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More a grab bag than comprehensive guide, this collection of 48 weekends' worth of self-sufficiency projects gives wanna-be homesteaders who have more curiosity than time a taste of modern homesteading. Hess describes this process as starting where you are-whether a high-rise or suburban neighborhood or "where supplies have to be helicoptered in"-to "use sweat equity to grow nutritious, delicious food, create sustainable heat from locally grown wood, and use free organic matter to rebuild the soil." Hess draws on her own six years of trial-and-error homesteading, extensive reading, and contributions from her blog readers to teach skills that include mapping your yard and neighborhood, planting a garden and a fruit tree, saving seeds, budgeting your time and money, finding collaborators, preparing for power shortages, and even weaning yourself from the media. Some readers may question the need for instruction in simple common activities like hanging laundry or roasting a chicken, and Hess's focus tends more toward her own rural milieu than that of urban apartment dwellers. On the whole, however, the book enthusiastically, if sometimes naively, helps readers succeed at dipping "into the vast ocean of homesteading without being overwhelmed."
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