Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Book Review: The Urban Homestead

Keith was browsing through the bookstore the other day (always a dangerous financial situation!) and he picked up a copy of The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City. I've been reading it first and... wow! This is the perfect Bible for everything we're working towards here.

Yes, there's a chapter on gardening for homegrown food. There's some on foraging wild food. There's raising chickens, rabbits, and goats; there's worm composting (about which more shortly), there's canning information and everything you'd expect. Then they take it a step farther and include information on solar power, composting toilets, greywater recycling, and everything else you need to know for maximum self-sufficiency in the urban environment. Score!

So now that it looks freakishly like spring outside - sunny, fairly warm, with new green shoots coming up everywhere - we have the design for our front yard's edible landscaping and Keith's built the first raised beds in the back, with only a few more to build. We've got our seed catalogs and will be ordering soon so we can get started on the early veggies and the hot peppers. And now we're talking about building a solar oven for the backyard so that we can cook in the summer without heating up the house, and also save on our gas bill while we're at it. It'd be nice to have a brick oven out there too for wood-fired pizzas and breads! And eventually a greywater system and more rain collection barrels... ohh, so much to do.

Those of you who are interested in urban homesteading, I highly recommend this book. It's nice to find such a comprehensive guide in one place!

By the way, you may have noticed that when I mention books here on this blog, I link to them on Powells.com and not on Amazon or another major retailer. This is because Powell's Books is a business worth supporting! Located right here in Portland, they are the largest independent book retailer in the world and still provide excellent service at a great price. Their main location downtown occupies four stories of a full city block, and every employee is knowledgeable, friendly, and efficient. These people love books. So if you order books online, give them a try instead of Spamazon!

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