Winter is usually the season when homesteaders have a slower pace of life. Depending on your location, your homestead could see plenty of snow, or it may look like another fall day. However, winter often means that you have extra time to catch up on those indoor checklists, no matter where you live.
There are plenty of resources available when learning how to homestead. All of us have gone to online videos to look up how to do something in a pinch. What used to only be knowledge passed down from prior generations is now available to us with a simple search. However, don’t discount the wisdom and wealth of information contained in a good old fashioned book.
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Consider using this downtime to catch up on the books that many of your fellow homesteaders have used to grow their land. You’ll find that our top picks include good books for beginners as well as those homesteaders who have a few years (or decades) under their belt.
So, snuggle up with a cozy blanket, grab your favorite warm drink, and check out these top 5 homesteading books to read this winter.
1. The Backyard Homestead: Produce All the Food You Need on Just a Quarter Acre by Carleen Madigan
Squeezing every last inch out of our property is a common goal for many homesteaders. The Backyard Homestead touts that you can produce all the food that you need in a tiny area using a blend of different systems. This is an excellent choice for those homesteaders who truly are living in a neighborhood with a limited amount of space.
However, it also is a great resource for those with acres of land but who want to use the land wisely. There are plenty of pictures, graphs, and diagrams within the book to help you plot out your own homestead, no matter how small it is.
The Backyard Homestead is a good place to start if you want to know how to become more self-sufficient.
2. The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach by Ben Falk
Author Ben Falk is a no-nonsense kind of guy who provides an in-depth look at how he has built his own farm along a Vermont hillside. He presents a book that shows techniques beyond the backyard homesteader and looks at issues that homesteaders will face on a larger scale.
You’ll find interesting information about gravity-fed water systems, how to design a site, flood mitigation, fuelwood production, and a wealth of other topics. Falk covers systems of the homestead that are often overlooked and learned the hard way after something has gone wrong.
The Resilient Farm and Homestead is a complex book that helps those of us who have been around the block a few times on the farm to better understand our land and how to improve it.
3. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
While she is usually writing novels, author Barbara Kingsolver surprised the world with this memoir and investigation into food. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is a beautiful and somewhat surprising pick for our list of Top 5 Homesteading books to read this winter.
It’s not your normal plan of action as to how to manage a farm, but rather a look into what it takes to commit to eating locally no matter what. Kingsolver and her family committed to eating food for an entire year that they could only buy locally, grow themselves, or learn to go without.
It is a great read for those who want to understand more about eating food grown locally and avoiding the industrial food pipeline that many of us still rely on today. If you need a bit of encouragement to homestead or want to really define why you are homesteading at all, this is the book to read.
4. Small-Scale Pig Raising by Dirk Van Loon
Many homesteaders start out by raising rabbits or chickens and then graduate up to larger animals as the years pass. Small-Scale Pig Raising is a useful resource on the true nature of pigs and what makes them so special. Author Dirk Van Loon goes into detail about how to introduce pigs to the homestead as well as nutrition, breeding, and butchering.
He also sheds light on the unique characteristics of pigs and how to raise them in an area where they will be comfortable and happy. If you want to learn more about the “old fashioned” way of raising pigs, this is the book to pick up this winter.
5. The Forager’s Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants by Samuel Thayer
A significant part of homesteading is using the land wisely and cultivating food that grows naturally in your area. Samuel Thayer’s book, The Forager’s Harvest, is a highly sought after book that guides you through wild edibles that he has grown up eating.
There are so many wild plants that grow on homesteads that are commonly cut down and tossed. However, these plants grow on your property for a reason and can be helpful if you would just learn about them!
Take advantage of the full potential of your land by using these wild edibles. Readers love Thayer’s straightforward tone and ability to speak on many different plants he has consumed countless times. Whether you want to learn more about foraging or using plants that seem to grow right outside your doorstep, this is a great book to learn more about using wild plants for good.
There are plenty of good homesteading books to choose from when learning more about your land and how to use it wisely. These are our top 5 picks, but many others came close to making the list. Some of the information can be repetitive in many homesteading books on the market, but these choices all touch on different parts of homesteading.
They not only teach about how to start a homestead but go in-depth into the reasons why you want to homestead in the first place. Be sure to pick up any or all of these great homesteading books.
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