Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills

Front Cover
Skyhorse Publishing Inc., 2008 - House & Home - 456 pages
2 Reviews
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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Contents

Buying It Building on
9
Buying Country Property
10
Planning Your Home
14
Preparing the Site
18
Converting Trees Into Lumber
22
Building a Log Cabin
26
Building With Adobe
36
Building a Stone House
42
Maple Sugaring
242
Homemade Beverages
244
Baking Bread
252
Regional Cooking
256
Cooking With Wood
264
Part Five Skills and Crafts for House and Homestead
269
Natural Dyes
270
Spinning
274

Raising a Barn
48
Developing a Water Supply
54
Saunas and Hot Tubs
58
Sanitation
60
Fireplace Construction and Design
62
Stone Walls and Brick Pavements
66
Fences
70
Part Two Energy From Wood Water Wind and
75
Making Your House Energy Efficient
76
Wood as a Fuel
82
Heating With Wood
86
Waterpower
94
Wind Power
104
Solar Energy
110
Other Energy Sources
122
Part Three Raising Your Own Vegetables Fruit And Livestock
125
The Kitchen Garden
126
Gardening in Limited Space
148
Herb Gardens
151
Fruits and Nuts
154
Pest Control
168
Grains and Grasses
172
Beekeeping
176
Fish Farming
180
Raising Livestock
182
Part Four Enjoying Your Harvest The Year Round
201
Preserving Produce
202
Preserving Meat and Fish
222
Making Your Own Dairy Products
232
Weaving
278
Hooked Rugs
284
Braided Rugs
286
Patchwork Quilting
288
Rope and Twine
294
Tanning and Leatherwork
296
Woodworking
302
Broommaking
332
Scrimshaw
334
Household Recipes
336
Metalworking
344
Stenciling
362
Flower Drying and Pressed Flowers
366
Gourd Craft
367
Soapmaking
368
Candlemaking
372
Basketry
374
Part Six Recreation at Home And in the Wild
383
Oldtime Good Times
384
Crafting a Mountain Dulcimer
390
Celebrating Holidays
392
Canoeing and Kayaking
398
Wilderness Camping
406
Outdoors in Winter
430
Fishing
436
Living With Nature
442
The Extension Service and Other Groups Index
446
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About the author (2008)

Abigail R. Gehring is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Homesteading Handbook and The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Living. She lives in New York City and Windham, Vermont.

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