Half the battle in learning new skills and practices, is finding the right tools and information for the projects. Here’s a list of some of my go-to resources to help you get started:
Want to build your own chicken coop? Here’s some of the most popular chicken coop plans out there (with several plans to choose from).
Chicken Coops: 45 Plans for Housing Your Flock is a great resource for ideas in coop building. From the basic shelter to more fancy designs, this will surely get your juices flowing as you decide what kind of coop to build.
Raising Chickens for Dummies is a great all-purpose getting started with chickens handbook.
The Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker: A good, reliable pressure canner is needed if you want to can more seriously.
The Presto 7-Function Canning Kit (contains 6 separate parts) If you’re just getting started with canning, this is a good set of canning tools. I like them also, because they’re covered with silicone (stuff gets hot sometimes when you’re canning!)
A good enamel coated water bath canner is a must. I have one three like this (one I found for $5 at a yard sale!). This will hold 7 one-quart jars, 9 one-pint jars or 13 half-pint jars.
Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving is the Handbook Bible for all canning questions and guidelines.
Ball also puts out another great book, Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, which features over 400 recipes. Many of my go-to canning recipes are in this book.
Can it, Bottle it, Smoke it and other Kitchen Projects is a great resource for those store-bought staples you use that you might not have realized you make yourself (the book includes everything from making your own almond or soy milk to hot dogs and homemade cornflakes) and we all know homemade always tastes better, right?
Put ’em Up!: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook, from Drying and Freezing to Canning and Pickling This book contains wonderful recipes, illustrations and information.I especially like that it’s organized according to vegetable/fruit so you get all the different ways you can preserve carrots, for example, all in one section. I also love the graphic layout of this book. It’s my favorite to LOOK at.
Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry Over 200 recipes to make throughout all four seasons.With a twist. The book is filled with unusual, new recipes to try.
Things like Tomato and Basil Jam with Sherry Vinegar, Pickled Romano Beans with Indian Spices and Slow-Roasted Fig Preserves with Lemon. There’s also some traditional favorites and recipes for meals to use the exotic food you’ve just canned.
Local Harvest An interactive website where you can find the closest organic food available to you from local growers. Site includes everything from farms to stores to restaurants.
Year Round Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year No Matter Where You Live If Niki Jabbour can do it, in the frozen Canadian winters, we can too. Great ideas for growing your own food year-round from someone who is actually doing it.
Lasagna Gardening for Small Spaces: A Layering System for Big Results in Small Gardens and Containers (Rodale Organic Gardening Book) A low-effort, high-yield way to grow small gardens which involves NO TILLING!
Back to Eden (website with full-length free video streaming) Paul Gautschi discovered a unique way of gardening by paying attention to how it all naturally happens in nature. And has gotten amazing results. No tilling. No watering required. No raised beds. Just some compost and lots of wood chips. It’s very interesting to watch and will give you a unique perspective. (Scroll down a bit on the homepage to watch the full length movie for free.)
All New Square Foot Gardening This is written by Mel Bartholomew who is famous for making square foot gardening a household term. This book will give you everything you need to know to start your own raised beds the square foot gardening way.
Don’t Throw It, Grow It!: 68 Windowsill Plants from Kitchen Scraps This book is a goldmine of great ideas and information sure to spark your (and your children or grandchildren’s imagination). As I read through this book, I found myself constantly saying, “Wow! I didn’t know you could grow that!” Also a great educational tool.
Victory Garden A great vintage film (only 4 minutes long) produced by the Ministry of Agriculture in 1941 to promote and educate on the how-to’s of starting a victory garden.
Country Wisdom and Know-How is a simple book filled with all sorts of helpful, practical, time-worn advice for pretty much anything you can think of related to country living (and even some topics that are for general living). Think of sitting down with a bunch of old-timers that have been doing this kind of thing for their whole lives and being able to pick their brains. That’s pretty much what this book is like.
The Backyard Goat, An Introductory Guide One of the best books around on getting started with goats.
CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories This substantial coffee table book sheds light on the horrors of the big ‘farm’ industry in the USA
with lots of full spread graphic images as well as a volumeof much needed information to help American consumers become more informed.