Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Guidance and Inspiration

I'd like to use this blog to occasionally highlight books, magazines, web sites, people and other blogs which inspire us on our journey.  Today, I'm going to start by featuring some of the first books we bought and which have helped plant the seeds of what will one day be Little Dragon Homestead.

Practical Self-Sufficiency, by Dick and James Strawbridge is a great all-round reference for off-the-grid living in Australia.  Besides the seed planting guide being geared towards the Southern Hemisphere, the book is also a useful reference for almost any region.  It features chapters on growing, harvesting and preserving food,  cheese making, winemaking and other culinary crafts.  Animal husbandry, including humane ways of dispatching livestock is also covered, along with ways of harnessing natural resources for producing energy.  On this, the Strawbridges come into their own as their engineering background has them approaching bio-diesel distilling and methane gas production using an anaerobic digester.  Very practical, clear writing style and plenty of photos and drawings to illustrate each project.

The second book featured here, Build Your Straw Bale Home, by Brian Hodge, is again an Australian reference, but would also give some ideas for potential Balers in other countries.  We're planning to build our main house and perhaps some of our outbuildings in straw bale and this book offers lots of practical advice on how to approach it, right from choosing the site, designing the building and owner-building it to completion.  With the information presented in clear, sometimes humorous, language it really does foster a confidence in the reader that they can be the site manager of the building of their own home in a way which conventional building methods may not allow.  We're even hoping to grow our own straw depending on the land we end up purchasing.  Can't wait for Bale Raising Day!

Finally, the third book here is one the adherents of Permaculture would be familiar with.  Gaia's Garden, by Toby Hemenway, is one of the most well-known and recommended books detailing the practical application of Permaculture principles.  His language is accessible and the information is brilliant.  From extensive lists of plants and their attributes, to how they fit together into guilds and the beneficial insects they attract, it's a great way to understand, without doing a practical course, how guilds work within a food forest.  Soil health, composting methods, garden design and water management are all covered amongst many other topics. A great in-depth reference, and one I know I'll turn to many times in the coming years.

At the moment, I'm anxiously waiting for the arrival of my newest book, The Encyclopedia of Country Living, by Carla Emery.  Almost every homesteading blog and web site I've encountered has endorsed this tome, and I'm very much looking forward to curling up with it!

In future posts, I'll cover some of the magazines which I find interesting and inspiring, as well as favoured blogs, Facebook feeds and web sites.  In the meantime, some inspirational and useful links will be added to the sidebar here.


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