Our Top 5 Homesteading Books - 2019

November 7, 2019

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I'm a book lover.  Though I don't always have a ton of time to read for fun, I love collecting books that will help me with our homesteading life.  Whether it's a new gardening book, a deep-dive into a project I'm trying out, or a reflective read on the self-sufficient life we desire, I'm always eyeing new books to add to my library.


Each year, I take a moment to reflect back on some of the books I've really enjoyed.  They don't have to be NEW this year (though some of them are), they just have to be new-to-us or especially loved by us this year.  


Check out our 2018 list of favorite homesteading books here.


I also love publishing this list around this time because many of these books would make great Christmas presents for homesteaders or others in your life who would enjoy the topic.  


Without further ado, here are the homesteading-related books that made it to the top of this year's list!



1. Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway


Gaia's Garden fits in the "new to me" category even though the second edition was published in almost 20 years ago (in 2000).  I honestly don't know if I have ever read a more useful book about gardening practices.  We have literally changed the way we do things all over our homestead because of this book.  Hemenway makes permaculture practices accessible to the every day gardener.  He describes how to make your gardening and landscaping practices work for you, while also working for mother nature and the environment around you.  And guess what, most of these suggestions will result in better harvests with less work.  How can that not be a win-win?  We shared what we learned in articles about sheet mulching and native/edible landscaping.


Read my review of Gaia's Garden over in my sister site, Homestead How-To.  



2. The Art of Frugal Hedonism by Annie Raser-Rowland with Adam Grubb


I read The Art of Frugal Hedonism last year, so maybe it's a bit of a cheat to put it on this year's list, but I honestly think that this book has continued to influence me to such a strong extent that it deserves to be on a timeless list.  Maybe it is the authors' friendly, down-to-earth approach to the topic of living frugally, or maybe its those moments when they wax philosophical.  Either way, the promise of living a happier life that you enjoy more, while spending less money, is one that I have really taken to heart.  For example, while I have always been a frugal shopper, thrifting has become a way of life for me this year.  Likewise, getting rid of "stuff" has been a persistent pursuit.  This book is full of ideas for living that "hedonistic" but frugal life, and I highly recommend it.


Read my review of The Art of Frugal Hedonism here.  



3. Fire Cider: 101 Zesty Recipes for Health-Boosting Remedies by Rosemary Gladstar and Friends


Fire Cider! is a brand new book that I was able to review thanks to my relationship with Storey Publishing.  It recounts the history of using apple cider vinegar for all sorts of health-related issues, and offers easy to follow recipes for doing it at home.  Built around the spirit that herbal remedies are meant to be shared and passed on through the ages, Gladstar and many other herbalists freely share their recipes and tips for everything from cold and flu to arthritis.   Every recipe centers around the magic ingredient - apple cider vinegar.  The book is beautifully visual, and makes a great addition to your library or a great gift!


Read my review of Fire Cider on our sister site, Homestead How-To.



4. The Pruning Book by Lee Reich


The Pruning Book (Completely Revised and Updated) is another book that we have had in our library for years.  Its a technical, how-to book, full of helpful tips on how to prune almost any plant you can think of.  The reason it makes it onto this year's list is that pruning was a theme for us this year.  We pruned back our elderberries to start new ones; did winter pruning on our apple trees, and finally tackled a huge grapevine.  Reich's illustrated directions proved invaluable to planning and ultimately accomplishing these tasks.  If you have a lot of fruit trees, flowering shrubs, or other plants that need pruning on your property, this book is a excellent resource you will use over and over again.



5. Off-Grid and Free: My Path to the Wilderness by Ron Melchiore


Ron Melchiore is a Mother Earth News blogger and a homesteader who has been living off-grid for decades.  In Off-Grid and Free he tells his story of becoming an off-gridder.  From his humble beginnings when he first found land, to the complex solutions he comes up with for off-grid challenges, Ron shares the good, the bad, and the hopeful of what it takes to live off-grid.  Even though we don't live even close to off-grid, I enjoyed this book because I could relate to Ron's values.  There also lessons to be learned for anyone who aspires a simpler lifestyle, even if you don't want to access your land by float-plane.  It doesn't hurt that Ron's voice is humorous and welcoming in a way that makes you feel like you're reading about a friend.


Read my review of Off-Grid and Free on our sister site, Homestead How-To.


Join the Homesteaders' Book Club!!!


If you enjoy reading books about homesteading-related topics, come join our virtual homesteaders' book club over on Facebook!  We read about 4 books a year and discuss them online, plus we have a giveaway for each book!  


See you in the library....






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