Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Homesteading Handbook- Review and Giveaway*CLOSED*

When I got these books from Skyhorse Publishing, I chose to read The Homesteading Handbook first because it intrigued me the most. Now that I have read through it I have to say that I am both impressed and not impressed at the same time. Is that possible? Here are my pros and cons of the book....The Pros: (isn't it better to start off with the good news?)
- This book covers nearly everything. Seriously. I was AMAZED at how many topics it covered. We're talking, gardening, canning, drying, freezing, edible wild plants, all types of poultry, beekeeping, goats, sheep, llamas, building doghouses, birdhouses, poultry houses, fences, bridges, workshops, smokehouses, root cellars, small barns, using alternate forms of energy in the form of hydro power, solar power, wind energy, making things like candles and soap, knitting, pottery, herbal medicine and first aid. PHEW!! Did you get through all that? Really there is a lot covered in this book.
- The photos in the book are great. Nice shots with great color!
- The section on "Edible Wild Plants and Mushrooms" was a fantastic addition. I haven't seen a homesteading book yet that included it. Along with pictures, descriptions, locations and "edible parts and preparing" notes.
- I was also impressed with the canning section. Lots of great information. It's like a canning book inside of a homesteading book.


-Llamas. Most books don't even mention them. If you're an avid knitter, how great would it be to spin your own yarn?
- Cheesmaking! While there are only a couple recipes in the book, they are all that I would need to start off...mozzarella, cheddar, the book even has instructions on making a simple cheese press.

The Cons:
- Because the book covers so many topics in only 268 pages, each topic is covered very briefly. If you're looking into raising honeybees then this book is not going to be sufficient, even though it has a section on them. The section on turkeys talks about having a male and female to have offspring but fails to mention that only certain breeds of turkeys can reproduce without "help." If you're looking for a book on a certain topic like raising goats, building barns or even gardening, a specialized book would better suit your needs.
- There is not one thing in this book on cows!?? Whether for milk or meat.
- There is nothing in this book on wild game or hunting. Elk, deer, jackrabbits, etc. Really going "back to basics" would certainly include obtaining meat from other sources than the grocery store.
- There is nothing on rabbits. My new love of rabbit meat, their ease of butchering and raising has got me wishing that this book covered them.

All in all, the book is far from perfect....but most homesteading books are. They may cover one topic very well (in the case of this book, I'd say it's canning) and leave much to be desired on others. If you're into canning, building smokehouses and would like a general knowledge on most farm things, then this book would certainly work for you!

I'll be giving away one copy of this book to one reader. If you'd like to enter the giveaway here's what you need to do for one or more entries:
1. Leave a comment telling me what homesteading skill you'd most like to learn
2. Post this giveaway on your Facebook page and then leave another comment letting me know that you did
3. Blog about this giveaway (it can be as simple as, "Look! Here's a giveaway!" with a link) and then leave another comment letting me know that you did

The giveaway will close on July 31st at 7pm (PST) The winner will be announced during the first week of August. Please make sure that you leave a way for me to contact you, or make sure that you are checking back during that first week to see if you've won! I'll also announce the winner on my FB page.
Happy entering!

34 comments:

Mika said...

I'd love to learn more about animal keeping in general..we have chickens but will soon be acquiring goats and then sheep as well. Possible even a cow, not sure yet though!

Brenda said...

I want to add bees and a milk cow to the collection. I already have the horses and chickens!

Brenda said...

Shared this on facebook!

Deb W said...

Thank you so much for your review - both pro and con. It is so helpful for choosing books to buy on the internet, where you can't flip through them first.

This sort of book is great for the folks that are just beginning to think about homesteading. It allows them an overall view, so they can choose what they want to be involved in...or not.

tpescdoc said...

I feel deprived. The closest I have gotten to animal keeping is 2 dogs, 2 kids and a husband, who won't allow me to get chickens. Hopefully, some day I'll have a few girls. I've bought a few books to read just in case.

Aimee said...

I would like to learn about animals, starting with chickens, then cows. We have an offer in on an acreage. Wish us luck.

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

Thanks for giving a review of the book :) :) The one homesteading skill I want to learn next is canning ;) :) I'm particularly interested in small batch canning, since I live in an apartment :) :) Have a great week .Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

Amanda said...

I appreciate that you've said a few cons. Most folks completely skip over the cons when doing a give-away. Seems like they only want to focus on the good.

And up until I read your list of what the book covers I would have chosen beekeeping for sure!, But,

wouldn't it be neat to know which wild plants are edible?!

That being said, this would be the skill I would most like to have.

Thanks for the chance to win!

Jenna said...

I'm always on the look out for good tips and inspiration on Gardening/Canning/Drying and I would love to learn a bit more about those...self sufficiency is important to me more than ever now.

Thank you for the opportunity to win!!
Blessings,
Jenna

Morgan said...

Well, this is the book for me because canning is where I'm at. Pretty new to all of this and currently live in too urban of an area for animal raising!

teekaroo said...

I love homesteading books! It gives me ideas and things to dream about while I'm renting in the city. I would like to see those canning recipes.

All Things Beautiful said...

I would like to learn more about gardening skills, because apparently no matter what I do my garden just won't grow or the squirrels beat me to it.

StitchinByTheLake said...

I want to put in some raised bed gardens. I've read up on the building of them but now I need some basic gardening skills. Maybe this would help! blessings, marlene

simply living said...

I want to learn and keep bees preferably in a top bar hive. I also want to find organic ways to keep them healthy. I also want to make my own cheese starting with farmers cheese and cottage cheese. I love to learn about new skills and how to make them work for me.

simply living said...

I posted on my FB about the give away.

simply living said...

I posted on my blog about your book give away. Thank you for the review, it looks very interesting.

Sharon said...

Oh Heather, you have made this difficult by choosing one homesteading skill :) I guess I would have to say raising livestock for meat and dairy. Bees come in second :) Thank you for this opportunity to win. The books sounds great!

Have a blessed weekend!
Sharon

Deb said...

Well, I would say bee-keeping so we could have our own honey--so nice--however I am so allergic that I'm afraid it wouldn't be in my best interest. So I'm going to say gardening/canning. My adult daughter (who lives here at home) is in charge of all the gardens/canning. I have no clue what will happen when she's married and away from home. I think I'd better start learning NOW! Thank you for the giveaway.

Linda Stubbs said...

We will be inheriting the farm we are living on as soon as the estate closes. I would love to win this book to learn more about bees. We have friends that put theirs on our grounds. Think it is time we do the same.

Thank you for this wonderful giveaway. I have enjoyed your blog. Very beautiful!
Blessings, Linda

Kimberly said...

I'd love to learn more how to build a smokehouse and outdoor oven. :)

Brie said...

I am brand new starting out on my journey to homesteading. We have two years before we can actually separate and go off grid. I really need all the info I can get in preparation for the big move.

Brie said...

I shared your blog on my Facebook for a second entry.

Brie said...

I don't have a blog but I shared the link on my twitter. Can that count as a third entry?

Sarah said...

That looks like a really interesting book! I would probably be most interested in the cheese press instructions and the bee-keeping. That page on solar panels is intriguing though!

Bambi said...

Would love to learn about gardening!

Rachel said...

I don't have a green thumb so advice on maintaining a garden would be great! I'd love you to come enter my new natural & orgainc giveaway!

Journey11 said...

That really suprises me too that they wouldn't mention rabbits. Not everybody has room for a cow, but rabbits are the healthiest and most affordable meat you can raise.

Otherwise, the book sounds really useful. I would like to learn more about building stuff, fences, outbuildings, root cellar...that type of thing.

Jen said...

Thanks for listing the pros and cons. That was helpful.

Hmmm, my next homesteading skill.....last night my husband and children were talking about raising a cow for beef. I'd like to learn to make soap.

gracefuldesignscards.com said...

I'd be interested in learning about medicinal herbs and cheesemaking.

I like that this book has color photos!

happy momma said...

Thanks for being so honest! There are so many things I need to learn about the skills needed for the homesteading life. Thanks for the chance to learn more. God BLess

Jessica said...

I would love to learn to can.

Tami said...

i would like to learn how to raise goats :)

Tami said...

shared on fb

Gail said...

Hi, sweet Heather!
What a great looking book! I have a list of three things I want to learn right now, bee keeping, wool spinning, and hard cheese making :o)
Loving my quilt made by a wonderful quilter :o)
Blessings from Kansas!
Gail

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