Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills / Edition 3

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Anyone who wants to learn basic living skills—the kind employed by our forefathers—and adapt them for a better life in the twenty-first century need look no further than this eminently useful, full-color guide. Countless readers have turned to Back to Basics for inspiration and instruction, escaping to an era before power saws and fast food restaurants and rediscovering the pleasures and challenges of a healthier, greener, and more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Now newly updated, the hundreds of projects, step-by-step sequences, photographs, charts, and illustrations in Back to Basics will help you dye your own wool with plant pigments, graft trees, raise chickens, craft a hutch table with hand tools, and make treats such as blueberry peach jam and cheddar cheese. The truly ambitious will find instructions on how to build a log cabin or an adobe brick homestead. More than just practical advice, this is also a book for dreamers—even if you live in a city apartment you will find your imagination sparked, and there's no reason why you can't, for example, make a loom and weave a rag rug. Complete with tips for old-fashioned fun (square dancing calls, homemade toys, and kayaking tips), this may be the most thorough book on voluntary simplicity available.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781602392335
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/17/2008
  • Series: Back to Basics Guides Series
  • Edition description: Third Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 139,580
  • Product dimensions: 10.90 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Abigail R. Gehring is the editor of Back to Basics, Homesteading,
and Self-Sufficiency, and author of Odd Jobs and Dangerous Jobs. She’s practiced living self-sufficiently since her childhood in Vermont, being home-schooled, home-canning jams and jellies,
and enjoying natural crafts. She lives in New York City and Windham,
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Outstanding Book!

    Hats off to the editors and publisher of this awesome collection of more traditional skills, some of which are fast fading into memory. The book begins with locating and fashioning the home itself, detailing how to dig footers and a well, raise a log home, build a fireplace and moves on to gardening and pruning.

    The reader is also instructed in obtaining and maintaining food sources, such as geese, ducks and rabbits, as well as canning, pickling, salting and smoking foods for the coming winter ahead. The intricacies of braided rugs and patchwork quilts are explained, as well as the art of making moccasins, baskets, simple furniture, brooms, candles, soap and natural cosmetics. Learn how to spin your own wool and dye the fleece with dozens of natural dyes.

    Although practice will certainly improve the reader's skills, there is enough information contained in this book to launch an individual in the wilderness or on a rustic farm with a good measure of success. This is a must read for those who embrace a more traditional lifestyle and is a real asset to one's permanent library.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2008

    A reviewer

    What a great informative read: and a book to browse again and again. It's a wonderful resource for those who want to become more self sufficient. It covers everything from buying land and building a house on it, through producing your own energy and food, to those skills and crafts of the traditional homestead. Best of all, each section has links to other, more detailed resources. It's also a great resource for dreamers and those who aren't ready to move 'off the grid.' The last section was the most interesting to me. Preserving my own food, making my own furniture, soap, maple syrup, it's stuff I've always wanted to do. 'Back to Basics' is the guide.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2008

    A reviewer

    I checked this book out at the library at first. I scanned through it and then one of my kids picked it up and looked through it and then my husband got it and I never got it back. After he had it for a couple of weeks and marked some of the pages, he told me to go buy it. He hates to read and he has read the book and taken notes. I too have found alot of valuable information in this book. I love it and now I am here buying it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    Very happy with purchase

    I bought this book and are very impressed with it. No matter what your motivation is in reading books like this, this book is the one you need to read. Very suprised with all the topics covered and how well each one is covered. Get this book!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Becoming More Self-Sufficient

    We can't all buy some old farmland, build our own house, grow our own fruits, vegetables, livestock, and get off the grid. But we might want to drift in that direction. We all might want to become a little more self sufficient.This book shows how. It's full of brief, illustrated chapters on stuff like "Buying land and Building on it," and "Enjoying Your Harvest Year Round."The section on Baking your own bread is the best I've seen.There's a lot to learn, I found, in becoming more self sufficient. It's all written simply, with extremely informative illustrations and sources for more detailed information, plus an index.I know I'm going to be preserving some vegetables this year. And maybe making a piece of furniture. There's a satisfaction in that I can't get any other way.This isn't a book to read straight through, I think. It's more to dip into here and there. It's even got some first aid information, and some herbal remedies.It's the most practical thing I've picked up in a long time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2009

    Back to Basics

    I am very glad I purchased this book to help me get back to basics!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good book to have

    This is a good book to add to your library

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    Posted December 12, 2011

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    Posted March 27, 2009

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