Storey's Country Living Books Reviews


Posted on : 10:06 AM | By : Anonymous | In :

I have a pretty big country living book collection... as an author on country living, its important to keep track of what other people have written, and write something different, which is what I've tried to do with my book (see the one on the right? ;) Many of these books are really good, and some aren't and there are so many to choose from I thought I would let you know which ones are worth it.

I just got The Backyard Homestead, and it's published by Storey Publishing, so I'll start with those. Storey Publishing was started in Vermont in the 80's and quickly grew into a big country living publishing house with editors that put together handy guides for all things self-reliant. I now own three of these books, all of which happen to be their general encyclopedias of country living, which is what I tend to collect.

This one is a really big book filled with tons of information on farming, gardening, food preservation, animal husbandry, etc. It is also valuable for its sections on home repair and inspection, general yard maintenance, and it has some good carpentry plans for a variety of things, including garden furniture and chicken houses. However, this book is probably my least favorite of the three because each section is written by a separate person who wrote a much larger book on the subject that has also been published by Storey. I think as an idea source book this has been great, but if I wanted to actually get involved in any of the projects in depth, I would simply go find the book on that specific topic. It's fun to look through, but I have hardly used it. I think it would be more aimed at the hobby farmer who isn't really into food production.

This one has become much more dog-eared. Although it appears thinner than the book above, it is much taller and wider and the font is smaller. It has WAY more information, and it is a bit more specific to self-reliance. It has tons of recipes, and many, many tid-bits of country wisdom, as the title says. It also includes pretty much all the important stuff that the book above has (including the same illustrations, which Storey tends to reuse in many of their books). I would say that this one has been a fairly essential part of my library.

This is my most recent addition to the collection. I didn't realize when I bought it that it was also a Storey-published book, or I may have opted for something else. It has reused the same illustrations as the books above, and is simply edited together from other Storey books. However, because this one has been specifically made for backyard homesteading, I did find some good information that my other two did not have. It gives information on how much food you can conceivably grow on 1/4 acre, what kinds of farm animals you can put there, some info on backyard chicken-keeping, a good plan for an urban backyard chicken house, and other projects that would be more appropriate for a small yard. It also includes the normal food preservation and gardening info.

All in all, these three Storey country living books aren't my favorites out of my collection, in comparison to the greats which I will review another day. I would say though that the middle one is the best out of the three and the only reason it might not be one of my favorites is because I have so many, lol. If you have to find an all-around great know-how book, that one would fit the bill.

Comments (2)

I have "Storey's Basic Country Skills" and "Country Wisdom & Know-How" and I enjoy them.

I also have "The Self-Sufficient Life & How to Live It" by John Seymour. It covers a lot of what you would want to know about that kind of life (in my opinion). There are plans for 1 and 5 acre farms and then they cover other subjects that a lot of other books of this nature don't like building your own compost toilet and making your own salt, sugar, oil and vinegar.

I almost bought the second one but opted for the first one instead. I wish I hadn't. It skims over info but is never complete enough, IMO.