Book Review: Homesteading Adventures
J. and I have been checking a lot of homesteading books but since we have very different tastes we usually don’t like the same books. Homesteading Adventures: A Guide for Doers and Dreamers by Sue Robishaw bridges that gap. I prefer books like Plenty and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle because they tell a story and offer insight about the emotional ups and downs of living a greener life. Since we are still living in an apartment and will be living in a rental for the next couple years the how-to books that J. prefers just don’t interest me.
In Homesteading Adventures Sue aims to be both informative and enjoyable which is a difficult balance and not one I honestly think she has perfected although she deserves credit for being almost as engaging and almost as informative as other books in this genre that only aim to be one of the other. She offers technical but practical advice on matters ranging from building a solar oven to designing and building your cabin complete with solar panels. While she provides a lot of information she doesn’t get to bogged down in these technicalities which for someone like me is nice.
The real “problem” for me is how she attempts to be engaging while simultaneously addressing the questions that first timers or newbies would ask. Instead of simply giving a first hand account of how she and her husband started and continue to succeed in their homesteading adventure she has created two fictional characters- JJ. and Cindy Lou. They are newbies that are neighbors to Sue and each chapter they begin to tackle a new homesteading project. The conversations were more trite to me then informative and at times it was awkward and lagging so less then half way into the book I would skim through until the conversation was over.
Once you get past though it’s a great book, especially if you are like me and enjoy reading about how other people struggled and succeeded as homesteaders in this day and age. I got to learn how their cabin has evolved over the years and how they planned and executed their outhouse (which I had never read about before). And while most times I didn’t like the fictional conversations, occasionally “Cindy Lou” would ask a question that I was wondering as well. So if you get the chance check this out from your library. The closer you are to actually homesteading on your own land the more informative it will be but there are some lessons we can all apply like gardening and solar cooking and drying.