This is the book that started it all for me. My mom had this book when I was growing up. As a teenager I was fascinated with the concept of living off the land, making things myself, and immersing myself in nature through gardening and time spent outdoors. I spent literally hours of my teenaged life pouring over Back to Basics, planning my own future homestead. As my own tiny effort I had a mini container garden in my bedroom with carrots and I even started a spindly maple tree. In our backyard I planted more carrots and parsley. This book was my inspiration. It not only has gardening tips (like how to grow celery - a difficult plant to be sure), but it also shows you how to lay out your homestead, build a log cabin, and to make your own cheese. This is a fabulous reference book to pick up when you have a few spare minutes to peruse the various skills it teaches, or for a good in-depth read when you have more time.
There is a newer addition out, but I've read that it's pretty much the old book with a few updates. (The earlier version was published in 1981, so a few updates wouldn't hurt.) Either way, get ahold of this book. It's lots of fun and by learning the skills it teaches you are continuing important traditions and gaining a little more of that valuable self-reliance! Not to mention it's a wonderful book to help you dream about your own future homestead.
Here are the sections of this book:
Part One - Land: Buying It - Building on It
Part Two - Energy From Wood, Water, Wind, and Sun
Part Three - Raising Your Own Vegetables, Fruit, and Livestock
Part Four - Enjoying Your Harvest the Year Round
Part Five - Skills and Crafts for House and Homestead
Part Six - Recreation at Home and in the Wild
Excerpt from the introduction:
"Back to Basics is a book about the simple life. It is about old-fashioned ways of doing things, and old fashioned craftsmanship, and old-fashioned food, and old-fashioned fun. It is also about independence - the kind of down-home self-reliance that our grandparents and great grandparents took for granted, but that we moderns often think has vanished forever, along with supermarket tomatoes that taste good, packaged bread that does not have additives, and holidays that are not commercialized. At its heart, Back to Basics is a how-to book packed with hundreds of projects, step-by-step sequences, charts, tables, diagrams, and illustrations to help you and your family reestablish control over your day-to-day lives."