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There is a big learning curve when you are starting a homestead, but the learning doesn't really end there. With so many sources of information, how do you know what will be helpful? We've compiled this list of our current top 5 Homesteading Books to give you an idea of the resources that have been helpful to us and haven't just ended up on the shelf gathering dust!
(by "current" we mean the books that we are actively using and consider some of our favorites for this year, regardless of when they were published)
(P.S. - Into cooking? You can also check out our list of Great Cookbooks for Homesteaders here!)
The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the Food you Need on Just a Quarter Acre by Carleen Madigan (Ed.). If you're looking for an all-around resource for all things homesteading, this book is a great "encyclopedia" of information. From gardening to livestock to foraging preserving, this book has a little bit of everything. This books is especially helfpul for those with smaller properties who don't intend to start a full-fledged farm.
It is a great gift for someone who is thinking about heading in that direction!In fact, this was one of the first homesteading books we got as a gift and read cover to cover looking for ideas for what we could produce ourselves.
Northeast Fruit & Vegetable Gardening by Charlie Nardozzi.
Not gardening in the Northeast? Don't despair - Cool Springs Press has a series of these books, one for almost every US region!
The Beginner's Guide to Beekeeping: Everything you Need to Know by the Future Farmers of America. If you are new to beekeeping or thinking about adding a hive or two to your homestead, this book is a great place to start. It offers easily digestible information about the lifecycle of a hive, the necessary equipment, and the basic keeping practices that will help you to get started.
I also find it to be a handy reference for when we want to check on a basic fact on honey bees or beekeeping practices. While the book is suitable for any adult, it is also a great beginning read for kids who want to get involved in beekeeping.
Beeswax Alchemy by Petra Ahnert. Once you've got your bees going, or even if you don't yet, you will find that beeswax is an awesome ingredient for making homemade bath and beauty products as well as natural home decor and cleaning products. It is safe, healthy, and effective - a great alternative to artificial products. In this book you'll find directions and recipes for making everything from itch soothing balms to furniture polish, candles, and fire starters. Many of these products will also make great homemade gifts!
To give you a taste heck out our recipe for Honey Almond Lotion Bars here, and our directions for making Beeswax Furniture Polish at Homestead How-To.
Build your Own Earth Oven by Kiko Denzer. One of our favorite additions to our homestead was our outdoor earth oven. Wood-fired meals are even more delicious when cooked outdoors with friends and family gathered around the oven. Kiko Denzer's book offers great historical and philosophical background on earth ovens as well as great instructions for building your own. In addition, there is an informative chapter on cooking your own bread in the oven, a great way to add another "make it at home" item to your list.
Check out our article on why we love our outdoor oven for more information!