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Country Wisdom & Know-How: A Practical Guide to Living off the Land

4.31  ·  Rating Details ·  820 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Reminiscent in both spirit and design of the beloved Whole Earth Catalog, Country Wisdom & Know-How is an unprecedented collection of information on nearly 200 individual topics of country and self-sustained living. Compiled from the information in Storey Publishing's landmark series of "Country Wisdom Bulletins," this book is the most thorough and reliable volume of i ...more
Paperback, 488 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Black Dog & Leventhal (first published 2004)
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Michael Mayer
May 04, 2008 Michael Mayer rated it it was amazing
Love this book. I bought it a couple paydays ago and have browsed through it almost every day since. I'm thinking the economy and the price of food and fuel will get a lot worse before it gets better. It would behoove us all to start pinching pennies and plan on make what little we already have last as long as possible. I will probably never start my own garden but there are a lot of tips in here on health and cooking that I am inclined to follow (there is even a great section on cat, dog, and h ...more
Josiah
This is a treasury of infomation on homesteading, including topics like gardening, cosmetics, animal husbandry, small buildings, furniture-making, etc.

Writing: B
Vocabulary: C
Plot: B
Level: Intermediate
Rating: G
Worldview: Harmony with Nature
Brooke
May 21, 2009 Brooke rated it it was amazing
This is the best book about almost everything that you need to know to be a country person. I call it the Bible
Taylor W. Rushing
Jun 20, 2008 Taylor W. Rushing rated it it was amazing
This book is by far the greatest existential manual ever. Keep it in your home. LEARN!
Lindsey
Nov 22, 2016 Lindsey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: instructional
This book is huge and full of information, from how to butcher a cow, to building a bird feeder, to making yogurt, to weaving a basket. I mean, WTF. The diagrams are useful and the directions/information are given clearly.
Adventure_chick
Sep 10, 2016 Adventure_chick rated it really liked it
I don't know if you're ever truly 'finished' with a book like this but I decided I've used it enough to take it off of my reading list. It's a very involved book with a great deal of information. I feel I'll be using this book for years to come.
Jennifer
The book is paperback, but very large in diameter. It is 480 pgs long, printed on newsprint type paper. I found the pages ripped easily upon turning, and because of the bulk is unweilding. This will probably not be a durable book.

Has info. on Animals from dogs & cats to raising chickens. Cooking: General, Bread, Dairy, Meats, Preserving. Pickling, Canning, Distilling. A craft section. A gardening section, Health & wellness. Has some handy homemade bath & beauty product ideas I am exc
...more
Lindsey Spadoni
Mar 28, 2010 Lindsey Spadoni rated it it was amazing
This is the perfect reference book for someone like me. I keep it at the breakfast table so when the newspaper is boring or depressing, I can instantly learn something about how to make my own little world a better and more beautiful place. This book is gimmick-free. It's got just the facts, ma'am, well-edited and useful. There are just enough photos and illustrations to help readers visualize what is hard to explain in words: how your asparagus bed should be organized (mine looks great!), how t ...more
Michelle Brandstetter
Aug 18, 2013 Michelle Brandstetter rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, how-to
This book contains a tremendous amount of information. Between the small print, detail, and illustrations, I'm not sure how you could go wrong. I had planned on reading this book from cover to cover, but have decided, at least for me, I'll treat it more as a reference book to refer to for specific projects or thumb through to get new ideas.

If the government were to collapse and the internet come crashing down, this is the book you need. OR, if you are currently preparing for the aforementioned d
...more
Anne Holcomb
Feb 22, 2008 Anne Holcomb rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: aspiring farmers, mountain men/women
Shelves: food, nature, diy
This book is full of amazing advice on how to be self-sufficient and live off the land. It's full of things for immediate use like recipes, food-storage tips, how to train your dog or cat, and around-the-house DIY projects. Then, for the more hardcore, you can also learn how to build your own barn, raise farm animals and butcher meat at home, build your own stone walls, etc. The design of the book makes the subject matter seem accessible and innovative - quite a feat for a book about skills that ...more
Denise
A really neat collection of information, but unfortunately the oddness of the formatting (this book is HUGE, like the size of an atlas, and printed on really crappy phonebook-style paper) is really holding it back. I would have liked to cuddle up with this book and read it in bed, but you sort of have to set it at a table to get any use out of it. Thus, I couldn't finish it.

Try it in ebook maybe?
Ette
Jun 27, 2008 Ette rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Beth and Melissa
Seth’s mother gave this to him last Christmas but I’ve been reading it. It actually has good sound advice and runs the gamut of what you need to know to be self-sufficient and “handy” around the homestead. Be warned that it has no swank glossy pictures or overly pretty people to make you feel part of the hip and cool crowd, but I think it's a more practical approach to a simpler lifestyle unadulterated or hyped up by marketing and politics.
Crystal Porter
May 07, 2010 Crystal Porter rated it it was amazing
Country Wisdom & Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Live Off the Land.

It has thousands of things you can do right down to making bat houses, homemade soaps, house repairs, gardening, kitchen herbs... it is FULL of information. Including tons of recipes for everything you could possibly want. I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in sustainable living. It is the most practical book I have every had the privilege to read!
Andrea
Jun 17, 2010 Andrea rated it liked it
Lots of great information, but it felt like the editor had massive ADD as the subject are spoken about in depth up until you are really interested and then cut away with a few short sentances or no parting words at all. I found it difficult to "read" this. I do think this would be a great reference book to have on the shelf if I ever decide to skin a rabbit or built a fence, I just don't have either of those on the list for the next few years.
Alison Perry
Jun 18, 2008 Alison Perry rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Farmers and dirty hippies.
This book is so awesome, I gave it to my mom as a gift. Then, she bought for my brother as a gift. It's packed full of...well, country wisdom. You could learn how to do just about anything with this book. Think old school Fox Fire books, but re-vamped with great illustrations and quick instructions. I found it at Sam's Warehouse for $7.00, too. You just can't beat that!
DeRonda
Jan 09, 2012 DeRonda rated it really liked it
This isn't the kind of book you read cover to cover, but rather a reference book. It has SO much interesting & useful information in it. This is where I get my dog biscuit recipes. Liked this book so much, we gave a copy as a gift this Christmas & I received a related book on Craft Wisdom & Know-How.
Kenley Raye
Apr 21, 2013 Kenley Raye rated it it was amazing
This book is just fantastical ! Truly ! What a great buy. If you are interested in homesteading and living off the land this book is a great starting place. Has lots of information, pictures, how to's and more ! Lots of knowledge and great advice ! It's so general you really only need this one book for most information.
Toni
Aug 29, 2008 Toni rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who want to be self-sufficient
I haven't read the whole book yet, but it's full of useful advice about being self-sufficient and living off the land -- everything from gardening, to cooking, to dressing animals, to building a chicken coop! A birthday gift from Adam, I know I will treasure it, use it and learn from it for years to come.
Inder
Apr 02, 2008 Inder rated it really liked it
I've been browsing this before bed off and on for several months. It's not the most exciting format, but there is so much useful information here! I plan to start rug braiding ASAP. The organization (alphabetic and almanac-style), however, leaves much to be desired. Does anyone prefer their books to be arranged alphabetically instead of intuitively, by subject matter? I wonder.
Justin
Apr 11, 2016 Justin rated it it was ok
This book had many interesting ideas. However, the scope was much bigger than the depth.
For example, there was a large section on raising animals something that doesn't interest me.
There was also a large section on gardening, which while it does interest me didn't cover any new ground. Personally, I'd rather buy one more focused book for each topic I am interested in.
Shane White
Nov 11, 2012 Shane White rated it it was amazing
Shelves: prepper-books
I found this book to be excellent with the exception of the font size. In their defense, if the font was bigger, the book would be absolutely HUGE. It is already big. I will live with the font size. I will just make sure I am wearing glasses when I read it.

See my full review at The Doomsday Moose
Shane White
Nov 11, 2012 Shane White rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: prepper-books
I found this book to be excellent with the exception of the font size. In their defense, if the font was bigger, the book would be absolutely HUGE. It is already big. I will live with the font size. I will just make sure I am wearing glasses when I read it.

See my full review at The Doomsday Moose
Kelli
Nov 23, 2009 Kelli rated it really liked it
Covers seemingly anything you might want to do at home: baking, homebrewing, beekeeping, basket-weaving, restoring wood floors. It's a bit overwhelming for someone like me, who would like to try it all.
Kristen
May 15, 2008 Kristen rated it it was amazing
I bought this at Borders in SIngapore, who would have thought I could get this here. I am a total back to the earth nut, who would love to get back to a farm. Alas, not likely in Singapore. Similar to the Foxfire books, lots of practical information about living on small farm or for DIY types.
Alyson
May 04, 2010 Alyson is currently reading it
I was sooo excited to get this in the mail today! On my way to being self-reliant :0). I've read through how to make cheese, braided rugs, and how to properly take care of our bunnies. Hoping this book will be a great resource for our gardening efforts this summer.
Sarah
Oct 20, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: farmin
i think i will continue reading this book for the rest of the month (the amount of time i will share this house with the book's owner). it's a how-to guide for everything, but i can't manage to get out of the cooking section. pear chutney!
Kat
Mar 10, 2011 Kat rated it it was amazing
I love, love, LOVE this book! I refer to it constantly for all of my homesteading dreams and wonderings. It's better than the internet. It's thorough and fascinating! It's well written (mostly) and I love all the quirky ideas in this book. It's probably my favorite book ever...
Shawn Balio
Nov 26, 2014 Shawn Balio rated it liked it
The information was very helpful and the writer is extremely knowledgeable but the print was extremely small and difficult to read.
Marion
Jan 29, 2008 Marion rated it it was amazing
Polly left this... and by doing so she did me a major favor! Wanna build a bat house? How bout a root cellar? I know I do!
Allana Kellett
Feb 28, 2014 Allana Kellett rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. I bought it from Mother Earth News because I am wanting to start gardening on my land. This book answers all the small farm questions I had, and then some.
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