First of all, this book is not what I consider an encyclopedia. It does contain an index and brief glossary, but it is organized into chapters, individual sections, categories, and subcategories, rather than an alphabetical series of topics. Considering the wealth of information the author tried to cover, I understand why it was organized in this manner, but it does not necessarily make the book more convenient. A very well-designed and inclusive index would have nullified this problem, but the index is not quite adequate.
Each chapter is denoted with a broad header (i.e., "The Basics") and then broken down into broad topics, each given an individual title (i.e., "Modern Convenience and Electricity"), but at that point the topics are further broken down into categories and subcategories using a question and answer format. I would much have preferred simple titles for each topic and subtopic, which would have made skimming a section much easier. Use of the index could...
I just received this book yesterday aftering waiting for a couple of months for it to come from the publishers. Worth the wait! At first glance what you will notice is how beautiful it is, with hundreds of full color photos throughout, and wonderdul hand drawn illustrations. When you turn to the table of contents you will find seven chapters:
1. What is Homesteading? (history, intentional community, equipment needed, food storage, evaluating and buying your land, designing your homestead, cycles of work, and chemicals & toxins)
2. The Basics (math & money, tractors & trucks, auto maintenance, water, waste, primitive heat & light, modern convenience & electricity)
3. Building Shelter for Man & Animal (temporary & nomadic shelter, construction skills & making lumber, builing a house from available materials, building a safe barn & fence)
4. Horses and Other Animals (animal basics & health, buthering & animal burial, draft horse care, horse...
I love this book and wish I'd had it 30 years ago when I began trying to learn all this stuff! If you are considering homesteading, wondering how to create community, or just want to reduce your impact in the world, you will find this book very helpful. It will not make you an expert on any subject. It will give you an idea of what you can do, and what you need to do, and what you will need to learn to make your dreams happen. These days the internet can help you access any information you need, but what information do you need? This book will help you. How much food do you need to put away for a year per person? How can you preserve your own food? How do you take care of chickens, geese, rabbits, goats, sheep, cows, or horses? How to sew, knit. How to homeschool. Basic first aid. basic health care. first aid supplies. work with wood, work with iron. etc., etc., etc. This is your starting point, where you take it is up to you.
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