Lately my desk has been flooded with new 2011 books written for the urban homesteader. From raising chickens to throwing a one-block feast, this new crop of guidebooks has you covered.
1. Backyard Skills: A DIY Handbook, by The Ecology Center: Divided up into five themed chapters – Water, Energy, Food, Shelter, and Waste – Backyard Skills was inspired by San Juan Capistrano, California's The Ecology Center's Do-It-Yourself workshop series held on site in 2009-2010.
2. Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living, by Rachel Kaplan and K. Ruby Bloom: a comprehensive How-To and Why-To guide to backyard DIY projects, from how to care for ducks and build a worm bin, install a rainwater storage system, start a community garden, or grow medicinal herbs.
3. The Homesteading Handbook: A Back to Basics Guide to Growing Your Own Food, Canning, Keeping Chickens, Generating Your Own Energy, Crafting, Herbal Medicine, and More, by Abigail R. Gehring: another comprehensive guide to, well, everything they write in the title!
4. The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading: An Encyclopedia of Independent Living, by Nicole Faires: The author states that everything you find in this guide meets the following criteria: it is something that anyone can do, without special training, and it can be done with relatively few supplies or with stuff you can make yourself.
5. The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your Own Food, by Monte Burch: this guide includes information on specific health benefits, vitamins, and minerals for each food, as well as detailed instructions for fall and winter food growing. Includes a 150 full-color photographs and 30 black-and-white illustrations.
6. The One-Block Feast: An Adventure in Food from Farm to Table, by Margo True and the staff of Sunset Magazine: a homesteading guide slash cookbook, this guide from the editors behind Sunset Magazine (a Re-Nest favorite) features garden plans for four seasons, and tutorials on a range of topics, from raising chickens to brewing beer.
7. Chick Days: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Raising Chickens from Hatching to Laying, by Jenna Woginrich: a great primer on chicken keeping, this book is a day-by-day, week-by-week photographic chronicle of the first eight months of the life of a chicken.
8. The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals: Choose the Best Breeds for Small-Space Farming, by Gail Damerow: if you're ready to move beyond chickens, this is the book for you! Find out how to care for for a whole farm, including ducks, geese, turkeys, rabbits, goats, sheep, cows, pigs, and honey bees.
Do you have a favorite urban homesteading book, new or old? Give us your best recommendations below!
(Book images as linked)