Back to Basics : How to Learn and Enjoy Traditional American Skills

Cover, Back to Basics : How to Learn and Enjoy Traditional American Skills

Publisher: Readers Digest

ISBN: 0895779390

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Back to Basics : How to Learn and Enjoy Traditional American Skills

Hardcover March 1997
Voluntary simplicity has become a catch phrase for what seems to be a yearning for a simpler, more self-sufficient and economical way of living in the late 20th century. This book, first published in 1981 and recently updated, was probably many folks’ first in-depth exposure to the idea of a simpler life, making things by hand, and enjoying a stronger sense of control over personal budgets, home projects, and lifestyles. Hundreds of projects are listed, illustrated in step-by-step diagrams and instructions: growing and preserving your own food, converting trees to lumber and building a home from it, traditional crafts and homesteading skills, and having fun with recreational activities like camping, fishing, and folk dancing without spending a lot of money. This book will have you dreaming and planning from the first page! —

With so many urban and suburban dwellers moving toward simplifying their lives, Reader’s Digest has updated its popular Back to Basics series to provide the ultimate how-to book. It’s packed with hundreds of projects and illustrated step-by-step sequences to help you learn to live more self-sufficiently, with sections on shelter, alternative energy sources, growing and preserving food, home crafts, and even recreation. Includes over 2,000 photos, diagrams and drawings.

Homesteading Adventures : A Guide for Doers & Dreamers

Cover, Homesteading Adventures : A Guide for Doers & Dreamers Author(s): Susan J. Robishaw, Stephen K. Schmeck (Illustrator), Sue Robishaw, Steve Schmeck

Publisher: ManyTracks

ISBN: 0965203611

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Homesteading Adventures : A Guide for Doers & Dreamers

Paperback, 303 pages
Publication date: November 1997

How-To Editor’s Recommended Book, 02/01/98:
Sue Robishaw takes an unusual approach in her examination of of homesteading. She converses with two imaginary characters, J. J. and CindyLou, to tell the story of Robishaw’s and her husband’s move to rural Northern Michigan nearly two decades ago. The three commiserate about the Robishaws’ trials, learning experiences, and misconceptions. With the help of J. J. and CindyLou, Robishaw simply, often hilariously, tells her story and offers no one-size-fits-all approach to homesteading. She also describes, in great detail, gardening tips, how to construct a solar oven, recipes, ways to become more self-sufficient by growing your own food, how to build a simple structure such as a home or outbuilding, and how to deal with critters. While filled with practical how-to information, the real joy of Homesteading Adventures is the story of the Robishaws life and experiences, told with gentle humor and affection, and mercifully free of self-righteousness. It’s a real treat to read.

Greg Prange, Northern Lights, Dec. 1997:
Her book is the perfect gift to inspire someone to take the first step to the Goodlife . . . She is truly a kindred spirit with the earth.

Bountiful Gardens, Dec. 1997:
This book is fun to read yet has a lot of good information; it would be a good one to read out loud to the family.

Michael Emerson, Independent Publisher, Mar/Apr 1998:
A practical and entertaining look at self-sufficient living. More than a how-to manual, Robishaw offers an enjoyable and insightful introduction to homestead living and philosophy Homesteading Adventures to be an inspiring and useful book for improving the quality of their lives.

Countryside magazine, Jan/Feb 1998:
Seed Saving, the outhouse, making maple syrup and the greenhouse, it’s all here, making this one of the most comprehensive manuals on homesteading we have seen. And yet . . . it’s much more readable and interesting than a manual . . . Anyone interested in homesteading is sure to enjoy, and benefit from, this very readable book.

From Independent Publisher:
Based on two decades of homesteading in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Sue Robishaw’s Homesteading Adventures is a practical and entertaining look at self-sufficient living. More than a how-to manual, Robishaw offers an enjoyable and insightful introduction to homestead living and philosophy through her amusing conversations with two fictional neophyte homesteaders, J.J. and CindyLou. With 20 extensive chapters, Homesteading Adventures covers a wide range of topics, including building a home, solar cooking, outdoor and greenhouse gardening, cooking, wine-making, solar electricity, windmilling and making maple syrup. Robishaw provides a wealth of practical information, photographs, drawings, and references to other homesteading books and resources which she and her husband, Steve Schmeck, have used over the years. As the subtitle promises, this is a book for those who have experimented with a homesteading lifestyle, as well as anyone who has dreamed of growing their own food, using solar power, or connecting to the seasonal rhythms of the earth. Whether rural or suburban, young or old, readers will find Homesteading Adventures to be an inspiring and useful book for improving the quality of their lives.

Build Your Own underground Root Cellar

Cover, Build Your Own Underground Root CellarAuthor: Phyllis Hobson

ISBN: 0882662902

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Build Your Own Underground Root Cellar #A76

Describes the right location, tools, and materials needed. Includes detailed drawings on building the cellar. Adapting the cellar to your needs. Getting the most from your root cellar. Gives storage requirements of individual fruits and vegetables. Root cellar maintenance. Country Wisdom Bulletin. Paperback, 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 inches, 32 pages with line drawings.

Each “how to” booklet is easy to read and offers clear direction.

They are a great place to start a small project…like building a compost holder or mulching a garden properly. Many of the authors are well known experts, and these booklets are a condensation of one topic, or the information has been excerpted from a bigger, more expensive book. At $4.00 each they are affordable, and are a fast read.

Root Cellaring : Natural Cold Storage of Fruits and Vegetables

Cover, Root Cellaring : Natural Cold Storage of Fruits and Vegetables

Author(s): by Mike Bubel, Nancy Bubel, Pam Art (Editor)

Publisher: Storey Books

ISBN: 0882667033

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Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits and Vegetables

320 pages
2nd edition
October 1991

The publisher, Storey Books , April 24, 1998
Root cellaring is a simple, energy-saving way to keep food fresh all year. This book explains building and using different types of root cellars and which vegetables and fruits store best. Includes specific storage requirements for nearly 100 home garden crops, plus dozens of delicious recipes.

Customer Comments

Annette Kent from Rupert, Idaho, USA ,October 6, 1998
Very informative, and complete in all areas of information. I was looking for how to build a root celler. Several Ideas were presented, along with what can be stored, how to store it and how long it could likely be stored. I first saw this book as a loan from another library. Now I want to get one to have as reference in my library.

Solar Gardening: Growing Vegetables Year-Round the American Intensive Way

Solar Gardening: Growing Vegetables Year-Round the American Intensive WayAuthors: Leandre Poisson, Gretchen Vogel Poisson

Publisher: Chelsea Green; 1St Edition edition (September 1, 1994)

Paperback: 288 pages

ISBN-10: 0930031695

ISBN-13: 978-0930031695

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SSolar Gardening shows how to increase efforts of the sun during the coldest months of the year and how to protect tender plants from the intensity of the scorching sun during the hottest months through the use of solar “mini-greenhouses.” The book includes instructions for building a variety of solar appliances plus descriptions of more than 90 different crops, with charts showing when to plant and harvest each. The result is a year-round harvest even from a small garden.

In Solar Gardening the Poissons show you how to:

  • Dramatically increase the annual square-foot yield of your garden.
  • Extend the growing and harvest season for nearly every kind of vegetable.
  • Select crops that will thrive in the coldest and hottest months of the year, without artificial heating or cooling systems.
  • Build solar appliances for your own garden.

Armed with nothing but this book and a few simple tools, even novice gardeners can quickly learn to extend their growing season and increase their yields, without increasing the size of their garden plot.

Successful Small-Scale Farming: An Organic Approach

Successful Small-Scale Farming: An Organic ApproachAuthor(s): Karl Schwenke

Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC; 2 edition (January 4, 1991)

Paperback: 144 pages

ISBN: 0882666428

ISBN-13: 978-0882666426

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“My advice is as old as the plow.” So says author, Karl Schwenke of his guide to making a full- or part-time living on the land, a book for anyone who plans to own a small farm. With sections on soil management, farm practices, cash crop selections, machinery, and many other topics, as well as comprehensive series of appendices, the author touches upon the basics of getting started with one’s own small-scale farm. Schwenke, himself a small farm owner, has provided a great practical resource for the beginning cash crop grower. Get started on acquiring “the hodgepodge of knowledge blended with a plethora of skills” necessary to becoming a successful organic farmer.

From the Back Cover

When I first wrote Successful Small-Scale Farming eleven years ago, writes Karl Schwenke in the preface to this new edition, “an ‘organic farmer’ was synonymous with a ‘lonely hippie troublemaker.’ Today he is classed somewhere between a high-priced elitist and an opportunistic liar.”So begins this classic guide to organic small-scale agriculture, fully updated and revised for the 1990s — for a new generation of readers who would like to live closer to the earth.Successful Small-Scale Farming introduces anyone owning (or planning to own) a small farm to both the harsh realities and the real potential involved in making a full- or part-time living on the land. Karl Schwenke’s clear-eyed approach to the best farming methods covers a wide range of proven techniques and practical advice, including:

* How to improve, conserve, and enrich your soil organically, to ensure the highest (and healthiest) yields.

* What machinery you’ll need and how to use it.

* The best “cash crops” and specialty crops to grow for profit and how to raise them.

* How to use innovative strategies to find or create a market “niche” for your farm’s crops or services.

* A concise overview of essential farmstead skills, such as haying, fencing, and managing a woodlot.

* Numerous charts and tables that put useful calculations at your fingertips.

With today’s increased concern for the quality of the food we eat and the health of our environment, Successful Small-Scale Farming offers a unique and invaluable perspective on the future of agriculture. Karl Schwenke’s message — that small-scale farms can be cleaner, smarter, and more efficient than corporate agribusiness — has never been so relevant as it is today.

About the Author

Karl Schwenke is a professional writer who lives with wife Sue on a farm in Newbury, Vermont, where they have raised strawberries, pigs and hay among other crops. Together, this couple has written the book Build Your Own Stone House, and Karl wrote the Storey title Successful Small-Scale Farming. His other work includes Sierra North and Sierra South from Wilderness Press, an organization in Berkeley, California, that he co-founded after graduating from college. Karl has also written In a Pig’s Eye (Chelsea Green Publishing).

The Expanding World of Solar Box Cookers

Author(s): Barbara Kerr

Publisher: Barbara P Kerr (September 1991)

Paperback: 79 pages

ISBN-10: 096326740X

ISBN-13: 978-0963267405

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Reprinted in 1999; is frequently used to teach simple cardboard solar cooker designs. In addition to using the sun for cooking meals for family and pets, she discusses some of the many ways to use a solar oven, such as to pasteurize water and milk, sanitize dishes, utensils, and diapers.

You can even sprout seedlings and prepare potting soil, among many uses explained in thisbook. Thousands of women outside the US use her simple cooker designs, and the book includes photographs of ovens made of cob and other practical designs in use around the world.

Four easy to make designs are shown, b&w photographs, illustrations, and excellent information on low-cost materials useage. 80 pages, 8.5×11, paperback, index, reprinted 1999.