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The Owner-built Homestead Pamphlet – 1972


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Pamphlet, 1972
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Product Details

  • Pamphlet
  • Publisher: Ken Kern Drafting (1972)
  • ASIN: B002UJNO3O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ben Hurt on July 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
My review is biased. So there. You see, back in the late 1970's, a flat bed truck rolled down the dirt road right up to my log cabin in eastern Ky. Who dat, I ask? Well, it was the Kerns, along with a bus following them that included their draftsman, so I remember. They were traveling the country looking for idiots who had abandoned a good part of the grid. I say idiots because today I live in a five bedroom house on a lake with ten dogs, a decent garden, and a pension. That life in the log cabin was HARD. Hard, I say. But I wouldn't take anything for it, nor would I ever lose my undying love and affection for the memories of the Kerns. My construction skills at that time were piss-poor (I later became a building instructor and contractor), but they overlooked that and just enjoyed our time together and tolerated my ass-kissing. I had read most everything they had written and would frequently quote their own writings to them, sometimes forgetting that what I was saying came from one of their books. And to this day, I still find myself thinking about what I learned from them. Even though I will soon be seventy, I hope to buy one more piece of land and build one more homestead (log cabins burn all too easily, I found out the hard way, so it won't be quite that primitive), and that is what brought me here, remembering how much I profited from the Kern's philosophy. The details may not be as valuable as might be found in other books...we have incredible choices today when building...but when someone says that when you buy a piece of land that you should own it and walk on it for a year until you know it like the back of your hand before you build anything, and that still influences you 35 years later, you got to pay your regards.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sonja Henderson on September 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I want to homestead, become as self-sustaining as possible, get off the grid. Of the many books I've read on these subjects, The Owner-Built Homestead is by far the best. It is written by people who have done it themselves. They explain everything you need to know and gives you examples of how to do things as efficiently as possible to save you time, energy, and money. They tell it like it is so that you are prepared for the reality of being self-sufficient. They cover everything - from finding land and the different things to you can do with it, to building a workshop, a home, a barn, to how to locate different sources of water and how to make use of them - and much much more. They cover the whys of doing things, and both the right AND the wrong way of how to go about doing things. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about becoming a homesteader.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By the horse with no name on November 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
I like this book because it is very much based in the practicalities of the farm/homesteading life. It seems the author really knows his stuff. He makes use of some fairly anitquarian ideas and obscure sources that provide interesting relevant information. This book cover a great deal for its' some 250 pages. It covers everything from fish farming, to well drilling, the hydrologic cycle, planting schedules, fence building, stump removal, soil science and a lot more. Though some is a bit dated this is a good reference with lots of useful information.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. St Pierre on July 29, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I hoped it would be as good as Ken Kern's better known "The Owner-Built Home" (which is fantastic). It's not. Throughout most of this book, it seems like the Kerns challenge conventional wisdom just because it's conventional, not because they have any reason to do so. This is, of course, the total opposite of most farming/homesteading books, which recommend going back to the conventional wisdom that brought our ancestors through 8,000 years of agriculture, and continued to work until 100 years ago (and continues to work today in Amish communities and amongst successful homesteaders).

That said, this book does contain some useful information; I found the chapter on aquaculture to be particularly informative. There's also a lot of good material on planning. Certainly, there's nothing in here that can be called exhaustive or complete, but that's not be expected from a book like this; it's an introduction, a jumping-off point. I just wish the Kerns had spent less time trying to make themselves out to be great agricultural revolutionaries, had cut the psycho-babble about "ecto-space," and had kept to serious, concrete plans and ideas that could be demonstrated to have some merit other than their mere difference from the accepted norm.
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