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The Weekend Homesteader: A Twelve-Month Guide to Self-Sufficiency

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  436 ratings  ·  42 reviews
The Weekend Homesteader is organized by month—so whether it’s January or June you’ll find exciting, short projects that you can use to dip your toes into the vast ocean of homesteading without getting overwhelmed. If you need to fit homesteading into a few hours each weekend and would like to have fun while doing it, these projects will be right up your alley, whether you ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published October 7th 2012 by Skyhorse Publishing
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3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  436 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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Shari Henry
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
I almost shut this book immediately after reading this in the Introduction: "To folks over the age of 50, I usually describe homesteading this way: "Remember the back-to-the-land movement of the 60s and 70s? Homesteading is the same thing. . . without the drugs and free love."

Okay, wow. Coz those of us over 50 don't know what homesteading is. Really? And please, check your history, Ms. Hess, because those of us who came of age in the late 70s totally missed out on the drugs and free love stuff a
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I found this to be an excellent and thought provoking book even though I'm deeply unlikely to make practical use of any of the interesting advice. I am an urban dweller with a small amount of space to work with and an HOA that bans everything from garden sheds and dog houses to clothes lines. My gardening is mostly of the container variety and even if I could sneak a chicken coop or bee hive past my HOA my houseful of rescued PET rabbits is evidence enough that yes, I would be that person runnin ...more
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Most homesteader books make me feel overwhelmed and frustrated. This one is nice because is goes by month, throughout the year with tasks, rated by difficulty. Some are easy, some hard but I feel I'm able to pick a choose, make mistakes and chug along as I please. For example, a garden has always seemed so overwhelming and too much work, however Anna gives you an easy no fuss way to convert a simple strip into a garden YOU can manage.
Aug 29, 2012 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I'm not going to rate my own book, but I just got my hands on a real, physical copy, and I'm very impressed by how beautifully the layout turned out! I hope the rest of you enjoy it as much as I do. :-)
Alisa Kester
Really enjoyed this book. Great tone, and the projects were nearly all things I am either trying to do, or at least thinking about doing. Her section on growing mushrooms made me realize I absolutely need to add that one to the list!
Mendocino County Library
"A good year-round read. It’s got it all: Recipes, food, herbs, gardens and more. If you want to learn to be more self-sufficient, this would be a great guide." – Ukiah Staff Recommended
May 12, 2018 rated it liked it
As is hinted at by the title, this book is geared more towards someone who is starting out with homesteading and isn’t doing it full time. The 12-month guide to self-sufficiency line is a little misleading as you won’t be self-sufficient in 12 months even if you utilize all of the ideas in this book. It’s more of a guide to help you get started with some of the basics of homesteading. Projects are broken down into (for the most part) weekend-sized plans.

In addition, the book feels more geared to
Rachel Cunning
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book from the local library looking for some helpful tips that I could implement in my own suburban homestead. I certainly did pick up some useful tips, and I implemented a few of the techniques she used, particularly the kill mulch. She breaks down the possible tasks on a month by month basis, so it can be a useful book to have on your shelf for a longer duration than a library loan. For me, the book's content ranged from "yeah, done this a gazillion times" to "wow, that sounds ...more
Most homesteading books will gather the complaint that they aren't detailed enough due to the number of concepts they try to tackle. While that usually is true, most homesteading books are equally guilty here. The Weekend Homesteader breaks things up into very small sections and seems much less focused then other homesteading books. This book seems to cover more topics and in less detail. Additionally, while some of the material in other books seems not too useful to me (animal husbandry and soa ...more
Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommended for: men and women that are interested in making their livelihood from home.
Remarks: despite the title, this book is not for people with full-time jobs that are interested in making their families slightly more self-sufficient. This book involves full-blown husbandry from growing fields of vegetables to raising livestock (things you can't do merely on your weekends off). On the other hand, I would recommend this book for stay-at-home moms and families that need a secondary income but
Krista D.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gardening
This is another book I test drove from the library and I'll be buying this one. Realistically, the "one year" plan is more like a decade long plan for me, with plenty of these things on my hard no list. But it has a lot of "next step" things I'm interested in to increase my gardening and make use of my space. I'm going to get this in ebook, though, because the print book was really difficult for me to read (font choice, font size, glossy pages).
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book for beginners

Having researched the subject extensively and begun to wet my feet with homesteading endeavors, I can honestly say this is one of the best newbie guides I've read. The calendar format Hess chose is perfect for making season appropriate suggestions for projects so the tasks don't feel like an overwhelming list. Love the detailed information on composting and soil science; definitely whet my appetite for reading further.
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Clearly written book. You can skip to the right month so you can actually do something right now. I decided thanks to this book, that none of this is for me, but that I will try to plant and grow a few herbs in a pot instead.
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: functional
I thought this was a great, practical, and INSPIRING guide to starting homesteading, with very realistic projects and goals. I will be utilizing it the next time we have a yard.
Jan 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I got this book in the mail yesterday and breezed through it. I love that the book is broken down into monthly projects - this is the sort of book that makes e homesteading/self-sufficiency seem achievable even for those of us living in suburbia. My husband and I bought our house with the expectation that we would eventually take over the lawns with gardens - this is a sloooow process, but "Weekend Homesteader" definitely shows that it is doable. I love the practical advice and demos - my favori ...more
R. C.
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing

This book is so neatly laid out. There's one project for each week of the year, the project following a few pages of good basic education in the topic. None of the projects commit you to anything ongoing that will take up more time than a person with a 40-hr workweek has to give. Color illustrations complement the enthusiastic but realistic tone and help make each project more real. As a homeschooler, my first thought was that this would make a perfect "spine" or organizing title around which t
Laylah Hunter
Really the biggest problem with this book for me is that I'm not at the point where most of its exercises assume you start: already in possession of a house with at least a little bit of land.(The blurb claims "these projects will be right up your alley, whether you live on a forty-acre farm, a postage-stamp lawn in suburbia, or a high rise," but you miss out on 80-90% of them by not having at least the postage stamp.) The exercises I *can* do as an apartment dweller I'm mostly already doing. Ma ...more
Feb 27, 2013 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. For a certain group of us, all these new homemade everything / urban homesteading books are a lot like reading Martha Stewart Living or Vogue is to other people. Aspirational, daydreamy, doable and yet...never really *done*. No chicken coops in our backyard any time soon.

The Weekend Homesteader is one of my favorites in the genre, and perhaps the most practical, because it wasn't designed to showcase the author's personality or make you jealous of her life. Mostly, it just has project
Dec 24, 2012 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.
After reading a dozen suburban homesteading books, it was refreshing to find something a bit different. This book's chapters are organized according to the months of the year and offer homesteading projects specific to certain times of the year. Four projects for each month- in essence creating a weekly homesteading project. These projects included some I had never heard of before ("planting" and harvesting mushroom logs, for example.) However, each activity is something homesteaders e
Jul 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was an accidentally book, in that I found it as I was browsing rather quickly at the library. I loved how it was divided into projects as well as monthly things to do throughout the year. Hess does a wonderful job of including not only sustaining on growing your own food, but being prepared for emergencies (water, light, heat) as well as keeping chickens, setting up rain barrels and more. She also takes into account urban, suburban, and rural living. While about half the book mentions thing ...more
April Franklin
Apr 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Good garden tips, but a little preachy at times about the author's life philosophy - she thinks we'd all be happier if we'd just quit our jobs and live off the land, apparently. I don't want to quit my job and live off the land, I just want to garden in my spare time, and specifically I want to grow as many of my own veggies as I can, but without the garden taking over my whole life. She does have some good tips for how to get a varied garden out of a small space, and I like how she has garden t ...more
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
One of the better how-to guides for backyard 'homesteading' - this book covers gardening more than anything. a refreshing change from the "how to raise goats on your 0.25 lawn" books I've seen. Good ideas, helpful regional variance information, and easy-to-follow writing. Having just moved and therefore starting my backyard garden all over again I found this to be very inspiring as well as practical.
Aug 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love the fact that this book is laid out with monthly projects that you can do. Not all of the projects interest me, but most of them do. I definitely glad I picked up this book. The projects were well explained and doable. Some books I've picked up make it sounds like you have to start doing a million things at once. This book allows you to pick and choose what you want to take on and lets you ease into the idea of producing some of your basic needs.
Sara McDonald
May 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: homesteading
I liked the original Weekend Homesteader series, but I love the hard copy book with everything cleaned up a bit. I bought a copy for myself an another copy as a gift for my mom who is just getting started. She loves the simple projects and is starting her no-till garden. Reading through the simple projects in this book helped me kickstart a few things that I had been putting off-- namely getting my strawberry bed started and storing more of my produce for the off-season.
Missy Ivey
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love this book! It has lots of good, practical ideas that I have never heard of before, and some I have heard of before. Chapters are separated by month and things which should be done in those months. I have more fruit trees to plant this year and will be using her guidelines on using a "hugelkultur" (p. 28). Looking forward to trying other homesteading ideas in this book.

UPDATE: Did not plant fruit treesusing the "hugelkultur" system. I'm too lazy!
Kathryn McGowan
Apr 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Good book filled with multiple projects for our new "estate." Covers topics like gardening in how-to depth. Decent intro to chickens, fruit trees, composting and other things I want to get to. Author provides links to resources for more information and details, even if it seems to at times plug the authors mail-order business.
Oct 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up from the library to read the chicken section. There is a lot of good diy'er information in here in an easy to read format. It includes detailed information about a lot of things. Some I already know, (no till gardening, canning) others like growing your own mushrooms were very new to me.
Jul 18, 2013 rated it liked it
This book was a useful look at some easy (and not-so-easy) self-sufficiency projects. But I felt like it could have used a lot more detail in some areas (composting, for example). It was a useful book, but made me want to seek out other sources for more detailed information.
Good overall, just have to tweak the months around if you live in a warm climate as the way the book is laid out will not work in all aspects (especially gardening).
Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
This concept is great. Lots of small projects that will get things off the ground, with a focus on stuff that doesn't require lots of maintenance after finishing.
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Anna Hess dreamed about moving back to the land ever since her parents dragged her off their family farm at the age of eight. She worked as a field biologist and nonprofit organizer before acquiring fifty-eight acres and a husband, then quit her job to homestead full time. She admits that real farm life involves a lot more hard work than her childhood memories entailed, but the reality is much mor ...more