I have this wonderful dream. My dream is to live out in the country on a small parcel of land where we can have a couple of horses for our girls, raise my own herbs and a few veggies - maybe even a couple of dairy goats or alpacas. I really want to go into this with as few surprises as possible. I think one way I can knock off many of those surprises is to read The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery.
This incredible book has just been updated for the 9th time! I just can't imagine anything about country living that isn't in here. The newest edition now has websites and mail-order information.
One of the best parts of the book is the very first chapter: Oddments. This chapter is a primer on living self-sufficiently and simply. There are things in here that I'm sure many of us have NEVER thought of: how climate can effect how you build, schools of country living, giving birth by yourself and - did you know that it's legal in 41 states to care for your own dead?!
But this book is also absolutely full of useful and entertaining information that anyone from the city slicker who just wants to grow window herbs, to the back-woods camper, to those who really want to live a primitive, simple lifestyle can use in daily living. Carla Emery has thought of everything, assembled it in a very readable format and writes in such a personal, inviting way. You will find it so hard to put this massive, nearly
900-page volume down.
Homeschoolers and new farm families will benefit immensely from her information on animal breeding, cleaning fish, selecting the best laying hens, questions to ask yourself before buying a goat, slaughtering/butchering cows and pigs, milking cows and goats, making cheeses, raising and drying herbs, home businesses, bee keeping, rabbit breeding, animal housing and fencing, homemade cosmetics, and gardening for everyone from the beginner to the pro. This list doesn't even scratch the surface!
I do recommend, however, that a parent monitor youngsters who are reading this. Carla is not rude or immodest, but she is very frank in dealing with reproductive issues in the animal world. You need to judge how mature your own children are regarding what they do and don't know (and what you do anddon't want them to know) about subjects that could effect their modesty.
This is one of the most interesting books I have in my home library. I can't think of anything anyone might want to know about country living that wouldn't be in this book!