“Homesteading is about creating a life that is first of all genuine”, is how Abigail R. Gehring began the introduction to the book, Homesteading. I think it is a great sentiment, that you can seek genuine sensations and experiences through homesteading. Homesteading is the creation of a self-sufficient lifestyle through the growing and preservation of food, as well as the production of home goods and structures to make life easier. It isn’t something distinguished by where you live… it is a decision to get back to the basics.
Homesteading was a book I bought on a whim. I was very Impressed with the other books from Abigail R. Gehring… specifically Back to Basics and Self-Sufficiency (which I will review at a later date). I had a quick browse when I picked up the book and it seemed to contain a great deal of information, it even covered building farm structures and setting up your own renewable energy system… who wouldn’t want to learn that? When I finally sat down to read the book I was far from impressed with the contents.
As most books on self-sufficiency start, this one followed the same path… beginning with a large section on growing your own food. Where most books would go into great detail on plants, this book didn’t linger too long on recommended vegetables… it mostly covered the topic of how to grow. It was a nice coverage of different styles, such as aquaponics, backyard raised beds, and how to create a community garden. These 80 pages could be very useful to someone learning the topic of gardening with no foundation on which to base.
Following the section on gardens, the next 60 odd pages concern the topic of preserving your harvest… undoubtedly a very important aspect of homesteading. While some of this chapter is well presented (covering the dangers of improper canning) the majority of it is directly related to someone using a pressure canner or special canning device. This, in my opinion, is not a great use of space. Many people don’t own those two items, so it is very limiting in its usefulness.
The middle sections of the book is full of instructions for building structures on your homestead, yet instead of explaining various ideas and considerations, it shows you very basic plans (that would be difficult to follow). It wastes four pages on weathervanes, showing multiple styles and going into length about them. Now, I am sure a weathervane could be useful… yet not at the expense of more important information. It also explains how to build a birdhouse for five pages, with different plans and styles.
In the later sections the topic of Energy is covered… something which really made me buy this book. It describes various means for making your own energy as well as providing instructions for setting them up… yet, there is nothing here that you can actually use! The solar panel instructions consist of less than a page and it is:
- Place solar cells onto a pegboard.
- Solder together the wires.
- Attach positive and negative wires
- Build a watertight frame to house it.
If you are unfamiliar with solar systems, these instructions are far from correct or complete. I actually worry that someone may follow them and cause harm to themselves.
Finally, the last section of the book covers “Wellbeing”… a very important topic, yet not one I would recommend included in a book on Homesteading. In the wellbeing section you will learn about Massage, Feng Shui, and other alternative topics.
This is a book that, while it states is on the subject of Homesteading, doesn’t seem to know what the topic means. The contents are, on whole, sparse on actual instructions. It only briefly mentions important topics and then delves deeply into less valuable information. I suspect this book was created from the dregs of the first two books I bought… perhaps hurriedly mashed together to take advantage of the recent upsurge in the topic’s popularity.
I would not recommend this book… I regret buying it and I wish I spent the money on other, more useful, matters. Don’t buy this book!