The Weekend Homesteader: A Twelve-Month Guide to Self-Sufficiency Info

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Reviews for The Weekend Homesteader: A Twelve-Month Guide to Self-Sufficiency:

2

Jun 02, 2013

I almost shut this book immediately after reading this in the Introduction: "To folks over the age of 50, I usually describe homesteading this way: "Remember the back-to-the-land movement of the 60s and 70s? Homesteading is the same thing. . . without the drugs and free love."

Okay, wow. Coz those of us over 50 don't know what homesteading is. Really? And please, check your history, Ms. Hess, because those of us who came of age in the late 70s totally missed out on the drugs and free love stuff I almost shut this book immediately after reading this in the Introduction: "To folks over the age of 50, I usually describe homesteading this way: "Remember the back-to-the-land movement of the 60s and 70s? Homesteading is the same thing. . . without the drugs and free love."

Okay, wow. Coz those of us over 50 don't know what homesteading is. Really? And please, check your history, Ms. Hess, because those of us who came of age in the late 70s totally missed out on the drugs and free love stuff anyway.

I plugged on. Despite the author's loss of credibility with me to this point, it looked like the book covered a lot of ground. (Excuse the pun.) Indeed, she did. There is a lot of information in this book. But it's wrapped in a lot of text and is harder to follow than other similar works. For example, instead of printing an easy-to-read tomato canning recipe, I was subjected to eight pages of narrative mixed with photos of a woman who appeared to be over 50, by the way, explaining how to can tomatoes. The recipe was in there somewhere. I think. Also, the credibility question came up again when the author offers advice on buying in bulk and says that she's read that "you might be able to buy bulk food very cheaply from Latter-day Saints" but she's not sure if you can or not if you aren't a church member.

This book could benefit from some more stringent editing/fact-checking. It has a lot of information to offer, but it is too full of the kind of distractions and leaves the kinds of questions one might expect from a down-home newsletter or novice blogger. ...more
5

Mar 06, 2013

I found this to be an excellent and thought provoking book even though I'm deeply unlikely to make practical use of any of the interesting advice. I am an urban dweller with a small amount of space to work with and an HOA that bans everything from garden sheds and dog houses to clothes lines. My gardening is mostly of the container variety and even if I could sneak a chicken coop or bee hive past my HOA my houseful of rescued PET rabbits is evidence enough that yes, I would be that person I found this to be an excellent and thought provoking book even though I'm deeply unlikely to make practical use of any of the interesting advice. I am an urban dweller with a small amount of space to work with and an HOA that bans everything from garden sheds and dog houses to clothes lines. My gardening is mostly of the container variety and even if I could sneak a chicken coop or bee hive past my HOA my houseful of rescued PET rabbits is evidence enough that yes, I would be that person running a retirement home for old hens. Still, this book pleasantly combines the author's personal journey into homesteading with practical projects that I can appreciate and enjoy learning about, such as seeding mushroom logs, even when those projects exceed my bandwidth. And hey, I'm inspired to finally put in those rain barrels I've wanted for the last decade! More than anything else I appreciated the thoughtful exercises on being present in your world, knowing yourself (don't grow lettuce if what you really love are beets, even if beets are "harder") and making decisions from that place. That's good advice no matter how small or urban your homestead! ...more
4

Mar 04, 2013

Most homesteader books make me feel overwhelmed and frustrated. This one is nice because is goes by month, throughout the year with tasks, rated by difficulty. Some are easy, some hard but I feel I'm able to pick a choose, make mistakes and chug along as I please. For example, a garden has always seemed so overwhelming and too much work, however Anna gives you an easy no fuss way to convert a simple strip into a garden YOU can manage.
5

Mar 01, 2014

Really enjoyed this book. Great tone, and the projects were nearly all things I am either trying to do, or at least thinking about doing. Her section on growing mushrooms made me realize I absolutely need to add that one to the list!
0

Aug 29, 2012

I'm not going to rate my own book, but I just got my hands on a real, physical copy, and I'm very impressed by how beautifully the layout turned out! I hope the rest of you enjoy it as much as I do. :-)
0

Jul 07, 2013

"A good year-round read. Its got it all: Recipes, food, herbs, gardens and more. If you want to learn to be more self-sufficient, this would be a great guide." Ukiah Staff Recommended "A good year-round read. It’s got it all: Recipes, food, herbs, gardens and more. If you want to learn to be more self-sufficient, this would be a great guide." – Ukiah Staff Recommended ...more
0

The book is nominally set up to cover seasonal tasks, with 12 chapters named for the months of the year. But I found the topics idiosyncratic, reminding me of the old Foxfire books. With four topics ...Full Review
3

Apr 24, 2013

Good garden tips, but a little preachy at times about the author's life philosophy - she thinks we'd all be happier if we'd just quit our jobs and live off the land, apparently. I don't want to quit my job and live off the land, I just want to garden in my spare time, and specifically I want to grow as many of my own veggies as I can, but without the garden taking over my whole life. She does have some good tips for how to get a varied garden out of a small space, and I like how she has garden Good garden tips, but a little preachy at times about the author's life philosophy - she thinks we'd all be happier if we'd just quit our jobs and live off the land, apparently. I don't want to quit my job and live off the land, I just want to garden in my spare time, and specifically I want to grow as many of my own veggies as I can, but without the garden taking over my whole life. She does have some good tips for how to get a varied garden out of a small space, and I like how she has garden tasks organized by what month they are best suited for. ...more
3

Dec 24, 2012

3.5 stars.
After reading a dozen suburban homesteading books, it was refreshing to find something a bit different. This book's chapters are organized according to the months of the year and offer homesteading projects specific to certain times of the year. Four projects for each month- in essence creating a weekly homesteading project. These projects included some I had never heard of before ("planting" and harvesting mushroom logs, for example.) However, each activity is something homesteaders 3.5 stars.
After reading a dozen suburban homesteading books, it was refreshing to find something a bit different. This book's chapters are organized according to the months of the year and offer homesteading projects specific to certain times of the year. Four projects for each month- in essence creating a weekly homesteading project. These projects included some I had never heard of before ("planting" and harvesting mushroom logs, for example.) However, each activity is something homesteaders everywhere could do- whether they lived in an apartment or on a couple of acres. Nice pictures and good instructions made this book a winner. ...more
3

Feb 27, 2013

3.5 stars. For a certain group of us, all these new homemade everything / urban homesteading books are a lot like reading Martha Stewart Living or Vogue is to other people. Aspirational, daydreamy, doable and yet...never really *done*. No chicken coops in our backyard any time soon.

The Weekend Homesteader is one of my favorites in the genre, and perhaps the most practical, because it wasn't designed to showcase the author's personality or make you jealous of her life. Mostly, it just has 3.5 stars. For a certain group of us, all these new homemade everything / urban homesteading books are a lot like reading Martha Stewart Living or Vogue is to other people. Aspirational, daydreamy, doable and yet...never really *done*. No chicken coops in our backyard any time soon.

The Weekend Homesteader is one of my favorites in the genre, and perhaps the most practical, because it wasn't designed to showcase the author's personality or make you jealous of her life. Mostly, it just has projects you can do, a little at a time with advice from someone who walks the talk. It's divided into months, with several topics in each month (seed saving, canning, starting a worm bin or rain barrel.) Some of her tips for frugal living fall outside my comfort zone, but I would recommend buying this to someone really looking for a change in lifestyle. ...more
2

Nov 08, 2013

Really the biggest problem with this book for me is that I'm not at the point where most of its exercises assume you start: already in possession of a house with at least a little bit of land.(The blurb claims "these projects will be right up your alley, whether you live on a forty-acre farm, a postage-stamp lawn in suburbia, or a high rise," but you miss out on 80-90% of them by not having at least the postage stamp.) The exercises I *can* do as an apartment dweller I'm mostly already doing. Really the biggest problem with this book for me is that I'm not at the point where most of its exercises assume you start: already in possession of a house with at least a little bit of land.(The blurb claims "these projects will be right up your alley, whether you live on a forty-acre farm, a postage-stamp lawn in suburbia, or a high rise," but you miss out on 80-90% of them by not having at least the postage stamp.) The exercises I *can* do as an apartment dweller I'm mostly already doing. Maybe in a few years I'll be in a (literal) place where this could help me more, but right now it's not giving me much.

(A format-specific note: the conversion from paper to ebook was clearly automated and not done with much specific attention to the format's needs; there isn't a linked ToC but there is still an index at the back with page numbers. On black-and-white ereaders, one also loses some information in the graphics, which use color to denote zones, etc.) ...more
5

Apr 17, 2015


This book is so neatly laid out. There's one project for each week of the year, the project following a few pages of good basic education in the topic. None of the projects commit you to anything ongoing that will take up more time than a person with a 40-hr workweek has to give. Color illustrations complement the enthusiastic but realistic tone and help make each project more real. As a homeschooler, my first thought was that this would make a perfect "spine" or organizing title around which
This book is so neatly laid out. There's one project for each week of the year, the project following a few pages of good basic education in the topic. None of the projects commit you to anything ongoing that will take up more time than a person with a 40-hr workweek has to give. Color illustrations complement the enthusiastic but realistic tone and help make each project more real. As a homeschooler, my first thought was that this would make a perfect "spine" or organizing title around which to build a year's curriculum plan, but I also find that it is the book on "big backyard ideas" that I am picking up to read and re-read most frequently as we prep to move, enjoying the author's love of her big backyard. I got this from the library but it's going on my to-own shelf.

The title, though, is a little wrong. Although it is a twelve-month guide (with backwardsing tips throughout for those down under), I'm not sure you'd be self-sufficient at the end. But you'd definitely have some serious food security. Pick up this one if you are just interesting in being more DIY than you are now. ...more
4

Jan 09, 2015

I got this book in the mail yesterday and breezed through it. I love that the book is broken down into monthly projects - this is the sort of book that makes e homesteading/self-sufficiency seem achievable even for those of us living in suburbia. My husband and I bought our house with the expectation that we would eventually take over the lawns with gardens - this is a sloooow process, but "Weekend Homesteader" definitely shows that it is doable. I love the practical advice and demos - my I got this book in the mail yesterday and breezed through it. I love that the book is broken down into monthly projects - this is the sort of book that makes e homesteading/self-sufficiency seem achievable even for those of us living in suburbia. My husband and I bought our house with the expectation that we would eventually take over the lawns with gardens - this is a sloooow process, but "Weekend Homesteader" definitely shows that it is doable. I love the practical advice and demos - my favorite is the rain barrel project - and her money saving tips. The only things that keep me from giving this book 5 stars are the following:
1. she kind of makes canning seem like a crazy, botulism-ridden task. I grew up in a family that canned everything, including meat and low-acid veg. None of us got sick from the products, nor did any of my neighbors, and Hess admits that botulism is super rare - more likely to come from a restaurant or store than your own canned goods. If you follow the instructions in the Ball canning book (FDA approved methods) you won't have a problem. Seriously. Also, the likelihood of an exploding pressure canner is pretty rare. Just check your equipment before using it and if you are really worried, set up a single burner outside, just in case.
2. A few people in the Amazon reviews mentioned that the monthly schedule seems set up for people who live in year-round warm climates. The author lives in Appalachian Virginia, an area where I lived for 4 years, and yes, it doesn't freeze as early or as hard as other parts of the country, they get a ton of rain and you can grow just about anything with ease. It would have been nice if she'd included a few caveats for people live in practically any other region of the U.S. However, I live in high desert climate, where we get very hot, dry summers and cold, dry winters. From May to November we get about 5" of rain. I know better than to expect that one book is going to work for my climate as well as other, more common climates, so I've learned to adjust. With this book I'm just adding about a month to either end of Hess' winter - instead of planting trees in early December, we plant them in early November. The same with the February planting - shift it to march or April (though, to be honest, planting in February in VA is still pretty risky - it's when the winter storms are the worst).
3. This is nit-picky, but in the section on manure she doesn't mention sheep or goat manure. If you are in a suburban/urban area like me, goats are far more common than cows or horses (often due to city livestock restrictions). Both animals produce a really great manure for planting, once it's no longer "hot." I am lucky enough to have a friend who raises goats and has enough manure to supply several public gardens plus my own!

Despite the problems, the vast majority of the book is full of great advice and doable projects. I'm definitely going to try the car dehydration technique for the free plums we get, and I know my husband will end up trying some of the compost bin designs out. We may even try growing mushrooms this year!

...more
5

Jul 09, 2019

Great for newbies

Great for newbies or armchair homestead dreamers. Good reference book and nice gift for someone who wants to homestead in the future.
5

Nov 01, 2017

I thought this was a great, practical, and INSPIRING guide to starting homesteading, with very realistic projects and goals. I will be utilizing it the next time we have a yard.
3

Jun 29, 2019

I am an avid gardener, day in and day out give me sunshine and flowers, this book reminds me of the sixties, I am afraid homesteading and "gardening" are just not meshing well for me, I am into the pretty, I do all the same hard work, but aesthetically this book could not be more divergent.
3

Jul 31, 2017

Clearly written book. You can skip to the right month so you can actually do something right now. I decided thanks to this book, that none of this is for me, but that I will try to plant and grow a few herbs in a pot instead.
4

Aug 31, 2019

organising garden/farm/kitchen tasks by time of year instead of by subject is a great idea. i also liked that projects had clear time and cost estimates to help you pick which one to tackle on a weekend. hess divides big projects (like starting a chicken flock) into weekend-sized chunks over a few months to help make them achievable. timing is everything in the garden and i need to keep consulting this book across the months!
4

Jan 07, 2020

So I was just thinking the other day that there was a book I had read, or started, that was divided into months and had to do with gardening and the like... and this was it!
For a newbie like me, it was a great read and I took notes the whole time. ???? Now I just have to put those notes into practice.... ????
4

Jul 09, 2017

This is another book I test drove from the library and I'll be buying this one. Realistically, the "one year" plan is more like a decade long plan for me, with plenty of these things on my hard no list. But it has a lot of "next step" things I'm interested in to increase my gardening and make use of my space. I'm going to get this in ebook, though, because the print book was really difficult for me to read (font choice, font size, glossy pages).
5

May 18, 2018

Great book for beginners

Having researched the subject extensively and begun to wet my feet with homesteading endeavors, I can honestly say this is one of the best newbie guides I've read. The calendar format Hess chose is perfect for making season appropriate suggestions for projects so the tasks don't feel like an overwhelming list. Love the detailed information on composting and soil science; definitely whet my appetite for reading further.
3

Jun 04, 2018

Recommended for: men and women that are interested in making their livelihood from home.
Remarks: despite the title, this book is not for people with full-time jobs that are interested in making their families slightly more self-sufficient. This book involves full-blown husbandry from growing fields of vegetables to raising livestock (things you can't do merely on your weekends off). On the other hand, I would recommend this book for stay-at-home moms and families that need a secondary income but Recommended for: men and women that are interested in making their livelihood from home.
Remarks: despite the title, this book is not for people with full-time jobs that are interested in making their families slightly more self-sufficient. This book involves full-blown husbandry from growing fields of vegetables to raising livestock (things you can't do merely on your weekends off). On the other hand, I would recommend this book for stay-at-home moms and families that need a secondary income but want to stay home with their children. ...more
3

May 08, 2019

I enjoyed the format and found lots of good information for a beginner homesteader. Honestly, the ebook format isn't great (that's not the author's fault, of course!); tables (super-helpful!) are hard to see, and sidebars are formatted strangely, at least with the Kindle edition.

There's a good deal here that I already knew, being someone who devours books on homesteading and dreams of moving from my .3 acres to something larger. However, there were the occasional new parts - vermicomposting! - I enjoyed the format and found lots of good information for a beginner homesteader. Honestly, the ebook format isn't great (that's not the author's fault, of course!); tables (super-helpful!) are hard to see, and sidebars are formatted strangely, at least with the Kindle edition.

There's a good deal here that I already knew, being someone who devours books on homesteading and dreams of moving from my .3 acres to something larger. However, there were the occasional new parts - vermicomposting! - that I found fascinating. I don't think I'd buy this one, as I have homesteading books in my personal collection that I enjoy tremendously, but if I didn't have those books I'd probably add this one to my shelves. ...more
2

Feb 07, 2017

Most homesteading books will gather the complaint that they aren't detailed enough due to the number of concepts they try to tackle. While that usually is true, most homesteading books are equally guilty here. The Weekend Homesteader breaks things up into very small sections and seems much less focused then other homesteading books. This book seems to cover more topics and in less detail. Additionally, while some of the material in other books seems not too useful to me (animal husbandry and Most homesteading books will gather the complaint that they aren't detailed enough due to the number of concepts they try to tackle. While that usually is true, most homesteading books are equally guilty here. The Weekend Homesteader breaks things up into very small sections and seems much less focused then other homesteading books. This book seems to cover more topics and in less detail. Additionally, while some of the material in other books seems not too useful to me (animal husbandry and soap/candle/cheesemaking are less important to me than gardening) I can usually concede its usefulness to others. This book sometimes includes topics so basic (like making soup) that makes me question who the audience is for. I would assume most people will know how to make soup before they make the leap to self-sufficiency. ...more
4

Mar 16, 2018

I picked up this book from the local library looking for some helpful tips that I could implement in my own suburban homestead. I certainly did pick up some useful tips, and I implemented a few of the techniques she used, particularly the kill mulch. She breaks down the possible tasks on a month by month basis, so it can be a useful book to have on your shelf for a longer duration than a library loan. For me, the book's content ranged from "yeah, done this a gazillion times" to "wow, that sounds I picked up this book from the local library looking for some helpful tips that I could implement in my own suburban homestead. I certainly did pick up some useful tips, and I implemented a few of the techniques she used, particularly the kill mulch. She breaks down the possible tasks on a month by month basis, so it can be a useful book to have on your shelf for a longer duration than a library loan. For me, the book's content ranged from "yeah, done this a gazillion times" to "wow, that sounds great/difficult; I'd love to try that!" There's something for most levels of homesteaders in the book, even if I found myself skimming sections on how to cook a chicken and how to use a water-bath canner. At the same time, I must confess, I still find the idea of testing my soil's acidity level entirely more unnerving than I'd like to admit even if I think I could manage it following her instructions. The book is clear and concise, and I enjoyed her tone and writing style. ...more

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