Sunday, February 13, 2011

52 Book in 52 Weeks - Week 7 - Made from Scratch - Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life

The book that I'm starting to read this week as part of 52 Books in 52 Weeks is Made from Scratch - Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life by Jenna Woginrich. 

The description of this book on the inside cover says, "In a world of mass-produced food, factory-stitched clothing, 300-channel cable television, and computer-centric desk jobs, it’s easy to overlook the simple pleasures of eating homegrown vegetables, raising animals naturally and humanely, wearing hand-sewn clothing, or enjoying an evening of unplugged entertainment.

"Inspired by her growing admiration for small farmers and her growing distaste for rampant consumerism, 26-year-old web designer Jenna Woginrich decided to take control of her life — what she ate, what she wore, and how she spent her free time. Learn a few basic country skills, she reasoned, and she would be able to produce at least some of the food and other resources she used every day.

"Goodbye, prepackaged food; hello, homesteading. Made from Scratch tells the story of Woginrich's hilarious, heartbreaking, soul-satisfying journey — from her first attempts at planting a garden and installing honeybees to the bliss of gathering fresh eggs for an omelet or baking bread made with her own honey. Woginrich describes her successes and failures alike, inspiring and entertaining readers who dream about a more self-sufficient lifestyle."

What intrigues me about this book is that it reflects some experiences that I've already had as well as some that I'd like to try.  Some of chapters in Made from Scratch that will most likely bring back some good memories are:
  • Chickens - I'd really like to have a flock of rare and endangered chickens again.  Building a safe enclosure for them is the only obstacle to not having them...right now it's cost-prohibitive.
  • Grow Your Own Meal - The book focuses on having a vegetable garden.  I'm looking forward to expanding the vegetable and fruit gardens this spring/summer.
  • Beekeeping - I tried this many years ago and kept getting stung.  Now, a beekeeper keeps hives at the farm and I get some honey each year from the bees in exchange for having the hives here.
  • The Country Kitchen - The book has recipes and instructions for making homemade bread and butter - both of which I've done.  I enjoy making bread and am always looking for good recipes.  Have used a butter churn when my daughters were younger and we participated in an early-childhood program at the local Waldorf school.
  • Old Stuff - The author talks about visiting antique shops and acquiring antiques.  I use to do this many years ago as a way to furnish the 1890 farm home.  It's nice to have antiques that are from around the same time period that the house was first built.
  • Outside the Farm - The book suggests several ways to connect with others.  Some ideas are farm-related, and others are not.
Some of the chapters are ones that I don't have much or any experience in, but would like to eventually try:
  • DIY Wardrobe - The author shares her experience with making her own clothes.
  • Angora Rabbits -  Portable Livestock - This is more of Sophia's goal - to have rabbits and something that I would probably end up taking care of a good percentage of the time.
  • Working House Dogs - Although I wouldn't be able to have a team of dogs and sled here, going on a dog-sled ride would be something I would really enjoy doing some day.
  • Want More? - There are some good recipes to try in this section.
And, a chapter that will just be interesting to read:
  • Homemade Mountain Music - I don't have a strong interest in playing the mountain dulcimer, fiddle, banjo, or mandolin as was mentioned in Made from Scratch.  However, I would like to get back to playing the piano on a regular basis and challenge myself to continue to learn new songs. I have a strong feeling too that I'm going to have to learn how to play the harp and guitar when Sophia and Olivia start playing their instruments of choice next year and the following year respectively. 
Made from Scratch has so many great ideas that are worth exploring, especially as prices increase for food, gas, and other necessities.  It gives encouragement and direction to those wanting to be more self-sufficient and to lead a more sustainable life.


June Calender said...

Sounds like a timely and interesting book. I suppose very few people can go whole hog on this kind of living, but it sounds like everyone could find some adaptations to their life from the book.

BTW - thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog.

LaughingLioness said...

This sounds like a great read. I'll look forward to checking it out. Have you read "Cruncy Con?" "No Impact Man?"

Jean said...

I've been wanting to read this book for a while. Thanks for the review!

Beth said...

This is a book I've been wanting to read! Now I have to avoid it like the plague because it will add way too much to my to do list. (Ha, ha). I'm ordering it from Arrowhead Library System asap. Thanks.