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Self Sufficiency for the 21st Century Hardcover – August 2, 2010
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Self Sufficiency for the 21st Century will teach how to make biodiesel for cars generate solar power for homes even build a water wheel or wind vane. Not enough for you? It also teaches how to brew beer make cheese and the basics of animal husbandry. -Susan Love --Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 23, 2010
This book has it all for the man or woman who might be considering starting his or her own country. --Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 26, 2010
Gorgeous photos, handy charts and attractive and detailed diagrams (signatures of DK books) make this an inviting read. -Catherine Mallette --Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August 27, 2010
Photos and annotated illustrations on every page make the information clear, accessible, inviting, and even irresistible [such as the photos of DIY elderflower champagne which the Strawbridges consider definitely at the glamorous end of self sufficiency]. You don't need a farm to benefit from this book. It's aimed at all levels and the labeled drawings and plans of the urban yard, the suburban yard and the small farm are both useful and inspiring...In essence, the book is like a cross between a how-to text and a book to dream over. -Pat Jeffries --The Oregonian, September 16, 2010
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The book is divided up into sections: an introduction into a "new way to self-sufficiency", "The Home" "The Yard" and "Traditional Knowledge" with subchapters on building with straw bales, alternative energy, hydroponics, growing, foraging, keeping specific livestock, preserving food, working with wood, and others--
I was disappointed with this book for two reasons. First, it is geared primarily toward readers in the U.K. On page 153..."Here are a couple of unusual trees we plan to try"--namely, Pecans and Honey Locust! And in the section on food preservation, I was astonished to read, "Preserving vegetables at home by canning is not advisable since they have to be heated to a very high temperature to make them safe"... "Our advice is to only can fruit, and preserve your vegetables by freezing them". The other criticism is that while the authors touch upon many topics, none go in depth to the extent that you could master the skill--for example there are two pages on bee keeping from establishing a colony to gathering honey. In less than one page we are instructed how to slaughter and butcher beef, with most of that showing a large beef carcass with cuts drawn on it.
The book is useful for getting an overview of farm life and getting ideas for further study--but you certainly won't become self sufficient by reading this book. More helpful resources I would recommend include archives of The Mother Earth News, available on CD, and Carla Emery's The Encyclopedia of Country Living.
Admittedly, I view this book with an eye towards urban planning/living. I don't have acres on which to raise livestock. My closest source of raw milk is 2 hours away. I don't think the city will let me build a compostable toilet - nor would my acreage support one. The authors do offer some comments on urban living but the information is light and assumes at least some available acreage with good light - a rare commodity in urban living. While it might seem crazy to consider self sufficiency in an urban environment, it's not competely unmanageable. This book just doesn't offer the kind of information necessary.
If you're living in a suburban area with some free land, or living in a rural area with cleared land, this is a great starting point to becoming self-sufficient. You will learn enough to figure out where to turn next, what projects might work for your resources and needs. But if you're working within the urban environment, you'd be better off 'The Backyard Homesteader.'
The canning and food storage sections are good for a laugh if you know anything about canning or preserving food. But for someone trying to learn from scratch how to can or preserve - this book could well be a death sentence.
The book says things like; "Canning is a good way to preserve fruits, but it is not suitable for vegetables." "because canning is only appropriate for foods with a high acid content." They advise that to can anything other than high acid foods that you would need "a specialty pressure canner,..." While only pages earlier they sing the praises of the "modern easy to use pressure cookers" Calling them a "must-have eco-gadget for the kitchen"
The two very limited canning methods they do provide are very likely to lead to botulinum poisoning. They advocate only the Pan method and the Oven method. Both methods are very, very unsafe to use. Have they never heard of the Ball blue book over there?
It's full of lots of neat ideas(some more fully baked than others), many recipes that I won't hesitate to try, and many, many pretty pictures.
Buy this book to get some neat ideas, and then read more in-depth on them from other sources before implementing them. Check out the pretty pictures and try the yummy recipes.
Just don't trust the preserving section.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I use this book for a reference guide all the time its great very informativePublished 2 months ago by sean boisclair
This is food for a good decade of sustainability projects around the home. Very good book.Published 6 months ago by Warren
Great book with great ideas. Most of the projects/ideas presented are worthwhile for the average suburban or rural homesteader. These are not projects that are 'in theory only'. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Jim H