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Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life Hardcover – December 3, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 99 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

One day Woginrich, a Web designer, threw her hands in the air and vowed to change her life. She was going to be more self-sufficient: produce her own food, make her own clothing, live a simpler and more fulfilling life. Easier said than done, she soon learned. This amiable memoir charts her course to self-sufficiency, documenting her successes and disappointments, exploring what it means to make the shift from consumer to producer. It’s almost two books in one: each chapter (for example, the one in which she tells us about her early misadventures in chicken raising) is accompanied by a brief guide to its subject (in this case, she talks about the importance of selecting a breed, choosing the right food, and providing a proper, poultry-friendly environment). The book, therefore, is simultaneously a lighthearted fish-out-of-water, city-girl-turns-homesteader memoir and a more serious primer on making a lifestyle change. Perfect for environmentally conscious, do-it-yourself readers. --David Pitt

About the Author

Jenna Woginrich is a homesteader and the author of Barnheart, Chick Days, and Made from Scratch. She blogs at Cold Antler Farm, as well as Mother Earth News and The Huffington Post. A Pennsylvania native, she has made her home in the mountains of Tennessee, in northern Idaho, in rural Vermont, and most recently in upstate New York, where she lives with a flock of Scottish Blackface sheep, a border collie in training, chickens and geese, a hive of bees, a horse, and several amiable rabbits.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC; First Printing edition (December 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160342086X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603420860
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,127,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mere nostalgia for a so-called "simpler time" is not enough reason for me to do anything; I have to know there is some modern benefit, something to justify its practice in the here and now. The author of Made From Scratch does an excellent job not only convincing me of this, but stoking my excitement for it.

Of 11 chapters, I loved 6:

Chickens. Eggs aren't that expensive -they might be some of the cheapest sources of protein available- so why raise your own chickens? First, by doing so you'll know exactly how they've been treated instead of wondering by what loophole "free range" came to be stamped on the egg cartons at the grocery store. Second, fresh eggs really do taste better; they are higher in omega-3 fatty acids and lower in cholesterol than factory eggs. They even look better, with perky, deep orange yolks. Third, getting eggs out of your own backyard is a nice way to bypass the whole "eat organic vs. eat local" debate. Fourth, chickens will eat the slugs and other pests harassing your vegetable and herb garden. Fifth, when you change their bedding, the old bedding does wonders for your compost. The one glitch seems to be getting your hands on chickens humanely. She gets chickens through the mail, first two-day-old chicks who arrive in a box "parched and starved" and later pullets (chickens just a few weeks away from laying their first eggs) who arrive with clipped beaks.

Grow Your Own Meal. The food at the grocery store is a mystery. You don't know how it was grown, how far it was trucked, how long ago it was picked, who picked it, or what they were paid. It's coated in wax and dyes. It's oversized, dry, and flavorless. It's grown for shelf life rather than taste. And it's getting more expensive all the time.
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Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book for a quick little chapter read to see if I would be interested and didn't put it down until I had read the whole book. Very much in the same vein as Animal, Vegetable, Miracle but without all the preachiness.

Woganrich takes you through her experiences in homesteading and living a simpler life. Each chapter begins with her discussing her adventures, successes, and failures then ends up with mentoring tips. All the stuff you are looking for without all the hours of research.

The chapters can be taken or dismissed depending on your wish to undertake this particular part of your own adventure into homesteading, but I did have to laugh when I came to the one on Dogs as Work Animals. I own Pugs and there is not a single working gene amongst them so that part just won't work for me.

The other chapters on Bees and Chickens are quite interesting and it's quite refreshing to read an author in this field that will actually discuss their failures and mentor you to your own successes

Great book and going to her website you can see what she has been up to in the year since.
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Format: Hardcover
This book came into my life at the perfect time. I am a midwestern transplant living in NYC and was starting to feel depressed and disconected by city life. I picked this book up one day and read it while commuting to work. My usual boring hour ride on the subway flew by as I read about Jenna's garden, chickens, and bees. I finished the whole thing that night and then went online to read her blog, and it sparked something inside of me,and I realized that even if my dreams of country living are probably not going to happen for a few years there are plenty of things i can be doing now. As of this moment I have some rapidly growing vegetable plants in the window, a pair of socks on the kntting needles, a quilt in progress, and can play about ten songs on the fiddle. So if you are just looking for a great read, or some inspiration for your country dreams pick up this book, you will be glad you did.
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Format: Hardcover
I have mixed feelings about this book. I adore the premise (the exchange of the consumable society with a lifestyle that is more authentic), and the author is a great writer. There are moments of pure brilliance, like the introduction. But there were some things that bothered me.

The structure felt wrong to me. The book was set up as a series of stand-alone chapters on different topics (bee-keeping, working dogs, cooking, etc.), but this was very disjointed because Jenna Woginrich's story seems more of a cohesive journey than a set of chapters. It was disconcerting to have her living in Tennessee in one chapter, and then find her in Idaho in another chapter, with no clear explanation of how she got from one place to the other.

I also had some problems with her almost flippant approach to her animals' deaths, whether it was her chickens, her rabbits, or her bees. I know that these events couldn't have been easy for her, but she comes across (and even says in one place) that she was more surprised than anything. What about horror? Shame? Fear? It just seemed cold-hearted, and I don't think she intended to come across that way.

The chapters that shone for me were the ones rife with personal experience -- the dog-sledding chapter, for instance, or the one on music. It's interesting because I was not clear why the dog-sledding info was included in a book on "Made from Scratch." But the luminosity of her writing made up for any questions about why it was included. In contrast, though, other chapters (most notably, the one on sewing and knitting) seemed almost to be written from afar, with no real personal detail or anecdote.

I would love to read another book by Woginrich that was more a storybook, with lots more information about her personal journey, and a little less of a resource book.
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