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The Urban Homestead (Expanded & Revised Edition): Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City (Process Self-reliance Series) Paperback – June 1, 2010
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The reviewer who said that this is not a compendium of how-tos is right. It is more of an idea book, although there are many references to sources of detailed info about, for instance, raising ducks. But the problem with other self-sufficiency books I have run across is precisely that they are NOT idea books--that they become absorbed with one particular way of growing food, for instance, or one particular way of heating your (19th-century farm) house. There is nothing about woodstoves or woodlots in here.
This is the first book on self-sufficiency I have seen that directly addresses the fear that underlies the desire many people have to become more independent of the economy--the fear of some apocalypse, social collapse, disaster, etc., which they here dub "when the zombies come." I loved that they use humor to address that fear. There is a LOT of humor in this book; it's almost worth reading just for that.
Other books on self-sufficiency focus on being isolated and seeing other people as the enemy. I read one that recommended you get a house in a dip that no one can see from the road. They'll tell you how much ammunition to squirrel away with your self-heating lasagne rations.Read more ›
While this book is full of great concepts, it fails to deliver on the instruction side of things. This is not a Guide Book as the cover proclaims-- it is an Ideas book. The authors suggest planting fruit trees in your yard, and to save space, prune them into "an espalier". How do you do that? The authors kindly refer you to another book.
I understand that covering all the skills involved in Urban Homesteading in-depth would require a tome many times the length of this paperback. But an Urban Wild Edibles section with no pictures? Seriously?
This is a great tool for people who haven't gardened before and who have the motivation to seek out the actual technique elsewhere. But this is nowhere close to a guidebook, and most of the sections were wildly uninspiring, under-explained, and uninformative. If you had the foresight to seek out this book, you can probably figure out on your own that you can bake bread even in the city (!), red lettuce and green lettuce look pretty together in your garden, and composting may help reduce some of your soil woes.
To be fair, the cooking section and home cleaning supplies section, while not very enlightening in terms of ideas, has a slightly more complete informative style.Read more ›
They also warn: "Work makes work" in the gardening section, and to me that perspective is more valuable than knowing how frequently to water my sweet peppers once they've flowered. (Which brings up another thing I've enjoyed so much about reading this book and the H.E. blog: The blog pointed me to Pat Welsh's Southern California Gardening for more specific and advanced gardening advice.)
The Urban Homestead is laid out in a way that makes it easy to pick up and read a little bit here and there. And I've been picking up my copy every chance I get, rereading sections, too, both for knowledge and enjoyment. It's really oriented toward people with a new or recent interest in living more like their great-grandparents did, more engaged in the world around them, even if that world is a major metropolis. It's less about preparing for disaster than thwarting it.
If you want to ditch your TV, buy less crap at the supermarket, learn how to use a bicycle to transport your self and your stuff, conserve, reuse, bake, make and otherwise reject so many things that until recently our society believed were progress, this book will get you going on the right path.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a gift for a friends wedding. They love it and say they use it all the time.Published 6 days ago by Brie S
This book sucks if you want to actually learn how to do anything. It's basically an idea book with little detail and brief descriptions. Read morePublished 28 days ago by GreatD
Like the authors, I live in the middle of Los Angeles. What I appreciate most about this book is that it inspires me to problem solve and think about possibilities that are... Read morePublished 2 months ago by My Roman Apartment
The urban homestead is delightful from the introduction to the index. She shares stories of her childhood, and many starting skills for those who have not had the benefit of... Read morePublished 3 months ago by MamaKoolaid
The authors have loads of personality and it was an entertaining read. I appreciated that their approach is more philosophical/motivational/practical than technical.Published 3 months ago by Normanite
How is this "urban" if it requires a lawn and an owned home where you can make adjustments? Not for actual city dwellers or renters.Published 3 months ago by Aryn
This book is fantastic. It is more a compilation of ideas to get you thinking about what you can do with whatever you’ve got than a how-to guide. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Leo Szilard
a lot of very general information, a good run down of basic info and alternative gardening techniques, somewhat more suitable to urban and suburban settings but information will be... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Set
Excellent! Loaded with practical tips and advice that anyone can use - highly recommended...Published 10 months ago by WTF