Monday, September 13, 2010

Book Nook - Made From Scratch

Hi readers,

This week's Book Nook selection is Made From Scratch by Jenna Woginrich.  The author writes about her experiences living on a farm & trying her hand at homesteading.  She goes into detail about things like raising chickens, raising angora rabbits, how to use your dog as a working dog, making things by hand (clothes, food).  It seems like more people are interested in this sort of thing these days, which is great.  I know DH & I would love to try some of these things someday (although I'm still not sure about the beekeeping)!  And really, we have no excuse not to be doing it now, as Woginrich points out: no matter how much or how little space you have, you can always do something.

This book is a very enjoyable (and super-quick) read.  If you don't have backyard hens (for instance), but are curious what it's like to have them, then you'll enjoy reading it.  The author's tone is honest & light-hearted.  And since she touches on many different areas of self-sufficiency, it's hard not to be inspired to get out there and do something yourself.  I, for example, am now adding "make your own skirt with vintage fabric" to my to-do list, although I don't have a sewing machine & don't know anything about sewing!  I also liked that in addition to being inspired to do-it-yourself action, you will probably finish the book feeling that this sort of lifestyle, or even just dabbling in an area or two of homesteading, is a great thing for the environment.  This is certainly a theme throughout the book & the author does a great job weaving that theme in without hitting the reader over the head with it.

There is a section in the back of the book with some basic "homey" kind of recipes that sound very simple & yummy.  "Simple homemade pasta," "three hen quiche" & such.  I also liked the "Research, Son" section, where you can find recommendations on websites to visit, groups to check out & helpful books.  There are a few there that sparked my interest.

My only complaint is that the book is too short, if anything!  Seriously, you could read this in a day, no problem.  I couldn't help but wonder about her rented farm - how did she find it, how many acres is it, what's it like?  She doesn't really tell us much about that (maybe to retain some privacy) but I couldn't help but be curious about it.  I didn't know people could rent farms!  I think the book might have benefited by adding in more personal relationships as well.  The author talks a lot about her animals & her work at the farm.....what does her family think about it?  Do they come & visit?  Does she feel removed from her co-workers or friends because of her lifestyle?  Also, stories about local characters or neighbors would have enriched the book.  There is a little bit of all the above in the book, but I couldn't help but want more!

Made From Scratch accomplishes what it sets out to do - the author shares her experiences at "discovering the pleasures of a handmade life" & gives the reader lots of ideas and inspiration on how they can do the same.  Even if you can only do something very small, say baking homemade bread instead of buying store bought, you are doing something good for the environment & something very self-satisfying at the same time. 

Good luck with your homesteading endeavors!

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