"Deborah Niemann has penned the book that will turn homesteading dreamers into doers. From sustainable gardening to animal husbandry, she's got the farm covered. Homegrown & Handmade
explores, illuminates, excites, and inspires. " ---Ashley English, author of the Homemade Living
"Homegrown and Handmade is a wonderful collection of [Deborah's] wisdom, and when it's not propped next to the stove or the milk stand, this approachable reference belongs on the shelf with the homesteading classics." ---Margaret Hathaway, author of The Year of the Goat
and Living with Goats
"There's never been a more practical guide written for making the 'simple' life simple." ---Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, founders of Beekman1802.com
"Homegrown & Handmade
puts you in the control seat of what is considered fresh and healthy food by offering detailed explanations on providing food and fiber in their purest form for yourself." ---Chris McLaughlin, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Heirloom Vegetables
"It covers all the bases - from the soil to the supper table, and from birth (or hatch) to butchering. This is the perfect book for the conscientious omnivore, or for anyone seeking a practical map to a sustainable, delicious future." ---Terra Brockman, author of The Seasons on Henry's Farm
From the Author
One of the first questions anyone asks when they hear about my lifestyle is, "Did you grow up like this?" Whether they are asking about our homesteading lifestyle or my diet, the answer is a resounding, "No!" I grew up in Refugio, Texas, a small town on the Gulf Coast, and I couldn't wait to move to the big city. I spent many weekends in Houston, and after graduating from high school, I attended college at Eastern Connecticut State University. Armani was more familiar to me than arugula. I ate out more than I ate at home, and when I did eat at home, the food often came from a box or can. I was close to my teen years before I ate a raw vegetable, and that was iceberg lettuce drowned in salad dressing.
When I became pregnant with my first child, I honestly believed that a cheeseburger and fries was a good, healthy meal. I had my meat, dairy, bread, and vegetables. Yes, I thought that a piece of lettuce, a couple of pickle slices, and french fries counted as vegetables. I was proud of myself for eliminating caffeine from my two-liter daily soda consumption. After my baby was born, I started reading about nutrition and thought that maybe my poor diet had contributed to my constant illness as a child. Hoping to save my own children from the same sad fate, I started eliminating artificial ingredients from our diet and began baking bread. Over the years, we became more conscientious about our dietary choices, and by 2002, it seemed like moving to the country to grow our own food was the next logical step.
I always say that if we can do this, anyone can, and I'm not joking. Our livestock experience consisted of caring for two cats and a poodle before we moved out here. You don't have to be a master gardener to grow your own food. Our first garden produced only a handful of stringy green beans, but from reading books, finding mentors, trying, and making mistakes, we've learned to do everything we do today.