The Homestead Library
The Homestead Library is a short list of books that have helped us on our homesteading adventure. This is far from all the books you will find throughout your homesteading journey but hopefully they will help you get started too!
- The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre! by Carleen Madigan Put your backyard to work! Enjoy fresher, organic, better-tasting food all the time. The solution is as close as your own backyard. Grow the vegetables and fruits your family loves; keep bees; raise chickens, goats, or even a cow. The Backyard Homestead shows you how it’s done. And when the harvest is in, you’ll learn how to cook, preserve, cure, brew, or pickle the fruits of your labor.From a quarter of an acre, you can harvest 1,400 eggs, 50 pounds of wheat, 60 pounds of fruit, 2,000 pounds of vegetables, 280 pounds of pork, 75 pounds of nuts.
- The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It by John Seymour – The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live It is the only book that teaches all the skills needed to live independently in harmony with the land harnessing natural forms of energy, raising crops and keeping livestock, preserving foodstuffs, making beer and wine, basketry, carpentry, weaving, and much more. Our 2003 edition included 150 new full-color illustrations and a special section in which John Seymour, the father of the back to basics movement, explains the philosophy of self-sufficiency and its power to transform lives and create communities. More relevant than ever in our high-tech world, The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live It is the ultimate practical guide for realists and dreamers alike.
- Storey’s Basic Country Skills: A Practical Guide to Self-Reliance by John Storey – This is the book for anyone who wants to become more self-reliant, from suburbanites with 1/4 of an acre to country homesteaders with several. The information is easily understood and readily applicable.More than 150 of Storey’s expert authors in gardening, building, animal raising, and homesteading share their specialized knowledge and experience in this ultimate guide to living a more independent, satisfying life.Readers will find step-by-step, illustrated instructions for every aspect of country living including:
- Finding country land
- Buying, building, and renovating a home
- Developing water sources and systems
- Understanding wiring, plumbing, and heating
- Using alternative heating and energy sources
- Vegetable, flower, and herb gardening
- Traditional cooking skills such as baking bread and making maple syrup
- Preparing and preserving meat, fruits, and vegetables
- Building and maintaining barns, sheds, and outbuildings
- Caring for common farm and ranch animals, and pets
- Backyard Homesteading: A Back-to-Basics Guide to Self-Sufficiency by David Toht – Backyard Homesteading addresses the needs of many people who want to take control of the food they eat and the products they use–even if they live in a urban or suburban house on a typical-size lot. It shows homeowners how to turn their yard into a productive and wholesome “homestead” that allows them to grow their own fruits and vegetables, and raise farm animals, including chickens and goats. Backyard Homesteading covers the laws and regulations of raising livestock in populated areas and demonstrates to readers how to use and preserve the bounty they produce.
- The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 40th Anniversary Edition: The Original Manual of Living Off the Land & Doing It Yourself by Carla Emery – The bestselling resource for modern homesteading, growing and preserving foods, and raising chickens, The Encyclopedia of Country Living includes how to cultivate a garden, buy land, bake bread, raise farm animals, make sausage, can peaches, milk a goat, grow herbs, churn butter, build a chicken coop, catch a pig, cook on a wood stove, and much, much more. This comprehensive resource is the most authoritative guide available to a sustainable lifestyle and living off of the land.
- Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, 3rd Edition by Gail Damerow – Here is all the information you need to successfully raise chickens — from choosing breeds and hatching chicks to building coops, keeping the birds healthy, and protecting them from predators. This revised third edition contains a new chapter on training chickens and understanding their intelligence, expanded coverage of hobby farming, and up-to-date information on chicken health issues, including avian influenza and fowl first aid.
- Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats, 4th Edition: Breeds, Care, Dairying, Marketing by Jerry Belanger – With minimal space and housing needs, dairy goats are a practical choice for the small or backyard dairy farmer. Dairy goats require a smaller investment than Cows and produce easily digested milk that is much in demand for making yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products.The revised and updated fourth edition includes:
- Updated information on disease diagnosis and treatment
- Tips on choosing pygmy breeds
- Expanded coverage of breeding, kidding, and raising kids
- More information on milking, dairying, and cheesemaking
- Expanded resource section
- Barnyard in Your Backyard: A Beginner’s Guide to Raising Chickens, Ducks, Geese, Rabbits, Goats, Sheep, and Cattle by Gail Damerow – When is the right time to shear a sheep? Is there a market for manure? What time of day is best to collect eggs? What is the correct way to milk a goat? What does a duck eat? Can a cow and a sheep share the same pasture? Which types of rabbits are easiest to raise?The perfect book for anyone who has ever dreamed of having that little place in the country,Barnyard in Your Backyard offers tried-and-true, expert advice on raising healthy, happy, productive farm animals: chickens, geese, ducks, rabbits, goats, sheep, and dairy cows.Each chapter focuses on a different animal, discussing the pros and cons of raising the animal, housing and land requirements, feeding guidelines, health concerns, and a schedule for routine care. Species that are easy to raise, hardy, and companionable are profiled. First-time farmers will discover simple, clear instructions for caring for animals throughout the year, as well as guidelines for processing barnyard products such as milk, wool, and eggs. Combining practical advice from real experts, easy-to-use checklists and charts, a seasonal care calendar, and detailed black-and-white illustrations, Barnyard in Your Backyard offers a comprehensive review of the ins and outs – the tribulations and triumphs – of living with and caring for a small barnyard.
- The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals: Choose the Best Breeds for Small-Space Farming, Produce Your Own Grass-Fed Meat, Gather Fresh … Rabbits, Goats, Sheep, Pigs, Cattle, & Bees by Gail Damerow – Imagine a weekend breakfast featuring eggs, bacon, and honey from your own chickens, pigs, and bees. Or a holiday meal with your own heritage-breed turkey as the main attraction. WithThe Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals, even urban and suburban residents can successfully raise chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, rabbits, goats, sheep, cows, pigs, and honey bees. It’s easier than you think, and it can be done on small plots of land. This essential guide covers everything from selecting the right breeds to producing delicious fresh milk, cheese, honey, eggs, and meat. Whether you want to be more self-sufficient, save money, or just enjoy safer, healthier, more delicious animal products, you’ll find all the information you need in The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals.
- Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre by Brett L. Markham – Start a mini farm on a quarter acre or less, provide 85 percent of the food for a family of four and earn an income.
Mini Farming describes a holistic approach to small-area farming that will show you how to produce 85 percent of an average family’s food on just a quarter acre—and earn $10,000 in cash annually while spending less than half the time that an ordinary job would require. Even if you have never been a farmer or a gardener, this book covers everything you need to know to get started: buying and saving seeds, starting seedlings, establishing raised beds, soil fertility practices, composting, dealing with pest and disease problems, crop rotation, farm planning, and much more. Because self-sufﬁciency is the objective, subjects such as raising backyard chickens and home canning are also covered along with numerous methods for keeping costs down and production high. Materials, tools, and techniques are detailed with photographs, tables, diagrams, and illustrations.
- The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year, No Matter Where You Live by Niki Jabbour – The first frost used to be the end of the vegetable gardening season — but not anymore! InThe Year-Round Vegetable Gardener, Nova Scotia–based gardener and writer Niki Jabbour shares her secrets for growing food during every month of the year. Her season-defying techniques, developed in her own home garden where short summers and low levels of winter sunlight create the ultimate challenge, are doable, affordable, and rewarding for gardeners in any location where frost has traditionally ended the growing season.Jabbour explains how to make every month a vegetable-gardening month. She provides in-depth instruction for all of her time-tested techniques, including selecting the best varieties for each season, mastering the art of succession planting, and maximizing the use of space throughout the year to increase production. She also offers complete instructions for making affordable protective structures that keep vegetables viable and delicious throughout the colder months.What could be more amazing than harvesting fresh greens in February? Jabbour’s proven, accessible methods make this dream possible for food gardeners everywhere.