Book Review – The Nourishing Homestead

The Nourishing Homestead: One Back-to-the-Land Family's Plan for Cultivating Soil, Skills, and SpiritThe Nourishing Homestead: One Back-to-the-Land Family’s Plan for Cultivating Soil, Skills, and Spirit by Ben Hewitt
My rating: (4 / 5)

As most of ya’ll know by now, it’s one of our dreams, my husband and I, to move onto a little piece of land so I can have a big garden and he can grow grapes and make wine, and I can have a cow and some goats, and he can make cheese, and we can live like Green Acres every day.

Because we are getting closer to realizing that dream – we are hoping to move next summer – I’ve been reading up a bit on homesteading in general, as well as in specific areas we are interested in. This was one of those “general” books that I grabbed from the library on a whim.

It’s very dense and information packed, partially with how-to ideas on living a life off of the land as independently as possible, partially with anecdotes about the last 20 years on their homestead and how things have worked out (and maybe more importantly, how some things have not worked out), and partially with philosophy on modern life versus traditional living, and what we give up for modern conveniences.

This book was well-written and well-structured. I didn’t agree with all of the ideas in the book, and that can be a good thing. It made me think more about what I want to do and what I don’t want to do, what I want to give up and what I’m not comfortable giving up. For example, one of the things the homesteaders in this book do without is health insurance. Now, being Canadian, that’s no longer really a worry for me, but I’m in disagreement of their assessment of things, too. If they’d had an illness along the lines of one I’ve had in the past, they’d have lost their farm to the hospital they owed for months of care and surgeries and the like. So, there’s that. And I’m never going to treat skins and make my own sandals, though I do knit – and crochet, why was crochet left out of the book? But I’m also not going to rely on just wood stove heat. And there’s just no effin’ way I’m butchering my own meat. Seriously. Not. Gonna. Happen.

I did get some good ideas from this book as well, as it reinforced why I want to have my own dairy cows, and what I want to do with my own milk, butter, cream and cheese. I

I felt validated.

Also, goats, yes, ideas about goats. I think I might want Nigerian Dwarves, after reading about them here.

This is a long book with a lot of information. If you aren’t seriously thinking about homesteading, then it probably isn’t for you. It can be very dry. But it has good ideas, especially about energy saving and conservation and the kinds of tools you should invest in for the best results. If you’ve got farming dreams of your own, you may want to take a peek at this one and see if you can’t get some good ideas, too.

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