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

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  959 ratings  ·  59 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 its k ...more
Paperback, 488 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Black Dog & Leventhal (first published 2004)
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Average rating 4.35  · 
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This paperback version is awkward to handle. It measures 10 1/2 by 13 1/2 inches, and is almost an inch thick. There is a lot of information in this book, if you don't mind the jumbled format and small type. The cover boasts of "1,887 illustrations, diagrams and photographs."

Dec 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Hello, New Bible.

My two favorite adjectives apply: badass and practical. Make that three: gimmick-free.
Michael Mayer
May 04, 2008 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
Vrixton Phillips
Apr 21, 2018 marked it as to-read
One of the last Christmases I had with my mother [rest in peace, mama <3] she specifically requested this book from her parents, in the event of their demise (which is kinda funny because she was actually the first of them to die that following year) and "if the balloon goes up" as she used to say.

I've been thinking more and more about off-grid living. I'm not a fan of capitalism. I'd much rather do without than have to sell my soul, my labor, and my time, not loving what I'm living. So I think
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
Taylor W. Rushing
Jun 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is by far the greatest existential manual ever. Keep it in your home. LEARN!
May 21, 2009 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
Megan Wilcox
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Does anybody even read a manual/handbook/how-to-book cover to cover? Perhaps some do... but I fear I did not do so with this wonderful monster of a book.
But this is a fantastic book.
Need to plan a garden? Turn to page 219!
Wanna bake bread? Pg. 139 is here to help!
Double Sided Bird Feeder? 007's gotcha covered!
How about a foot massage? Well now... that's there 355 at your service! (Now to find someone to do the actual massaging...)
Want to build a wooden, or even a stone wall? Brillia
Booklass Garrahan
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A lot of fun to peruse. This is a reference guide. You probably need additional books to get more in depth into subjects, but this is interesting and fun as a jumping off point or a walk down memory lane.
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oversize book but has great info. I don't live in the country, but this is one of my go to books on how to do various things. ...more
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 excited to try
Lindsey Spadoni
Mar 28, 2010 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
Anne Holcomb
Sep 18, 2007 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
Michelle Brandstetter
Sep 12, 2011 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
Jun 27, 2008 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. ...more
Crystal Porter
May 07, 2010 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!
May 19, 2010 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. ...more
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?
Jan 28, 2008 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. ...more
May 20, 2008 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. ...more
Alison Perry
Jun 18, 2008 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! ...more
Dec 28, 2011 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. ...more
Shane White
Sep 22, 2012 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 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
Kenley Raye
Apr 21, 2013 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. ...more
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.
May 14, 2008 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.
Oct 20, 2008 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! ...more
Nov 23, 2009 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. ...more
Apr 27, 2010 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. ...more
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