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The 10 Best Homesteading Books You Will Ever Read

This winter, one of my goals was to read more about homesteading. It’s so hard to find time to read during the spring and summer, when the list of chores is piling up. From feeding pigs to birthing lambs and everything in between, it seems like there’s barely time to get anything done – even to sleep!

But this winter, I did make an effort to do some more reading. I feel like reading about homesteading is a great way to find inspiration, particularly if you find yourself growing burned out at the end of a hectic gardening season.

In addition, these books can help you gain background knowledge on what to expect and how to become a better homesteader. While nothing really substitutes for having true, first-hand experience, knowing that you’re on the right track by reading about other people’s adventures can help you improve in the long run.

You might not be thinking about your winter reading list quite yet, but here are some suggestions to get you started when you finally get there:

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1. The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs by Joel Salatin

I can’t say enough good things about this book. To be honest, this was the book that first got my husband and I were hooked on the idea of starting a small farm. It’s incredibly well-written with just the right amount of worship.

There are a fair amount of Biblical references in it, but Salatin does a nice job of weaving them in and using them to support his views on modern agriculture – it doesn’t feel like he’s preaching. I’ve recommended this to friends and family who are religious and not so religious, and both come away with the same overall message – we need to change the way we think about our food and our farms.

Buy it here: click me!

2. The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery

This book is a great read if you are searhcing for inpsiration – you’ll want to set out to change the world after reaidng it! It covers everything from soap making to funiture building to livestock processing – as well as everything in between.

This book is on the older side, written during the 1970s back-to-the-land movement, and it’s stood the test of time ever since. There’s also a ton of bonus recipes you can use for canning and other activities. The name encylcopedia barely does it justice – with massive fold-out pages and tons of content jammed into it, this book is truly one of the most comprehensive guides to homesteading you can find.

Buy it here: click me!

3. How to Make Money Homesteading: So You Can Enjoy a Secure, Self-Sufficient Life by Tim Young

Whenever I ask my Instagram followers what they’re interested in learning more about regarding homesteading, I almost always get the same answer back: they want to learn more about how you can make homesteading profitable.

Let’s face it – most of us don’t get into this for the money. However, being self-reliant requires some sort of ingenuity in rubbing two pennies together, and this book has some great tips on how to do it.

Author Tim Young walks you through every step of the process, helping you find sources of income on the farm. As a major advocate of finding new sources of passive income, I was delighted to see that this book covers potential sources of passive income (ie, money you don’t have to work day in and day out) as well as active income.

If you’re still looking for ideas on how to fund your farm, make sure you check out my blog post about how to finance your farm for free.

Buy it here: click me!

4. The Prairie Homestead Cookbook: Simple Recipes for Heritage Cooking in Any Kitchen by Jill Winger

I’m a huge fan of Jill Winger’s and her Pinterest page alone has provided tons of inspiration for me as a homesteader. She’s the founder of The Prairie Homestead blog and recently released the Prairie Homestead Cookbook, which is jam-packed with over a hundred different tasty recipes for the family.

I’ll admit, when I first looked into this book, I scoffed – I consider myself a pretty decent cook, and one who is familiar with recipes that could be considered more out-of-the-box. However, I was impressed by the variety and ingenuity of some of the recipes in this book. The recipes have a modern flair to them, meaning you’ll never be bored trying these out in your kitchen. There’s really something here for everyone!

Buy it here: click me!

5. Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Walden isn’t a stand-alone agricultural story, but it’s one that can inspire the inner environmentalist in you. And as we all know, environmentalism and the homesteading movement really go hand in hand.

I read this book way back in college, which is where my desire to feel more connected to the land first emerged. If you’re interested in learning more about observing and enjoying nature, this book is one you must have on your shelf.

Buy it here: click me!

6. Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin

I told myself I wouldn’t include two books by the same author on this list, but I really couldn’t eliminate this second piece by Joel Salatin. I tore through this book in one short airplane ride and learned so much about how we are so far removed from the joy of sustainability.

What I love about this book is that it doesn’t just decry the abominations of modern-day agriculture- it also gives us solutions for how we can get back to appreciating and being involved in the production of our own food.

Buy it here: click me!

7. Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig

Nourishing Traditions is another cookbook but it puts a healthier spin on many traditional homestead recipes. I love that it includes details about how you can include healthier fats (yes, lard!) and fermented foods while at the same time making it easier to incorporate these recipes in your everyday life.

Buy it here: click me!

8. Soil Sisters: A Toolkit for Women Farmers

I’ve written quite a bit about the sexism that prevails in our modern day agricultural system. But the reality is that women are taking over the industry with great enthusiasm, and so it’s great to see that there’s a book detailing the struggles that we, as women farmers, deal with. Even if you aren’t female, this book is incredibly interesting and can provide you with a new perspective on farming.

This book does have some political and feminist undertones, so be prepared for a little bit of controversy. That being said, it’s a great, quick read that will definitely inspire you to pick up the pitchfork to pursue your dreams of becoming a farmer.

Buy it here: click me!

9. DIY Projects for the Self-Sufficient Homeowner: 25 Ways to Build a Self-Reliant Lifestyle by Betsy Matheson

If you’re a homesteader, let’s face it – Pinterest will only get you so far! Collecting creative ideas for DIY projects around the farm is great, but you also need to be able to know how to do those things for yourself, too.

This book provides a great starting place for aspiring homesteader DIY-ers. You can read about everything from winterizing your barn to building a raised bed – as well as more eclectic luxuries like building homestead hot tubs!

Buy it here: click me!

10. The Weekend Homesteader: A Twelve-Month Guide to Self-Sufficiency

I know very few homesteaders who were able to get their dreams off the ground without having to work another job full- or at least part- time. This book helps remove some of the overwhelm in starting a homestead while living a double life. It gives you practical advice and a list of tasks that you can get done on the weekend – making it easier to start your homestead without sacrificing your sole income.

Buy it here: click me!

This list of the best homesteading books is by no means comprehensive – you probably already know that there is no shortage of awesome reads out there for you to explore.

However, if you can find the time to read a few of these books in your quieter seasons, you’ll be blown away by how much knowledge you’re able to gain about homesteading and living the self-sufficient life – all without having to step foot outside!

What are some of your other favorite homesteading books? Weigh in by leaving a comment below. Make sure you follow us on Instagram (@jrpiercefamilyfarm) and Pinterest (J&R Pierce Family Farm) for regular updates and photos! We’d also love it if you’d subscribe to our email newsletter, where we will offer regular updates, discounts, and information on all the latest homesteading information. Thanks for reading!

Author: Rebekah PierceI'm a writer and small farm owner, and lover of everything outdoors. I'm hoping to share my passion for farming, gardening, and homesteading with you on my blogging journey.

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