Charles A. Sanders, author of The Self-Reliant Homestead: A Book of Country Skills, has made a career as a Conservation Officer with the Indiana State Dept. of Conservation. He is also a homesteader. It almost goes without saying that his book is filled with practical applications relating to myriad things you’ll want to know about.
Sanders has done an admirable job of covering all the basics in a well-ordered format that is easy to read and quick to reference via the contents page.
We were particularly taken with the section devoted to woodlot management, but you’ll probably have your own areas of interest. Whether it’s raising rabbits, fixing fence, or brooding banties that you’re interested in, you’re likely to find a few kind and helpful words to ease your awkwardness inside The Self-Reliant Homestead.
“Sometimes prospective ‘homesteaders’ are lured to the country by the thoughts of living a simple life and making a living solely from their small farm. If you are hoping to make a living strictly off your homestead in the traditional agricultural sense, then you are likely to be in for some big disappointments.
For many reasons, in today’s economy, it is difficult for one wage-earner to make enough to support a family. Similarly, it can be tough to live in the country and support a family on a rural income.
In the ‘old days’, farmers held what you might call ‘diversified stock portfolios.’ That is, every well-rounded homestead had a variety of stock: cattle, hogs, chickens, horses, and maybe sheep, rabbits, and fowl. They knew that diversification was the key to maintaining a profitable farm. Each type of livestock contributed its own important part to the whole of the farm income. I believe that a modern-day small farmer-homesteader would do well to imitate these predecessors. Often we seem to be looking for that magical moneymaker that we can concentrate our efforts on. More realistically, diversification is the better answer.”