Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Made from Scratch review (and a bit of rambling)

If you know me (like, in person know me), you understand that I really do strive to live life somewhat simply and without a whole lot of stress/stuff/extras/etc...."strive" being the main word here. It never works out as planned, no matter how hard I try, and I just happen to be anxious/a worrier by nature and so my "no stress" life ends up leading to a lot more anxiety than possibly necessary for one person. However, that doesn't mean I stop seeking out inspiration as to how to live simpler in any book I can find!

Last year, I came across this book, that I just loved, and inspired me to take on gardening in my little backyard in the suburbs of a large city. What resulted this year was most definitely a learning experience and I'll be tweaking things (or completely changing them) next year. And now, I've found Made from Scratch by Jenna Woginrich, which just may have inspired me to take on a whole lot more...though I draw the line at chickens/rabbits. 

Woginrich is a Web designer by day, but by night she gives the homemade life a go. She orders chickens for her small (and rented) backyard, cultivates a garden, attempts beekeeping and making her own clothing, as well as stocking her house with recycled (a.k.a. antique) kitchen utensils. While we learn about her escapades, some successful, some not, we also get a basic overview as to how to go about taking these activities on ourselves.

Each chapter begins with Woginrich's personal experience with each homesteading task, from the horror of discovering half her new bees have flown away to learning dogs + baby chicks simply do not mix, and lots of other fun and exciting (and sometimes sad) tidbits. The next part of the chapter includes the guidelines for doing the same activity yourself. She went through the hard part, so we can take away the good stuff!

Also included are a few recipes, some patterns, and a lot of great resources for those looking to take that next step in homesteading. I don't plan to go nearly as far as this gal does, but her tips and encouragement are certainly inspirational.

I would really love to start making my own bread, though my experience with baking has been less than stellar to say the least, so that will take some work. I would also really like to spend more of my money locally, though I do frequent the farmer's market for my produce. Unfortunately, our budget has not allowed for buying local produce AND local meat/honey/jam/etc, so I've had to be choosy, but with the new job, I'm hoping to expand a bit on that.

This is a fun book to just explore for ideas or just for leisure reading. It's a really quick read...I made it through in less than 2 hours, and you'll learn a lot, laugh a lot, and come away with more inspiration than most books pack in 500 pages. And all from a woman MY age. Awesome!
Just a quick note on the cover...NOT a fan of the paperback cover at all. I really like the crafty look of the hardcover (to the left) and wish the publisher/designer had stuck with that when they put out the paperback. 

Overall rating: 4 out of 5

Made From Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life
Jenna Woginrich
208 pages
Adult Non-Fiction
Storey Publishing, LLC
December 2008
Book borrowed from my local library

To learn more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon. I am an Associate and will receive a small percentage of the purchase price. Thanks!


Charlotte said...

I will look for this one! I daydream of keeping bees myself...

And backyard chickens are actually very little work at all--and it's nice to have a way of disposing of kitchen scraps in an efficient fashion!

Three Turtles and Their Pet Librarian said...

Definitely sounds like something I want to read - I just sent the suggestion to the adult department, then realized we already have it - and someone has it checked out. How rude! :)

Jennie said...

Baking bread is lots of fun, and not that hard, especially if you use the food processor (which I do if I'm in a hurry. I tend to only hand-knead if I have some anger that needs to be constructively channeled.)

If you're new to bread, I recommend starting with the pizza crust recipe in How to Cook Everything by Bittman, because it's pretty forgiving. Also, PIZZA.

Janssen said...

Just requested it. This looks great!

literarywife said...

I loooooove this book, too! It is so inspirational and makes the simple life sound. . . simple

Amanda said...

Charlotte, I don't think I'm straying from raising chickens for the difficulty factor, it's more the crazy dogs that live with me. They love to chase! I'm sure they could be trained to not, but at this point, I'm not willing to spend the time!

Three Turtles, how rude indeed!

Jennie, I actually DO make pizza crust at least once a week! I think it's just the term "bread" that scares me a little. And honestly, we don't use that much bread around here, but it sure would be nice to not have to pay for it when we do!