Good Reading for Homesteading Types: Paper Edition

Over the past few years, I’ve come across a few print resources that provide some indispensable information for homesteading, DIY living, or being self-sufficient in any setting. These are similar to blogs, but made out of paper.

  • A subscription to Mother Earth News is money well spent. There are always insightful tips on gardening, living off the grid, and sound advice for those seeking those kinds of lifestyles. My favorite article I’ve seen in there recently was an essay by a homesteader sharing what he’s learned over the past few years that he wished he’d have known at the beginning. What could be better?
  • If one of your favorite possessions requires bullets, Backwoods Home is a great read. It’s like a grittier version of Mother Earth News, with lots of tips on living sustainably and independently, and they throw in a dash of Gadsden Flag-style libertarianism to round things out.
  • Dwelling Portably is a legendary zine that’s been coming out for decades. It’s essentially an analog message board where people write in that live off the grid or nomadic lifestyles and share tips and tricks that they’ve learned. It’s a delightful read for people of any background, but especially useful for earthy, self-reliant types.
  • Back in the 70’s when simple living was really big, Possum Living was written by a teenager living in the country. Her wit and knowledge always bring a smile to my face. She has tons of great ideas on living frugally and independently. It used to be available for free online, but the link is dead. Write, and I’ll send you a copy of the file.
  • Country Wisdom and Know-How is an oversized soft-cover book a-la Whole Earth Catalog for rednecks. It’s full of canning recipes, designs for chicken coops, tips on wood stoves, tool sharpening, or anything else you could possibly want to know.
  • Foxfire Books are the coolest anthropology books I’ve ever read. A few back-to-the-land enthusiasts in the 70’s wrote articles for Foxfire Magazine. They were compiled into the Foxfire Books. There are currently 12 of them, all very worthwhile. They docuement the nearly-lost wisdom of Appalachian Mountain people. You can learn anything from how to build a gourd banjo, hog dressing, tanning hides, to making shoes from scratch. They include the unique human elements of mountain culture which make these books a very fascinating read.
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