Nonfiction: The Urban Homestead

A few weeks ago, we went on a Barnes and Noble shopping spree. I had over $100 of gift cards, and the day’s shopping was to benefit the Ankeny Community Theater. Since most of said Gift Cards came from my in-laws, who are very active in ACT, it seemed only fitting to spend them in a way that would benefit the theater. (Plus, I owe the very fact that I had in-laws to receive those cards from to the Ankeny Community Theater.)

Anyway. One of the books I purchased was The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City. I just finished it today.

I liked it, and it does have me all inspired.

It also has problems. Namely, the authors seem to never have lived (or perhaps even traveled?) outside of California. And they do not seem to have considered the possibility of shady yards, freezing winters, and building codes other than their own. It’s that kind of arrogance that lifelong residents of either coast tend to have. You know, that old cartoon from the New Yorker showing what the US looks like to a New Yorker…

They mention other parts of the country a few times, mostly the South, but those seem to be afterthoughts.

But whatever, I can look beyond that. I am obviously smart enough to realize that any graywater system would need to be built to accommodate freezing winter temps. I know better than to store my root vegetables in my unheated, uninsulated garage all winter (hello, frozen vegetables).

There were also, as you would expect, a LOT of references to global warming, Al Gore, and other liberal-love topics. I found the number of “do it for the planet” statements to be a bit much, and oddly startling, since I had bought a book on urban homesteading, not on saving the planet. One assumes, I guess, that, at least to the authors, urban homesteaders must be doing it for the environment.

Besides these two shortcomings, the book was pretty good. A fast read, but a good one. Lots of ideas, lots of references to other sources. The book’s purpose seemed to be to get ideas going, to give you places to start, and then to send you to places to get more details. I loved that aspect, since too many books try to be the be-all source, but lack the space to really do justice to their topics. This sort of “we’ll give you the basics, and then places to get the details” way of tackling the diverse subjects covered was just perfect.

So I’m inspired, but need more time to think on many of these things. Gardening will wait until next year, regardless, but they do have me thinking in different ways about raising animals for food here. They might have talked me out of graywater for our house. Into a bigger and better rainwater system. I came up with my own idea for composting that I think is awesomely simple. And now I’m definitely going to look up plans for a solar oven. (I want to bake bread in the summer, I don’t want to turn on my oven.)

OH, and also, the book had just enough references to the coming zombie invasion to make me giggle, while appreciating their shared sense of humor about said zombie invasion. It never hurts to be prepared.


One response to “Nonfiction: The Urban Homestead

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s