Homesteading Books

Quail Days

I will only list books I like and  recommend!  This is a new feature so not all the categories are set up.  Or, populated.  Within categories, I am alphabetizing by title.  I will provide notes, but not all books currently have them (this is a new project) and I may change things around as this grows.  There is still a LOT of work to be done on this page, but it is workable enough to be posted!  

Outright cookbooks are in a different place but you will find fermentation, canning, and dehydrating items here instead of there.  Foraging will probably be both here and as well at the Cookbook link.  

Homesteading – Overview,  General Home Needs, DIY, and Miscellaneous Info

  • Codes for Homeowners: Electrical – Mechanical – Plumbing – Building – Current with 2015-2017 Codes.  Black and Decker.  This was the copy I checked through when I built my home – PLEASE find out and obtain the most recent edition if you are building or renovating now.  
  • Foxfire 2.  Ghost stories, spring wild plant foods, spinning and weaving, midwifing, burial customs, corn shuckin’s, wagon making, and more affairs of plain living.  Ed: Eliot Wigginton.  
  • Foxfire 3. Ed: Eliot Wigginton.  
  • Foxfire 11. Ed:: Eliot Wigginton.  I plan to get the entire series over time.  “With this … series comes a wealth of the kind of folk wisdom and values of simple living that have made these volumes beloved bestsellers for the last three decades.”  Appalachian how-to and folk knowledge.  
  • How to Be Your Own General Contractor.  Robert E. Emmick.  NO, I was NOT my own GC in the construction of my house!  But it was a great guide to follow along with what my actual GC was doing, and to at least sound reasonably knowledgeable when talking with him!  (Unless you already know a bunch of the trades, don’t do this for a house build!!!  You’ll also need to be on-site with any subs you hire out OFTEN, which is difficult if you are still working a full time plus job two hours away.  Plus subs are more reluctant to sign in and put their all in a job if what you are doing is a one-off!)  
  • Independent Builder: Designing & Building a House Your Own Way, 2nd Edition,  Sam Clark.
  • A Landowner’s Guide to Managing Your Woods.  Hansen, Severson, Waterman.  
  • Not So Big House.  Sarah Susanka.  Keeping your build in perspective.  
  • The Self-Reliant Homestead: A Book of Country Skills.  Charles A. Sanders.
  • The Solar House: Passive Solar Heating and Cooling.  Daniel D. Chiras.
  • Step by Step:  Projects for Self-Sufficiency.  A variety of ideas.  
  • Storey’s Basic Country Skills: A Practical Guide to Self-Reliance.  John M. Storey.
  • The Woodland Homestead:  How To Make Your Land More Productive and Live More-Self-Sufficiently in the Woods.  Brett McLeod. 
  • Working with Tile.  Jim Barrett.


Setting Up:/ Infrastructure:

    • Fences for Pasture Garden.  Barbara Damerow.
    • How to Build Animal Housing.  Carol Ekarius.
    • The Small Farm Guide to Working with Animals: How to Handle Livestock Safely and Humanely.   Temple Grandin.


    • The Chicken Health Handbook: A Complete Guide to Maximizing Flock Health and Dealing with Disease.  Gail Damerow.
    • How to Speak Chicken: Why Your Chickens Do What They Do & Say What They Say.  Melissa Caughey.  
    • Pastured Poultry Products.  Joel Salatin.
    • The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers.  Harvey Ussery.
    • Storey’s Guide to Raising Poultry: Breeds, Care, Health.  Leonard S. Mercia
    • Success with Hens.  Robert Joos. 
    • Urban Quail Keeping.  Karen J. Puddephatt.


    • A potential down the road.  Maybe.  Or not.  

Goats and Sheep:  

    • The Angora Goat:  its History, Management and Diseases.  Stephanie Mitcham.
    • How to Garden for Goats.  Leigh Tate.  
    • How to Raise Goats.  Carol Amundson.


    • A probable down the road. 

Piggies and Hogs:  

    • A potential down the road (feeder pigs, only).  Maybe.  Or not.

Large Livestock: 

    • Buffalo for the Broken Heart: Restoring Life to a Black Hills Ranch, Dan O’Brien.
    • No interest in raising them, but it doesn’t hurt to learn about cattle or bison.  

Gardens and Yards, Foraging and Grass-Farming:  (Note, I am in Zone 5, and many of my choices reflect this relative zone.)  

  • Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.  Louise Riotte
  • Farming on the Wild Side: The Evolution of a Regenerative Organic Farm and Nursery.  Nancy J. Hayden.  
  • Field Guide to Urban Gardening:How to Grow Plants, No Matter Where You Live: Raised Beds • Vertical Gardening • Indoor Edibles • Balconies and Rooftops • Hydroponics.  Kevin Espiritu.  Even if you are on a large rural space, helpful information so you aren’t wandering all over here and gone, gardening.  
  • The Forager’s Harvest:  A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants.  Samuel Thayer.  An excellent handbook with many useful photos for ID.  
  • Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.  Eliot Coleman.  A MUST HAVE.  
  • The Garden Primer.  Barbara Damerow.  A MUST HAVE.
  • Growing Citrus: The Essential Gardener’s Guide.  Martin Page
  • The Massachusetts Gardener’s Companion: An Insider’s Guide to Gardening from the Berkshires to the Islands.  Barbara Gee.  This one was a useful gift given to me upon retirement, thank you Steve. W.  
  • Mycelium Running:  How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World, Paul Stamets.  The essential role of fungi and mushrooms in our ecosystem. 
  • The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times.  Carol Deppe.  
  • Simple Organic Kitchen & Garden: A Complete Guide to Growing and Cooking Perfect Natural Produce, with Over 150 Step-By-Step Recipes.  Ysanne Spevack.
  • Start with the Soil.  Grace Gershuny.
  • The Winter Harvest Handbook: Four Season Vegetable Production Using Deep-Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses.  Eliot Coleman.  A SERIOUS MUST-HAVE BOOK for anyone wanting to grow in temperate, four-season zones.  .  

Syrup – 

  • How to Make Maple Syrup: From Gathering Sap to Marketing Your Own Syrup,  Steve Anderson.

Preserving – 

  • The Beginner’s Guide to Preserving Food at Home: Easy Techniques for the Freshest Flavors in Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Relishes, Salsas, Sauces, and Frozen and Dried Fruits and Vegetables.  Janet Chadwick.
  • Fermented: A Four Season Approach to Paleo Probiotic Foods.  Jill Ciciarelli.  
  • Home Canning and Freezing.  Jacqueline Heriteau.
  • Keeping the Harvest:  Home Storage of Vegetables and Fruits. Nancy Thurber & Gretchen Mead.  
  • The New Seed-Starters Handbook.  Nancy Bubel.  
  • Real Food Fermentation:  Preserving Whole Fresh Food with Live Cultures in Your Home Kitchen.  Alex Lewin.
  • Wild Fermentation:  The Flavors, Nutrition and Craft of Live Culture Foods.  Sandor Ellix Katz.  

The Wild – 

  • Bark: A Field Guide to Trees of the Northeast.  Michael Wojtech.  
  • Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to Reading the Forested Landscape.  Tom Wessels.
  • Hammond’s Nature Atlas of America
  • The New Larousse Encyclopedia of Animal Life. Ed: Maurice Burton.  

The Tame – 

Livestock Guardian Animals: 





We don’t know yet what will be posted here..

Test area for this blog…

We shall see, test test test.

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More sest test test.