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Extreme Simplicity: Homesteading in the City Paperback – March 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Christopher and Dolores Lynn Nyerges founded and operate a popular School for Self-Reliance that offers courses in wild food foraging, wild food cookery, self-reliance, and survival. They have been widely published and are affiliated with WTI, Inc., a nonprofit organization that conducts research and educates in all areas of "survival." Their creativity and audacity in going to great lengths to save water and energy make them true inspirational leaders in the environmental cause.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

We were once challenged to devise a miniature "survival kit," the contents of which had to fit into one 35-millemeter film container. After exploring possible contents for such a kit, we finally came up with what seemed to be an ideal combination. We called this tiny kit "El Viajero," Spanish for "traveler," since it could travel anywhere. Here are the provisions we selected for inclusion:
— one bouillon cube (for broth or flavoring wild plants);
— eight small, wooden, waterproof matches, which were wrapped in three yards of 10-pound-test fishing line;
— four paper clips (the wire would have various uses);
— two small safety pins (which have many uses);
— four rubber bands;
— four small fish hooks;
— a small wad of cotton for starting fires (real cotton, not the synthetic "cotton" that doesn’t burn readily);
— a round piece of sandpaper stuck into the inside of the container’s cap (for striking matches);
— an approximately eight-inch square of aluminum foil, folded down and compressed, which could be used as an emergency signal mirror or even a cup;
— and one single-edged razor blade (with the sharp edge taped to prevent injuries).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1890132365
  • ISBN-13: 978-1890132361
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,038,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 65 people found the following review helpful By NancyS on December 29, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but beware; it's not really a how-to manual. It's the personal and very specific homesteading experiences of the authors. There is some good how-to information but it is not covered in any depth; there are whole books dedicated to topics that "Extreme Simplicity" covers in a page or two. This is the book for you if you are looking for an extensive overview, personal anecdotes and ideas to get you started in your homesteading lifestyle.
I only gave it 4 stars because I felt the title was a bit misleading. I purchased the book based on the subtitle "Homesteading in the City". What they really mean is "Homesteading in the Suburbs of a Major City Where You Have a Bit of Land and Own Your Own Home". I was hoping to be able to recommend this book to my apartment bound friends in NYC but if you don't have even a bit of land or you are in a rental, this book won't help much. Still, it's a good read if you are interested in the topic. Kudos to the authors for what they are doing.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 28, 2006
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This is a timeless and well written book for anyone interested in the idea of living as self sufficient as one can within an urban or suburban area, especially in California.

The authors writing style is a combination of journal and how to genre. From fruits, vegetables, flowers, small livestock, water and unexpected issues like how to protect what you have the authors lay out a cornucopia of facts and think ahead ideas that will help anyone interested in urban homesteading.

Loved reading how they started with a fixer upper home and made it into a home to be proud of and how they took a totally neglected yard and made it into an Eden to be proud of as well as an inspiration to the rest of the neighborhood.

Also nice to read how their efforts also saved open space around them that was a dumping ground for junk but became a safe haven for wild birds etc.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mothersong on February 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
Extreme Simplicity is a look inside the life of Christopher and Deolores Nyerges as they practice simple, sustainable living in urban California.

While not a true "How to" manual, this book is thought provoking and encourages the reader to seek out additional information. The real strength of this book is the quiet yet compelling way the authors strive to value their environment, and live within it. They demonstrate a real respect for their surroundings.

This book is also full of a variety of suggestions to maximize ways a city dweller can live sustainably. Without preaching "do this", but rather through the conversation of the book, the authors discuss ways they maximize their food growing and gathering through the use of open spaces, woods, community garden spaces and the like. They present a full picture of how they provide for themselves by growing their own, gathering food stuffs that others overlook, and taking advantage of space outside their own yard to provide for their needs.

If you are looking for a step by step manual for homsteading in he city, this book is not for you. If you enjoy reading about others who live the lifestyle, and are looking to get ideas from people walking the talk, however, then Extreme Simplicity is a rich edition to your home library.
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18 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Peregrin on January 6, 2005
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First of all, it's nice to see a book that deals with urban/suburban (rather than rural) homesteading! Some of what the authors suggest is not terribly practical in my region, such as going without air conditioning in the summer (Michigan's humidity can be pretty unbearable), but there are plenty of good suggestions that can be adapted for any climate.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By HackOfAllTrades on July 20, 2009
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I thought this fairly well written and reasonably detailed. I have read a variety of money saving books - hints, tips, etc. I liked that this was more structured than many. I am working slowly (radically downsizing shelter / stuff) to achieve the lifestyle described in the book. I recently donated most of the books I owned (a few hundred) but this is in my group to keep !
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