Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Self-Sufficiency Handbook

Subtitled Your Complete Guide to a Self-Sufficient Home, Garden and Kitchen, The Self-Sufficiency Handbook is a 240 page general guide to the concepts and ideas involved in becoming more self-sufficient.  The content is divided into 5 broad categories: The Land, The Self-sufficient House, The Organic Food Garden, Animal Husbandry, and The Pantry.

Each of these sections are pretty much standalone and could be read in any order.  There is no required cohesiveness to the content and it can be read and accessed as needed. To that end, the book includes a fairly good index which makes the content specifically accessible.

This is a very broad and general book.  It's a good 'starting off' guide, a 'dreaming' guide; it's emphatically not a specific how-to guide. If it errs, it tries to be everything to everyone.  Anyone actually going into homesteading will hopefully have a solid workable plan for getting from lifestyle A to whatever level of self-sufficiency is desirable. 

It's very tempting to see pictures of healthy gardens and adorable lambs and healthy beehives and want to be a part of that lifestyle. (I did!) The guides rarely show pictures of neighbor's pet-dog ravaged lambs, nosema infested empty beehives, or flattened gardens with more weeds than produce and production that wouldn't feed a toddler.

This is a very pretty book.  It is a positive upbeat book, a 'you can do it' book.  There are recipes and crafts in the final section with nice (very general) tutorials about apple cider, wines, soap and candlemaking etc.

Of good use to those beginning to explore options and at the 'dreamer' stage.  Very well photographed and written in accessible layman language.  Available in ebook, paperbound and hardback formats. Published 14th Nov, 2017 by Fox Chapel publishing. Authors Alan & Gill Bridgewater have been living a smallholding lifestyle for many years.

Three and a half stars, some very good general info here.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.

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