Saturday, February 13, 2016

Favorite Books of 2015 #1 - The Nourishing Homestead

The Nourishing Homestead: One Back-to-the-Land Family's Plan for Cultivating Soil, Skills, and Spirit by Ben Hewitt
(click the link above to buy it on Amazon)

I love this book. It has everything I love to read in a homesteading book, all rolled into one: stories, recipes, how-to, and inspiration, all in an easy-to-read conversational style from someone who's living the life he's describing. It's not all sunshine and rainbows - he freely discusses the trials inherent in farm life, the struggles they've faced, and mistakes they've made. It's a practical and philosophical discussion of their life building a homestead.

One of the main themes throughout the book is his idea of economics - not necessarily how much fiduciary capital you can accumulate (although he's not against money), but how much joy, fulfillment, and purpose you gain or give up in exchange for the time and effort you expend. Working 40 hour weeks in an office might earn you a bigger paycheck, but is that worth the loss to your physical health and relationships? Not to mention the satisfaction of seeing your efforts result directly in producing the things your family needs (like food, shelter, clothing, etc.)

I really appreciate that, like me, one of their family's main reasons for pursuing the homestead life is a recognition that home-grown food, with a focus on soil and animal health, is crucial to promoting your family's health. There are many reasons for homesteading (some more reasonable than others), but this is one that really resonates with me.

In pursuit of their goal of healthier food for their family, they focus on both gardening and animal husbandry (devoting a chapter to each, plus a chapter on animal slaughter and processing). The fourth chapter in particular details their research and reasons for farming and cooking as they do. But the book (and the lifestyle) are about much more than food, as chapter 9, Money and "Stuff", describes. The final chapter, Children on the Homestead, particularly struck a chord with me, since we also homeschool and try to involve our kids into our daily homesteading tasks. Although I don't completely agree with all of their choices (we don't "unschool", and we make sure our Christian worldview is integrated into all of our studies), I do agree with much of their philosophy.

This is one book that I knew I'd have to buy as soon as I started reading - the sheet of paper I was using as a bookmark was completely covered in book recommendations, garden tips, project ideas, and recipes before I was even halfway through reading! It was definitely worth purchasing a copy rather than trying to write down (and then not lose . . .) all of those great ideas. I have a feeling this will be a book I come back to often as our family works on cultivating soil, skills, and spirit on our homestead.

Note: I was not payed to review this book, I just really love it! But if you click on the link above and buy the book at amazon.com, I will receive a small commission from the sale. Thank you for your support!

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