If we were limited to only one reference guide to rural living, this would be it. As the title implies, this book includes an introduction to many skills needed to develop a self-sufficient lifestyle. John and Martha, founders of Storey Publishing, collected information from 150 experts to present step-by-step illustrated instruction and tips on a myriad of topics.
This is not a new release—it was published in 1999. But it’s very relevant today and chock full of basics for rural life and the urban or suburban “country home at heart” where self-sufficiency is valued. In fact, much of the book’s information and instruction can be applied to any home.
And most of our readers will enjoy the sections on large livestock, fields, and outbuildings even if they don’t have space for those projects.
Storey’s Basic Country Skills: A Practical Guide to Self-Reliance
What it contains:
Four sections cover the country home; garden, yard, and orchard; cooking and stocking up; and livestock and their needs. Spread throughout the book you’ll find everything from basic home maintenance to growing and preserving vegetables to milking a cow and building a barn.
The descriptions, explanations, and instructions are accompanied by illustrations, charts, diagrams, and examples of layouts.
For almost six decades I’ve lived in homes with wood stoves and wood burning fireplaces. But I still had a lot to learn from the chapter on Heating Your Home. Some topics covered here are how wood burns, how to clean a chimney, and what’s in a cord of wood.
I even think I could follow their instructions for sharpening an axe and maintaining a chainsaw. One of my newest gardening passions is raising herbs. Storey’s Basic Country Skills has a chapter called The Herb Garden where recipes for herbal vinegars and herbal soap are scattered among descriptions of 32 common herbs and how to grow them. There are even diagrams for a first aid garden and a cold and flu garden!
This book is for everyone!
Storey’s Basic Country Skills reminds me of a fascinating multi-room house with countless intriguing nooks and crannies to explore. No matter what it is that interests, challenges, or puzzles you in your rural life or dreams, you’re sure to find this book enlightening and a great addition to your library. See for yourself how versatile a book Basic Country Skills is!
Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs
Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs
By Kelly Klober
While there are many similarities in the care and management of livestock, each one has its own unique set of requirements. When we decided to get our first pigs, we started reading everything we could find in preparation. So Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs was a timely book for us to review. We really needed all the information and would be applying it firsthand.
This book covers all aspects of care and management of pigs. It also includes great info on breeds and various facility options. Right off, the helpful introduction gives the reader a foundation of information about pig history, meat production, and general porcine facts. A section called Hog Myths dispels some of the age-old stereotypes about pigs.
Did you know that pigs don’t wallow in mud because they like to get dirty? Actually, since they don’t perspire, that’s how they stay cool. The concept of pigs being dangerous stems from encounters with feral hogs in years gone by. Modern domesticated pigs are actually quite docile.
Chapters of this book are devoted to hog breeds, raising pigs, home butchering, showing pigs, and business aspects of a hog operation. More chapters cover facility preparation, breeding stock, management and health care. The final chapter, titled “Day-to-Day Life with Hogs,” is chock full of additional tidbits of info. The appendix features calendars, forms for record-keeping, a glossary, and a resource list.
If this book doesn’t cover all the bases, it sure comes very close. Text is accompanied by photos and diagrams, and Storey Publishing’s hallmark sidebars of information are present throughout the book. This edition of Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs is a recent version of a 1997 edition. Author Kelly Klober, who has raised hogs for over thirty years, has done a great job of updating information and adding new material.
In our opinion, Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs lacks only one “how-to.” The other day we were in dire need of a quick tutorial in “how to chase an escapee piglet around your 3-acre property.” We’re happy to say we succeeded in cornering little piggy and returning him to the pen. And thanks to Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs, we knew exactly how to carry him. Grabbing ears and legs is okay, but one should never support a pig by the tail, which is part of the spinal system.