“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.” – R. Buckminster Fuller

I was discussing a recent purchase of a knife for butchering with one of my friends, who advised me that he thought that I should write some reviews on this and other Prepping purchases.  I thought that this was an excellent idea, so I thought I would start this off with a book I just finished reading.  I will continue to work my way through my library of books to give some of you an insight into my collection, and perhaps provide a little advice on books I found of interest.

 

The Backyard Homestead, Edited by Carleen Madigan

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Front cover of the book.

 

I found this book to be a very interesting read with many excellent diagrams.  It is published by Storys, who have a history of writing great books, and this is a compilation of many different Storys guides.  On the back cover the book proudly claims that,

“from a quarter of an acre, you can Harvest:

1400 eggs;

50 pounds of wheat;

60 pounds of fruit;

2000 pounds of vegitables;

280 pounds of pork; and,

75 pounds of nuts.”

 

Certainly an ambitious claim, yet on examination of the book, especially the plot blueprint on page 14, it does appear to be an achievable goal.  Following this book should enable someone to produce this amount of food (in the right region), yet I would be doubtful that this intensive production could be maintained for long as the land would be under a significant amount of pressure.  I am satisfied that much of their planting distances are accurate, as I have used similar ones myself over the years. 

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Diagram from the book showing planting distances. I found this to be fairly accurate.

 

 

The book has sections on growing grains, fruit and vegetables, meat, preserving your produce, and around 14 pages on gathering food from the wild.  At around 350 pages the book seems to provide an excellent foundation of knowledge for the beginner.  Yet it is only an introduction to the topic.  This book could be a very valuable first purchase for a beginning Prepper.  It contains sufficient information to get become motivated and to get started.  If this was the only book you bought on the subject of self sufficiency, you could definitely do worse.  It provides enough information and diagrams to complete the majority it’s recommendations, and you could do a passable job with only this book.  I would recommend that this book be treated as a reference guide… that once read you would be able to focus on the aspects of self sufficiency that you felt were applicable to you, then buy a more detailed book on the subject.  For example, there are 18 pages on keeping chickens.  The information provided in those 18 pages would be enough to get started with chickens, yet a more comprehensive guide would provide a more in depth understanding of the subject.

 

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An inspiring diagram from the book. This shows what may be accomplished.

I found nothing within the book to be ground breaking or innovative, which is not surprising as it is a compendium of other Storys guides which I have already read.  Due to this lack of detailed information on the subjects this would be an excellent purchase for someone new to Prepping.

 

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