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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) Paperback – May 25, 2011
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About the Author
Abigail R. Gehring is the editor of Back to Basics, Homesteading, and Self-Sufficiency, and author of Odd Jobs and Dangerous Jobs. She’s practiced living self-sufficiently since her childhood in Vermont, being home-schooled, home-canning jams and jellies, and enjoying natural crafts. She lives in New York City and Windham, Vermont.
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Top Customer Reviews
The summary is right there in my title, "Lots of information, TERRIBLE editing". there are typos on nearly half the pages, several captions are switched, the insets refer to pictures as being below when they're above and vice versa, and some images were clearly simply cut from websites and scaled out of proportion without any regard to their quality. (the entire alternative energy section springs to mind)
If you have any experience with canning whatsoever, then before you buy this book you should know that a disproportionate percentage of the book is devoted to canning your food. While some topics get a single page worth of text, canning alone apparently warrants forty seven.
If for some reason you already own this book and are reading this, please pay attention when reading the edible poisonous mushroom section. Although its caption is accurate, the VERY POISONOUS wild amanita mushroom is featured in a picture without its own heading.
And finally, a note to Ms. Gehring:
My apologies if the above comes off as harsh. It is readily apparent that a lot of work went into gathering the information contained in your book, but it's just as apparent that little to no work went into the editing process. I realize that things like typefaces are important. But text that relates accurately to the illustration, and illustrations that are legible are just as important, if not more so.
As this is the first printing, I hope my criticism can be considered constructive, and your next edition will be greatly improved.
The content of the book has some good information, although key items are missing, and other more technical items found there way in to a chapter. For example there is a section on preserving food and they do a nice job of teaching canning and drying food, however there is no mention of smoking food for preservation, yet later in the book they have plans for building a smokehouse??? They dedicate 4 pages to knitting with only 3 small pictures of the actual technique. they talk about making your own soap and if you want to add color, just run down to the local arts and crafts store and pick some up. Isn't the point of homesteading to be self sufficient?
5 pages are dedicated to geothermal energy, yet no information is provided on something simple and necessary like an outhouse. You can't learn how to install a geothermal system in 5 pages, this requires multiple books read by a mechanically inclined person and likely several consultations with an HVAC engineer. Detailed plans for a simple windmill, or sand point well is where I would draw the line for this book...
The canning times and pressures I'm not sure of, it is not listed that they are the approved ones from the FDA to avoid botulism.
Over all a lot of useful information to have on hand.
I do recommend people interesting in homesteading get this as a "basics" book, and from here, you can decide to buy other books that you might need to give you much more detail about one subject. For example, there's a short section on how to build a..chicken coop or animal shed (brain fog at the moment,) and if you know carpentry, it's all you need. If you're not a carpenter but clever, you could use it as a guide to build something suitable. If you can barely tell one end of a nail from the other, you'll need a book on basic carpentry.
Oh, and it has quite a good section on canning, which I consider very important in homesteading.