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The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading: An Encyclopedia of Independent Living (The Ultimate Guides) Paperback – March 10, 2011


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The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading: An Encyclopedia of Independent Living (The Ultimate Guides) + The Homesteading Handbook: A Back to Basics Guide to Growing Your Own Food, Canning, Keeping Chickens, Generating Your Own Energy, Crafting, Herbal Medicine, and More (The Handbook Series) + The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 40th Anniversary Edition: The Original Manual of Living Off the Land & Doing It Yourself
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...the kind of book any homesteader or wannabe homesteader should have on their shelf." - Progressive Pioneer


"In a word..."Wow!" - Small Town Living

"A compendium of skills for self-sufficiency and survival, this book contains answers to just about every practical question you might have about homesteading." - Sierra Club's The Green Life

"...it REALLY is the ULTIMATE guide." - The Renegade Farmer

About the Author

Nicole Faires is an adventurer, self-proclaimed eccentric, wife, and mother of three girls. She grew up in a semi-nomadic homeschooling family and spent her early years in rural Montana on a hobby farm where she raised chickens, grew her own food, learned to crochet, read out-of-print books by Masanobu Fukuoka, and dreamed of the Amish. She now lives in beautiful British Columbia as a champion of renaissance sustainable lifestyles in a bus that is in constant transformation. She continues to seek new adventures and local food with her family.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Ultimate Guides
  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing (March 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161608135X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616081355
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 7.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nicole Faires was born in Tucson, Arizona, to a semi-nomadic homeschooling family. After traveling over most of the western U.S., they finally settled in Montana where she grew her own food, made her own clothes and ruined her teenage social life. Nicole later moved to Canada and had three precocious girls who, like their mom, are ready for a zombie apocalypse. She now lives on Vancouver Island with her family, and spends her spare time writing and experimenting with sustainable lifestyles.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 120 people found the following review helpful By J. Sawyer on April 16, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First of all, this book is not what I consider an encyclopedia. It does contain an index and brief glossary, but it is organized into chapters, individual sections, categories, and subcategories, rather than an alphabetical series of topics. Considering the wealth of information the author tried to cover, I understand why it was organized in this manner, but it does not necessarily make the book more convenient. A very well-designed and inclusive index would have nullified this problem, but the index is not quite adequate.

Each chapter is denoted with a broad header (i.e., "The Basics") and then broken down into broad topics, each given an individual title (i.e., "Modern Convenience and Electricity"), but at that point the topics are further broken down into categories and subcategories using a question and answer format. I would much have preferred simple titles for each topic and subtopic, which would have made skimming a section much easier. Use of the index could nullify that problem, but I found the question and answer format irritating to read and somewhat inconvenient.

As other reviewers have said, there is no fluff in this text. It contains only the most essential information on each topic and each subtopic has been paired down to the most simplistic information possible, making much of the information useless as a reference guide. I appreciate the sheer amount of research that must have gone into preparing a text that attempts to cover hundreds of topics and present readers with the most important information for each one, but there are simply too many broad categories and not enough real information.
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52 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Artistic_Lady on March 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just received this book yesterday aftering waiting for a couple of months for it to come from the publishers. Worth the wait! At first glance what you will notice is how beautiful it is, with hundreds of full color photos throughout, and wonderdul hand drawn illustrations. When you turn to the table of contents you will find seven chapters:

1. What is Homesteading? (history, intentional community, equipment needed, food storage, evaluating and buying your land, designing your homestead, cycles of work, and chemicals & toxins)

2. The Basics (math & money, tractors & trucks, auto maintenance, water, waste, primitive heat & light, modern convenience & electricity)

3. Building Shelter for Man & Animal (temporary & nomadic shelter, construction skills & making lumber, builing a house from available materials, building a safe barn & fence)

4. Horses and Other Animals (animal basics & health, buthering & animal burial, draft horse care, horse training & handling, oxen, cattle, & water buffalo, bees, chickens, ducks, & geese, dogs, goats, sheep, rabbits, raising worms)

5. The Comforts of Home (making tools & farm equipment, simple home foraging, making things from wood, making home necessities, fiber arts & clothing, doing odd jobs at home)

6. Health and Family (beauty & health, herbal remedies, illness & 3rd world diseases, first aid, babies & children on the homestead, home education)

7. Food, Field, and Garden (garden planning, cultivation, soil care, growing environments, basic plant care, cultivating wild edible foods, growing & harvesting grain, food preservation)

Then we find a helpful Homestead Dictionary, Bibliography, Index, and About the Author.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book and wish I'd had it 30 years ago when I began trying to learn all this stuff! If you are considering homesteading, wondering how to create community, or just want to reduce your impact in the world, you will find this book very helpful. It will not make you an expert on any subject. It will give you an idea of what you can do, and what you need to do, and what you will need to learn to make your dreams happen. These days the internet can help you access any information you need, but what information do you need? This book will help you. How much food do you need to put away for a year per person? How can you preserve your own food? How do you take care of chickens, geese, rabbits, goats, sheep, cows, or horses? How to sew, knit. How to homeschool. Basic first aid. basic health care. first aid supplies. work with wood, work with iron. etc., etc., etc. This is your starting point, where you take it is up to you.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Z_Cowboy on August 29, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book reads like a first draft of a homesteading encyclopedia! While it covers many subjects, very few of the entries give enough info for practical application. Yes, it's an encyclopedia; if you only want to find out what definitions of terms are, this is okay. If you want to find out how to do something correctly, this book leave much to be desired. Perhaps, the best use for this book is to use it as a springboard to ideas you wish to pursue further!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Suburban Homesteader on September 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
Very disappointing. The only thing good about this book is the nice glossy photographs.

A word of caution: Following the advice in this book may be dangerous; it may result in serious injury, loss of property, or even death. It is fairly evident that most of the information in this book is not borne out of experience.

A few points:

1.) You do not "get" type 1 diabetes, you are born with it: it is a chronic, lifelong disease.
2.) Sharpening a knife by drawing the blade towards you is a mistake you only make once
3.) The entire section on chickens is a recipe for unhealthy or dead chickens
4.) The maple syrup section left me scratching my head, apparently you cut down the tree?
5.) The "fever" advice is downright dangerous
6.) The paragraph on africanized bees is bewildering

If you want a superficial, somewhat misleading, and sometimes completely incorrect introduction to a vast array of homesteading subjects, this book works okay. I highly recommend that anyone with serious aspirations for modern homesteading get a better introductory book, or read books on the individual subjects instead.
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