The Backyard Homestead – Edited by Carleen Madigan

I was lured back to Crafters’ Choice Book Club and picked out some books…mainly quilting, but one was The Backyard Homestead, 2009, Storey Publishing.

Here is a LINK to a youtube video with Carleen. Love the guy’s comment after making bread and butter.

I really love this book…it has all of the information in one spot! I have lots of different books on the subjects but this one has ‘How Much Food Can You Produce?’ for a Homestead on 1/10 of an acre, 1/4 of an acre, or 1/2 an acre. With guides on Vegetables, Fruits & Nuts, Herbs, Grains, Poultry, Meat or Dairy Animals, and Wild Foods. The book is loaded with recipes throughout!

The planting section is wonderful and very easy to read. Great growing guides; seed starting; cold & hot frames; saving seeds; harvesting; preserving; even an intro on canning.

I really like the Fruit section. I have five blueberry bushes that I was wondering about pruning and there is an excellent how-to with great illustrations on how to prune your blueberry bush. We just moved to a 1/3 acre on there is a peach and plum tree on the property…good section on fruit trees.

Love the Herb chapter! There is even a Flu/Cold planting guide with a recipe for an herbal broth. How to make Herbal Vinegars, Teas, and how to cook with them.

Grains…”Depending on how much bread and pasta you eat, you may not have enough land to grow al lthe wheat needed to feed your family. But that doesn’t mean you couldn’t start with a ‘pancake patch’. Or maybe enough corn to eat during the summer AND make popcorn for the family movie night through the winter. Once you’ve got your pancake patch established, why not try your hand at growing and malting barley for making your own homebrew?” She walks you through planting, harvesting, threshing, winnowing, storing, and grinding. There is a section on cooking with grains ~ cornmeal, bread, pastas. Making your own beer.

Poultry for Eggs and Meat…that is what I want to do…the egg part at least. Still a bit squimish on the meat part. She has guides on Egg and Meat breeds, with dual-purpose breeds too. Egg production, life of the layer, bleaching sequence, replacement pullets, collecting and storing eggs, determining freshness, and cooking with. If’n you’re into the meat part…how to butcher. Directions to making a simple chicken coop. Also a section on raising Turkeys, Ducks, Geese. Duck eggs, I found out, are much richer than chicken eggs…I got sick on them when in high school, so I’m staying away from duckers. And Geese?! They’re just plain mean. I still rub my arse just thinking about them.

Since I’m on a 1/3 of an acre…I’m going to stay away from the larger farm critters. But there is a section on raising goats, sheep and cattle for meat and milk; piggies…which are my absolute favorite farm critter. I raised them in 4-H while in high school. Just love those Durocs! How to raise rabbits. And a guide to processing and preserving your meats. Smoking, making jerkey, making sausage.

There’s a section on making cheese…hard, soft, and cottage. How to make yogurt. Making butter. Ice cream.

The last chapter is on Food from the Wild….how to ‘forge from vacant lots and other wasted spaces.’ How to get permission to forage on other’s property, find a guide on local wild edibles, tools, harvesting.

There’s a section on beekeeping. That is something I would like to do too. I’d like to have one or two hives. How to get started, how to maintain the hive, harvesting the honey. And if you’re in the right climate for sugar maples…making maple syrup!

Eight pages of resources. USDA Hardiness Zone Map. Keeping Chickens: Selected City Municipal Codes (Reno…no prohibition or restrictions on keeping chickens in the city).

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