A Householder's Guide to the Universe: A Calendar of Basics for the Home and Beyond [NOOK Book]


Nowadays, “go local,” “organic food,” and “sustainability” are on the tip of everyone's tongue. Harriet Fasenfest's A Householder's Guide to the Universe takes up the banner of progressive homemaking and urban farming as a way to confront the political, social, and environmental issues facing the world. While offering plenty of useful advice on how to do common household chores sustainably, Fasenfest goes deeper to discuss the philosophy of "householding." The book is organized in monthly installments according ...
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A Householder's Guide to the Universe: A Calendar of Basics for the Home and Beyond

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Nowadays, “go local,” “organic food,” and “sustainability” are on the tip of everyone's tongue. Harriet Fasenfest's A Householder's Guide to the Universe takes up the banner of progressive homemaking and urban farming as a way to confront the political, social, and environmental issues facing the world. While offering plenty of useful advice on how to do common household chores sustainably, Fasenfest goes deeper to discuss the philosophy of "householding." The book is organized in monthly installments according to season, and the author invites readers into her own home, garden, and kitchen to consider concrete tools for change. Streetwise and poetic, fierce and romantic, the book is more than just a blueprint for escaping the current economic and environmental logjam — it’s also a readable and pithy analysis of how we got there.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Part manifesto, part confessional, yet totally practical and attainable, Fasenfest's inviting, impassioned guide delineates precise ways homeowners can develop the skill sets necessary for self-sufficiency."

"A Householder’s Guide to the Universe is like a thick slice of rhubarb pie. Tart, saucy, colorful. . . [Fasenfest] charts a month-by-month plan of attack—and make no mistake, she’s a kitchen warrior, picking and preserving her edibles like a many-armed Ganesh—inviting urbanites to harvest and ferment their way to a more tasty, meaningful life."
Willamette Week

“Householding, in Harriet's view, is about a return to the rhythms and traditions of gardening, food storage, cooking and family life, all of which she fervently believes grounds people. . . If you're thinking about really throwing yourself into gardening and home life, this is a good book to get.”

"A Householder’s Guide to the Universe is not quite the typical DIY homemaking manual—it is part autobiography, part reference manual, part garden journal. . . Fasenfest is simultaneously expert and self-depreciating, funny and then deeply personal."

"Whether you choose to read Fasenfest’s tome on a month-by-month basis, turn straight to the planting guide or spend an afternoon gleaning nuggets from the instructional and inspirations gems contained within, be prepared to look at your own universe a little differently."
Cascadia Weekly

"Reading [Fasenfest's] advice, you can't help but get caught up in her urban homesteading revolution and the notion that it will cure what ails our culture."
The Eugene Register-Guard

"Harriet Fasenfast is a skilled urban homesteader with a lot to share. I love the way she weaves together practical gardening tips and food preservation techniques with relevant personal stories and philosophical reflections. A Householder's Guide to the Universe is charming and inviting, sure to be a source of inspiration to anyone aspiring to get closer to the source and produce their own food."—Sandor Ellix Katz, author of Fermentation and The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved

"This is a wonderful book. Harriet Fasenfest is like a wise and kind
Northwestern neighbor who has time for you."
- Shannon Hayes, author of Radical Homemakers, The Grassfed Gourmet, and The Farmer and the Grill

"When [Harriet Fasenfest's] book arrived last fall, I gobbled it up like a thriller, because it's so full of good information, and I wanted to see what she was going to do next. A Householder's Guide to the Universe isn't a strict DIY book, nor is it just a memoir, nor is it solely an examination of how corporations have colonized even the most personal corners of our lives—it's all of those and more."—Bookslut

Library Journal
Fasenfest, a former restaurant owner and cook, writes an intimate reflection on a year of "householding," the art of managing the small-scale economy of a household. The book is organized by month, and each chapter is divided into "Home," "Kitchen," and "Garden" sections. Readers will find concrete tips on planting, harvesting, canning, preserving, and cleaning. Fasenfest skillfully cultivates an appreciation for skills that have been lost in our modern quest for convenience, while also showing readers why householding makes sense as an antidote to the destruction of our current economic system. VERDICT Helpful charts, a scattering of recipes, and personal stories make this hybrid how-to/memoir an enjoyable and informative read for aspiring urban homesteaders as well as those who would rather household vicariously. Readers who enjoyed Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life will find something to appreciate here. [Four-city tour.]—Rukshana Singh, Torrance P.L., CA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780982569160
  • Publisher: Tin House Books
  • Publication date: 11/1/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 260
  • Sales rank: 468,676
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Harriet Fasenfest is an avid gardener, food preserver, homemaker, and lover of the soil. Born and raised in the Bronx, Fasenfest currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, two sons, and the occasional "stranger." At fifty-six, she officially fled Main Street (and her restaurants) for the greener pastures of the backyard, where she teaches classes on householding.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 10


The Home 22

Personal Inventories

Hair Shirts


Clay Ashtrays

The Garden 28

Walking the Yard

Making Maps

Side-Dish Gardening


The Kitchen 36

Creating Your Stores

True Costs

Harvest Times

Meet the Farmers

The Value of Home Cooking


The Home 44

The Family System

The Garden 52

Making Your Plan

Harriet's Hit List

The Kitchen 64

Calculating and Creating Storage Space


The Home 74

Creating a Budget-From Kids to Boomers

The Garden 86

On Sowing the Seeds of Potatoes, Peas, and Prudence

The Kitchen 97

The Preserving Game Plan

County Extension

The Gleaner's Ethic


The Home 108

Spring Cleaning

The Garden 117

Sowing Carrots

Beets and Greens

Keeping Out Kitty

Building Raised Beds

The Kitchen 123

Building Your Outdoor Kitchen

The Story of Raw Milk

Making Butter and Buttermilk


The Home 134

Teach Your Children Well

The Garden 141


Meals at the Table



Eating Dirt

The Love of Herbs

The Kitchen 153

The Story of Meat, from Pasture to Table


The Home 176

The Happy World of the Generalist

The Garden 184

The Guilt of the Gardener

Transplanting Tomato Starts

The Wild Kingdom

Slugs Be Damned

The Kitchen 194



Genetic Modification

Wild Things

The Alchemy of Jam-Making


The Home 225

A Home of Mom's Making

The Garden 231

The Truth behind Gardening Guides

The Importance of Mulch

Thinking Like a Plant

The Kitchen 237

A Quick Cup of Coffee

Mama Darden




The Home 250

The New Barn Building

The Garden 255

Sowing Carrots-Again

Troubleshooting Cucumbers

Taking Stock of the Harvest

The Kitchen 264

The Pears of Epiphany

My Temperamental Peaches

Walking the Rows

The Godfather of Ferments

Loving Me Some Plums


The Home 281

Taking In the Stranger

The Garden 286

Pulling Up Potatoes

Planting Cover Crops

The Winter Garden

The Kitchen 294

Canning Tomatoes

Drying Fruit


The New Benevolent Overseers

The University of Grandmothers


The Home 315


The Garden 319

Sowing Garlic and Shallots

Cleaning Up the Garden

Lurching toward Darkness

The Kitchen 324

Green Tomatoes

The Root Cellar


Romancing the Squeezo


The Home 345


The Garden 350

Raking Leaves


The Final Reckoning

The Kitchen 356


Pantry Cooking


Holiday Hoo-Ha


The Home 370


The Power of "Out There"

The Garden 375

Best-Laid Plans

Fancy Talk

Potato Mind

The Kitchen 379




The Future

Index 391

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