Useful Reading and Research

This is a list of books, either that I recommend or that I have seen recommended in multiple places.  I will be the first person to recommend hitting the library rather than the bookstore.  However, if you decide to add one of these books to your personal reference shelf, please consider purchasing them through the link at the bottom of the page.  It doesn't cost you anything extra, but it does help to support this blog.

The Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing.
I will admit that I have never read this book.  My local library does not carry it. I plan to order it on interlibrary loan however.  I have seen this book referenced in many places in my own research and am eager to see for my self.  Apparently the nearing, during the 1930s opted to go "back to the land" before people were going back to the land.  They purchased a piece of property, built a home and focused on living simply so that they could spend their time in ways that they found more rewarding and productive than working in the sector.

The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It by John Seymor
This one I have read.  I do not yet own it but I plan to.  It has a lot of great information.  The author gives suggestions for setting up your homestead garden/farm for varying sizes of property from 1/2 an acre up to five acres or more.  He also has an extensive section on homesteading crafts like gardening, butchering, canning, etc.  This is a book I highly recommend to anyone interested in a self-sufficient lifestyle.

Made From Scratch by Jenna Woginrich
I have borrowed this one from the library and enjoyed it thouroughly.  It is an interesting account of one young woman's attempts to homestead.  She shares her trials and success and tells an engaging story.  While I enjoyed the book, I have no plans to purchase it.  It is a good story but right now I am focusing on purchasing reference material.

Create an Oasis with Greywater by Art Ludwig
This one I own.  At the time that I purchased it, I was curious enough about the subject to want the information and there was so little to be found on the subject.  Even though I have a traditional sort of home, I am not sorry I purchased the book.  Who knows when the information my become useful.  The author has a website and is clearly an expert in his field.

Finding and Buying Your Place in the Country by Les and Carol Scher
This book is explained pretty well by the title.  It was written by a couple, who also happen to be lawyers.  They take you through the process of how to search for property, how to determine which property is the best for you and because they are lawyers they include useful things about the legal mumbo jumbo of purchasing contracts, including things to watch out for before signing on the dotted line.  They also include useful items like an amoritization table so that you can figure out what your payments will be. They also talk about how to find water on your property.  I own this one and if you are still looking for your place then I highly recommend this book.

Country Property Dirt Cheap. . . by Ralph C. Turner
This is one man's account of looking for his country property.  He wanted the property for weekend use.  He eventually put a cabin on the property, too.  He tells the story of hunting for his property and how he got it dirt cheap.  I do own this one.  I bought it a long time ago.  It is an interesting story, but if I were to consider whether or not to buy it now, it is an interesting story with some good ideas, but is a little thin as reference.

Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits and Vegetables by Mike and Nancy Buble
This is a book I do not own but definitely plan on purchasing soon.  It is all about preserving vegetables with out the use of refridgeration.  It even gives suggestions on how to turn garages, closets, etc into makeshift root cellars.  I highly recommend it.

Humanure Handbook by Joseph Jenkins
Can you guess what this one is about?  If you have ever considered going totally off-grid, this classic can offer you a very simple solution to one of lifes most basic needs.  It is carefully thought out and well documented.  You can read it on line for free at or follow a link on that site to purchase your own paper or e-book copy.