Journey to Self-Sufficiency: Fall 2018 Homesteaders' Book Club Selection

September 6, 2018

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The Happy Hive is pleased to announce our Fall 2018 Homesteaders’ Book Club, sponsored this time around by Storey Publishing.  Our goal this fall is to read about the journey toward, or deeper into, homesteading and we hope you’ll join us!  Storey Publishing will provide a free copy of the chosen book to one lucky book club member. 


To enter, join our Homesteaders’ Book Group Facebook Group and vote for your book choice in the survey at the top of the page.  Votes must be submitted by September 14.  The book group will take place in October of 2018.  


The nights are getting cooler (I hope) and we are moving toward the end of gardening season here in the Northeast.  This time of transition brings with it the opportunity to think about what’s next.  What steps will you take next in your journey toward self-sufficiency or homesteading?


Join us in the Fall Homesteaders’ Book Group as we read testimony from another homesteader about the shape that this journey can take.  We’re choosing from three books this fall that are part memoir, part how-to.  They each come at a different point in a homesteading journey, and each offers something different to reader in terms of its perspective and style. 





Option 1: Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Homemade Life by Jenna Woginrich (2008, 177 pages)


Perfect for the new or early homesteader, or the homestead-curious reader, this engaging book is Woginrich’s account of her first steps toward a more self-sufficient life.  Chapter-by-chapter, she explores the decisions she made that brought her closer to what she considers an “authentic life” - from her first chickens to gardening, making her own clothes, and making “mountain music”. 


Woginrich’s voice is friendly and honest, inviting you to join her on this journey.  She accompanies her personal reflections with entry-level how-to information in each chapter.  You’ll read about what it was like to have her first hive of bees, then get a quick primer on beginner beekeeping. 


If you’ve tried some of these things yourself, you’ll find yourself smiling at the relatable tales of failure and success and you’ll fill in some gaps in information where you didn’t know it all.  If you’ve never tried these things, you’ll get an honest take on what it might look like for the first time – not 100% perfect, but promising and fulfilling none-the-less.



Option 2: One Woman Farm: My Life Shared with Sheep, Pigs, Chickens, Goats, and Fine Fiddle by Jenna Woginrich (2013, 205 short pages). 


Peppered with quotes and poetry from others who have examined the farming life, Woginrich’s text invites the reader to join in her thoughts and experiences as she transitions to a calendar shaped not by appointments and deadlines but by the cyclical nature of a farming life.


This book is not a beginning-to-end narrative but rather a series of windows into her life.  She invites the reader to attend her annual cider pressing day, witness what it takes to do farm chores on a winter morning, or feel the promise of getting back into the soil again.  Woginrich’s style echoes her earlier text – engaging, personal, and inviting.  Yet it is also deeply reflective in a way that only a journal can be.


Side note - you don't have to be a woman or a single person to enjoy this book, as admirable as it is that Woginrich is on this adventure and doing so much on her own (and with a great community).



Option 3: The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands-on-Living by Wendy Jehanara Tremayne (2013, 304 Pages)



More radical in its approach (depending on your perspective), this book chronicles the adventures of a couple who left the busy city life in New York City for a homegrown “alternative” life in New Mexico.  Through colorful adventurous chapters in a crafty-looking book, the authors take you their journey of imagining and enacting this new kind of life.  They share “how-to’s” not just by telling you what to do but by showing you what they do, so that you can do it in your own way.


The book is also full of side-bars, graphics, and visual illustrations to engage your senses.  This book might not be something you fully absorb in one reading, but it is a book you’ll go back to if you are on the path toward, or have fully absorbed, off-the-grid living.


(PS - if this book appeals to you, you might also like our Summer 2018 Book Club Book, The Art of Frugal Hedonism)


Personally, I’m reading all of these books, but our book group will be choosing one for our Fall 2018 Homesteaders’ Book Club read. 


Which book best aligns with what you are looking for on your path toward self-sufficiency? 


Thank you to Storey Publishing for their partnership on the Fall 2018 Book Club!!






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