10 Non-fiction Books for Homesteaders: Winter Reading (Amazon Version)

Hey Everyone,

Well, I’m introducing some new things to my blog, one of those things is working with Amazon’s Affiliate Program to help monetize my blog. Now, before you worry, this doesn’t mean I will be sending you products constantly or anything like that, especially not products I dislike. Basically this program is me getting paid for the linking I already do to books and products that I share with you. Basically you click on the link and I make money, it’s that simple. No changes in what I post whatsoever.

This and a couple other things will be happening soon to help monetize the blog so we can help support the Quails and the homestead. I’ll write more about it soon!

So here is the Amazon Version of the 10-book list. All links are to amazon.

The Non-Fiction, Homesteading Books (for people who read good and want to learn to do other good things too (10 points if you can name that movie I just quoted))

  1. Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture by Shannon Hayes—This book by Shannon Hayes is a must read for anyone trying to build a home around food, farming and family. Written from a true feminist standpoint, Shannon discusses the issues and obstacles facing both men and women as they attempt to transition back to a family and farm based life. She speaks frankly about real concerns facing modern homemakers and concerns facing the USA as we live through peak oil and the destruction of the food system. The first section of the book is about issues, the second section is about concerns homemakers had and how they fixed or addressed them.  5 out of 5, one of the best, most life-changing books I’ve ever read.
  2. The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball—This book is about the life of Kristin Kimball, a New York City journalist gone farmer. This book chronicles her life starting with a life-changing interview she did with a crazy farmer who eventually became her husband. This was the first homesteader/farmer book I ever read and it’s one of my favorites, I’ve read it a few times now. Kristin elaborates on the challenges she faced with herself, her family and her husband as she dropped her entire life in New York and moved to the boonies to start a farm. Really, this is a giant book of seemingly rash decisions that turn out to be the right ones. Again, 5 out of 5.
  3. Chickens in the Road: An Adventure in Ordinary Splendor by Suzanne McMinn—This book is another life chronicle, but about Suzanne McMinn. This is definitely a more emotional book that speaks about Sue’s personal life and the abuse of her partner, but it’s also about her starting a farm in the lonely hills of West Virginia. It’s quite a roller coaster, but it’s a great book. 4.5 out of 5.
  4.  Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World by Joel Salatin—I’m currently reading this one. This book is completely about pointing out the idiocy in America’s current way of life. From shrink wrapped crackers to people not knowing that chickens come with bones, Joel points out the problems that need to be addressed in our culture. Be warned, if you like video games this book will seem like an attack on your soul, I know it did to me. I haven’t finished reading this yet, but so far 5 out of 5.
  5. Edible Forest Gardens (2 volume set) by Eric Toensmeier and Dave Jacke—Chances are these books will never be available used, they are too awesome and they are college textbooks, BUT I have read most of them. These books are an in depth look at Edible Forest Gardening. Not only do they explain everything on a micro-organism, ecological and biological level, but they have case studies and real advice for building your own forest garden. The first volume is mostly scientific stuff (which I found fascinating) and the second volume is mostly practical, get-to-it stuff. Fantastic books, well worth the $87 for a brand new set. 5 out of 5
  6.  Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, 2nd Edition by Toby Hemenway—It took me a long time to actually check this book out. I had to find it by accident one day when I was desperate for a new book to check it out from the library. I’m very glad I did. The title pretty much explains it all, but this is by far one of the best books I’ve found on home permaculture that explains things in a reasonable and understandable way. Many permaculturists who follow the original teachings get too caught up in the science of the matter, this book is more practical and doesn’t overwhelm you with scientific nonsense. 5 out of 5.
  7. The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre! by Carleen Madigan—Probably one of the most practical and useful books I’ve come across. This is a for-sure book to purchase. The book is split into easy sections on different aspects of homesteading such as food preservation, animal care, bees and gardening. I find it to be an essential resource when I’m planning or making changes on the homestead. Lots of amazing information, but extremely concise. 5 out of 5
  8. The New American Homestead: Sustainable, Self-Sufficient Living in the Country or in the City  by John Tullock— This book is just like The Backyard Homestead and has similar information, but expands on things that the other does not. I personally prefer the backyard homestead, but this is a great book as well and I’m glad I have it! the only thing I don’t really care for is that the author is an expert on marine aquariums and fish, this is the only homestead book he’s written and I have the feeling he doesn’t practice any of it, so it’s information without experience, but still good info. 4 out of 5.
  9.  Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre by Brett Markham—Now I did not read this book from cover to cover, but the information inside the book is fantastic! Especially if you are working towards a high-production, low land homestead. We are only on 3 acres and I can’t wait to get a hold of this book again to start making our land more productive. This takes gardening and homesteading (animals and orchard included) to a whole new, extremely efficient level. 5 out of 5.
  10. Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long, 2nd Edition by Eliot Coleman—This is another book I haven’t read from cover to cover. Sometimes I check out 10 books at a time and never read any of them for some reason, I’m a serial checker-outer. Anyway, this book is all organic gardening, all year around gardening for northern and eastern gardeners. Eliot teaches you how to extend your growing season indefinitely. I will warn you though, you can’t grow veggies year around cheaply. Cold frames are one thing, but a greenhouse is a whole different animal. No stars on this one since I haven’t read much of it, but I plan to.
  11. BONUS!! The Foxfire Book: Hog Dressing, Log Cabin Building, Mountain Crafts and Foods, Planting by the Signs, Snake Lore, Hunting Tales, Faith Healing, Moonshining, and Other Affairs of Plain Living by Anchor Publishing—I have NOT read these, but they come highly praised by everyone I have ever read or heard from. I just ordered the first 3 books today actually. The Foxfire Series is a set of 12 books (possibly growing) that chronicle old-fashioned skills and stories from Appalachia. Now some people think mountain people are dumb, but they are more skilled and useful than anyone you will ever meet at a college. These books contain real information and generations of experience for the self-sufficient lifestyle. I can’t wait for them to arrive.

Well, there you are. A whole freaking pile of books to read this winter!

Thanks again for the support and continued reading!

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