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The Encyclopedia of Country Living: An Old Fashioned Recipe Book
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The Encyclopedia of Country Living: An Old Fashioned Recipe Book

4.41  ·  Rating Details ·  2,389 Ratings  ·  123 Reviews
Initially self-published 20 years ago, The Encyclopedia of Country Living has become the trusted guidebook to sustainable, self-sufficient living. Filled with memorable anecdotes, crucial advice, and a generous helping of good humor, this compendium provides detailed information about food production — growing, processing, cooking, and preserving — together with hundreds o ...more
Paperback, Revised Ninth Edition, 864 pages
Published March 6th 2003 by Sasquatch Books (first published 1977)
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May 21, 2013 Tania rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-stars
This book is THE SHIT! Everything you may want to know about country living - from buying land, learning about farming and running your own business from your little acreage.
Good listings for those living in the US, as this is very much an American book.
Makes me want to go to the US and do some serious homesteading while living on an organic, vegetarian diet.
Nov 20, 2008 PJ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Got this one along with a couple of other "basic skills bibles", and so far I'm impressed with the breadth and depth of its coverage. Been reading about corn lately, all kinds of stuff about it. A good one for the commode, to have handy and just open randomly to any page.
Jenn Pellerin
Feb 21, 2008 Jenn Pellerin rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: back-to-the-landers and daydreamy city folks
We keep this book up at the cabin. I like to sit by the fire and read about shearing sheep and slaughtering pigs (sorry, my veggie friends).
Contained in these pages is just about everything you need to know to live off the grid or on it, if you prefer. It covers finding and purchasing land, building houses and barns, buying, raising, and breeding all sorts of animals, hunting, foraging, slaughtering livestock, shearing sheep, growing fruits and vegetables, canning, and more and more and more. S
Jason Caldwell
This book is an excellent resource. I can't put it down. It is not a book you would read from cover to cover as there are many sections that are specifically for reference. It is full of 1000s of reciptes and references including many websites, magazines, and books. It covers an extensive list of subjects from growing beets to butchering hogs. From keeping bees to making soap. It covers storing fruits, meats, and vegetables and hundreds of other basic skills that use to be passed down from fathe ...more
Shari Henry
Mar 06, 2013 Shari Henry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy macaroni, there's a lot in this book! I have no desire to live in the country but I am interested in urban agriculture, growing more of what I eat, and learning how to preserve what grows. This is not a book to read in one sitting though I certainly tried. From Latin names for plants to when and how to plant to what to plant with what to how to fight pests to preserving harvest for winter to recipes for everything you grow, you ought to be able to find what you need here. Now that I know wh ...more
May 13, 2011 Mandi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! What an incredible volume of useful knowledge! And while one would initially think to buy this and place it on a shelf to use as a reference (and they should!), they will find upon perusal that there are all kinds of tidbits mixed in as well that they might miss if they don't go cover to cover. For example, you wouldn't think to find homemade household cleaner recipes in the gardening section, nor would you expect to find out what to do if you find yourself giving birth and you are all alon ...more
Lisa Kearns
Jun 24, 2013 Lisa Kearns rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's a reason why so many farmers and homesteaders consider Carla Emory's book to be THE definitive source of information. Sure she wrote it many years ago, but it has evolved with each printing into a total package of information. It covers everything from raising and butchering livestock, to baking, gardening, canning, using herbs, building chicken coops and churning butter. I've turned to it many times when I needed information, or to read about something I was considering trying. She has ...more
Jun 11, 2010 AJ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

I just skimmed through this giant book, and I can see how useful it would be if I lived in the country, had a farm, or gardened more seriously than I currently do. This book is like several books smashed into one. It covers almost all bases - growing, preserving, cooking veggies, grains, legumes, etc, raising animals and maybe even eating them too (I skipped the last chapters about animals).
Feb 05, 2012 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I use this reference manual for most everything country over and over again!
Oct 03, 2009 Amy rated it really liked it
Next time you need to castrate a goat, check out this book first.
Mar 09, 2009 Dianna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
good lord, this book is comprehensive. i got it out of the library because i'm trying to put in a garden and am clueless, but i found myself paging through it, fascinated, as she discusses such handy and useful things as how one slaughters a hog, keeps hens from getting "broody," does laundry with a plunger and bucket, etc. information that won't help me a bit in my urban home, but which is entertaining to read and, as with the animal-slaughtering-how-tos, page past very quickly. if i had any de ...more
I had heard of this book for years, so decided to get it from the library. It is not the kind of book you read from cover to cover. I was particularly interested in the food preservation, oddments and herb sections. This is a book about self-sufficient living, so it also has interesting things like a diagram of a hog with an X placed exactly where you should shoot it. I also enjoyed the recipes for pickled pig's feet and scrapple, amont others. This would be a great book to own, if you actually ...more
May 15, 2009 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a MASSIVE reference book over 900 pages long on just about anything you'd need to know about country living, including how to purchase farm animals, catch a run-away pig, milk a cow, make sausage, can tomatoes, build a chicken coop, etc. This book is jam-packed with an impressive amount of detail, and includes diagrams, references, mail-order sources, and price estimates. A wonderful book to either flip through for inspiration or to turn to for detailed advice.
Morgan Mitchell
Mar 26, 2013 Morgan Mitchell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first page I turned to said, "How to take care of your dead". So I figure it has it all. This book has everything your Grandmother should have taught you! I love learning how to do things on my own like making pickles and soap, so I am enjoying it. Already I found out I have poison Hemlock all over the front yard of my newly purchased home/ 5 acres that I want to turn into a mini farm. This book might have just saved my life!
Jan 10, 2014 Sandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my all time favorite books. The first time I made bread by hand, it was by a recipe in this book for four loaves. Everytime I have sat down to read this, I almost get lost in the pages! I love it.
This isn't one of those read all the way through at once (even though I did so when I first got it!) and you can tell that from the size of it! Huge book!
Carla Emery takes the intimidation out of so many areas of country living and her book delivers!
Calamity Jane
i have a soft spot for Carla Emery, the queen of hippie back to the landers. I grew up with this book, and read it many a time as i plotted my own future homestead. the information is far from complete, like all of these "everything you need to know" books there are simply too many subjects to cover any in depth. but it gives a person an overview of what's involved, and that's a fine starting point.
GREAT armchair reading. her style is blunt and homey.
Jeanna Morgan
Nov 27, 2012 Jeanna Morgan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that anyone wanting to live a homesteading life needs. It can be read from cover to cover, but for me it is more of a little at a time book. Whatever I am doing at the time, be it learning about a certain plant, how to preserve food, or how to make cheese; I just refer to that section and read up on it. It is a very good book. Carla Emery really knew her stuff.
Jul 15, 2009 Mrs. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is almost as thick as a phone book, and contains information on just about everything you could think of when it comes to living in the country - canning, raising chickens, gardening, the works. I love it because it provides a great jumping off point for me to research topics in more depth from other sources. I'll be reading and re-reading this one for a long while.
May 22, 2011 Christy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christy by: Logan Ward
Shelves: books-i-own, 2011
If the apocalypse had actually occurred yesterday and I was left behind, this is the book I would want to have with me. It has instructions on seriously everything you could ever need to survive, from growing your own food, to castrating goats, to giving birth. I will probably (hopefully) never need a lot of this information, but it is incredibly interesting to read.
Laurel Fischback
Carla Emery homesteaded in the Yukon Territoy and this book contains the wealth of information gained in that journey. Written is a very easy manner, containing humorous snippets of her blunders along the way. An invaluable resource of recipes for cooking from basic products, homesteaders,and health conscience cooks.
Excellent compendium of living a simpler life, covering many aspects from land to animals to kids to health to life and death. I have never read this entire book. I use some pages regularly, and sometimes I just pull it down and flip it open to see what I'm going to learn about next. Last time I did that, I ended up reading a recipe using a camel!
Jill Bateman
Sep 01, 2013 Jill Bateman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to be perfectly honest here, I have NOT read this book. I'd say I've read "on" this book! I've had it for a number of years now and I pull it out of my shelf a lot and look things up... and then a few hours later I realize whatever it was I was looking up is long gone from my mind! This is a great collection of lost skills and it makes me happy!
I keep going back to this resource on everything farm-ish. It gives me information enough that I can then start asking people questions and figure out what other books I need on the subject. Current interest: lambs and meat sheep!
Jan 06, 2011 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great reference book for those wanting to learn lost of arts of our agrarian past. Whether you are interested in simple gardening, self-sufficiency or just being less wasteful and more green in your lifestyle, this books provides the information you will need.
Reanna Tuft
Great info on raising animals, farming, bee keeping just about everything you need to know about country living. It was more like a journal than a dictionary though so that's why I didn't love it and the pictures could of been better.
Jun 07, 2012 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book wasn't what I expected, and maybe thats why I didnt like it? It was a resource book with snipits and blurbs about various homesteading items. But, it wasnt in depth or useful to me.
Lil Miss
May 01, 2015 Lil Miss rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is a great back to basics read.. obviously a re-read I can read this again and again.
Mar 15, 2017 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great reference book for anyone who's looking to live on the land - I saw this years ago at a book store in Portland (Powell's, baby!) and to this day this thing still holds up.
E. Maria Thomas
Mar 14, 2017 E. Maria Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tons of great info on how to do just about everything. I refer to this book often.
Kitten Kisser
Sep 03, 2014 Kitten Kisser rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cannot beleive the amount of information this book contains! The author makes no pretenses. She doesn't claim to know everything. She bases her knowledge on her experiences, letters, & information gathered over the years from others. This massive book is many many years worth of information! It has been updated many times. I'm pretty sure she doesn't leave anything out from the older versions, explaining why the book gets larger and larger. One thing that I'm aware of being left out becaus ...more
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