The Truth About Self-Sufficient Living
Are you obsessed with the idea of living a self-sufficient, homesteading lifestyle? It seems everyone is raising chickens and breeding goats, and enjoying homegrown and homemade goodness.
Despite all the social media photos of cute chickens and goats, overflowing baskets of home-grown produce, and close-up pictures of freshly baked bread, homesteading is dirty, hard, work.
There are slugs and deer competing for our vegetables. Animals die. We make mistakes, some small, some huge. It can be hard to stay motivated and sometimes I wonder – why bother?
Two and a half years of full time work outside the home, with a long dang commute, I find my enthusiasm dwindling for the made-from-scratch meals I once loved creating.
More and more, I find myself tearing open that package (it’s from Trader Joe’s, GMO-free, but STILL), and telling myself I deserve a Netflix binge…but in my heart I know this is not living.
More than supporting sustainable agriculture, more than making healthy choices, I miss the CONNECTION to my food that comes from making our own.
Blogs and books are great ways to learn from others and find inspiration along the way. We just need to be careful and choose wisely – it is important to see the struggles as well as the successes to know we are not alone.
10 Great Books on Homesteading and Self-Sufficient Living
Need some inspiration or information? Do you love reading about practical ways to increase your self-sufficiency, or seeing how others live a self-sufficient lifestyle?
Here are 10 great books on homesteading packed with information and inspiration for all levels of gardening, backyard homesteading, and self-sufficient living.
These are the books I turn to not just for the information they provide, but for the inspiration I sometimes need to stay connected to this homesteading lifestyle.
Here they are, in no particular order…
The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 40th Anniversary Edition: The Original Manual of Living Off the Land & Doing It Yourself
This classic is packed full of information, in an encyclopedia style. Everything from gardening, food preservation techniques, livestock, and keeping bees, a great resource to have on hand (especially if you lose internet!).
This comprehensive guide to homesteading provides all the information you need to grow and preserve a sustainable harvest of grains and vegetables; raise animals for meat, eggs, and dairy; and keep honey bees for your sweeter days. With easy-to-follow instructions on canning, drying, and pickling, you’ll enjoy your backyard bounty all winter long.
Shaye shares her homesteading life at the Elliot Homestead and shares her enthusiasm for growing, harvesting, and preparing organic food for her family in her new book. I love the way she keeps it real.
Tessa Zundel shares her adventures learning to homestead at Homestead Lady. I love that she shares the good, the bad, and the ugly. Her book offers a step-by-step guide for the beginner homesteader. We are several years into our homesteading, and I appreciate the real-life information she shares. And she is another writer who openly shares her struggles and failures.
Merissa at Little House Living offers practical advice on making the most of what you have with simple living inspiration and frugal living strategies.
Are you familiar with Anna Hess? She writes about her frugal homesteading and has dozens of great books on homesteading topics including:
I always enjoy Anna’s down-to-earth and practical approaches, and her series on soil quality is tremendously helpful as we work to improve our soil.
I recently read Anna’s first book in her series The Ultimate Guide to Soil – Personality Tests For Your Soil: The Real Dirt on Cultivating Crops, Compost, and a Healthier Home (The Ultimate Guide to Soil Book 1).
Enjoying a productive garden starts with the health of the soil, and Anna guides us in learning our soil through hands-on testing. Soil texture, composition, and organic matter are demonstrated with specific examples, illustrations, and instructions for performing your own simple tests.
Amy Stross overcame the challenges of too little space, not enough sun, and poor soil to transform her tenth acre farm into a productive edible landscape. She shares practical strategies and resources in her excellent book The Suburban Micro-Farm
The classic book by Helen and Scott Nearing, a couple who abandoned city life for self-sufficient living has inspired generations. Packed with their lifetime experiences and plenty of inspiration.
These are some of my favorites books for information and inspiration. What are you reading?