the house to quickly look up the answer to that homesteading question. 

6. Five Acres and Independence: A Handbook for Small Farm Management. This book was originally published in 1935 and has been revised several times but don't be dismayed on the age, there is a reason it is still being published. This book is a pretty low cost but important addition to your library. It's interesting because of the age it does give some insight into the old ways of doing things. 

7. Self Sufficiency for the 21st Century. Another great book and with some modern insight. There is a lot of information here and it is good whether you are living in the country of finding your self sufficiency in the city. A great addition to your library. 

8. Homesteading: A Backyard Guide to Growing Your Own Food, Canning, Keeping Chickens, Generating Your Own Energy, Crafting, Herbal Medicine, and More. From the author of Back to Basics this is a more in depth guide in the same series. Great full color illustrations and very practical information. Great for beginners or the experienced. 

9. The Modern Homestead Manual. This was written by a husband and wife team that has many years of experience in building a homestead from scratch. There is a lot of good advice here even how to build relationships with neighbors. A very easy to read writing style. I believe it was published in small numbers so it may be difficult to come by a copy but it's worth it. 

10. Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why. This one comes recommended by my friend Jessie. It talks more about the mentality of survival and sustainability and comes highly recommended by her. 

Well that's my top ten book list. I also want to list some magazines I would recommend if you are into subscriptions. There are a growing number out there and many are good but I want to highlight three that I feel are the best. 

1. Countryside & Small Stock Journal. This magazine has been around almost a century and before the advent of the internet it was the best way to communicate and network with others living the country life. This still is probably my favorite. All of the articles are from the readers and unlike a lot of magazines it's mostly articles and not a lot of advertising. I love reading these over and over again. 

2. Mother Earth News. By far the most popular magazine on this subject but still it is one of the best. Lots of beautiful pictures and great, helpful articles. They also put out several special editions every year with tons of great information. 

3. Back Woods Home Magazine. A lesser know publication but a very good one. This is for the serious homesteader. A lot of great information on just about every aspect of living off the land. I love every issue. 

Well that wraps up my lists. I hope they were helpful and maybe a good starting place for you to begin filling up your self-sufficient living library. Let me know what your favorites are. 


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