Classic Homesteading Books Return

| 12/10/2008 2:22:07 PM

Over the years, many books with valuable information for homesteading wannabes have gone out of print. This is unfortunate, as most of the authors wrote from personal experience at a time when self-sufficiency was the norm.

Now, Robert Plamondon, Oregon poultry aficionado, and publisher of Norton Creek Press, has brought back some of the old titles and has plans for more. Here is the first group:

ten acresEdmund Morris' classic “Ten Acres Enough: Small-Farm Self-Sufficiency Through High-Quality Produce, A Back-to-the-Land Adventure” from 1864.

M. G. Kains' charming “We Wanted a Farm: A Back-to-the-Land Adventure” by the author of "Five Acres and Independence" from 1941.

Margaret Leatherbarrow's fascinating “Gold in the Grass: Rags to Riches Through Soil Reclamation and Sustainable Farming,” from 1954.

You will find a wealth of homesteading and self-sufficiency information from Plamondon’s reprints as well as from his books on raising pastured poultry

Geoffrey Taylor
12/22/2008 2:33:58 AM

Two books that I would recommend without hesitation are Betty MacDonald's The Egg and I, her first of many books. She was a born writer, and her book is like time travel into the Pacific Northwest chicken farm during the Depression. You will laugh for years at her gems of description and verbatim conversations, and she tells the story of those years so deftly, beautifully, and honestly that sometimes you hold your breath... And then she makes you laugh again. A second book, published in 1978 by an Oregon author, used Betty's book as a template, and is worth reading if only to marvel that this one-shot book ever got done. I would give anything to know the circumstances under which it was written, and how long it took. Its title is Downwind From Nobody, and excerpts were read aloud on public radio. Library Journal hailed it as an exceptionally good story, and the actor Eddie Albert blurbed it. I read this author's early work in this magazine, and absolutely loved every single article. This demonstrates the true value of good editing when a writer says something in gibberish. I have worn out four copies over the last 35 years, and given away ten more to young writing students to teach them about the blessings and dangers of style contamination. Speaking truthfully but with intentional vagueness, the writing in Downwind from Nobody is in a class by itself. Life-changing, in my own case. Both authors are deceased. If The Egg and I ever goes out of print, I hope Norton picks it up. And I would like to republish Downwind from Nobody, and will probably buy the rights to do so.

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