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At From Scratch magazine, we get a lot of books to review. Sometimes, if we have the time, we review them. Other times, we get to busy and cannot.

At this point, I currently have 7 books on my desk for review, including: Happy Hens and Fresh Eggs, by Signe Langford; The Urban Homesteading Cookbook, by Michelle Catherine Nelson; Making Stuff & Doing Things, edited by Kyle Bravo; Make Your Place: Affordable, Sustainable Nesting Skills, by Raleigh Briggs; Home Sweet Homegrown: How to grow, make and store food, no matter where you live, by Robyn Jasko, illustrated by Jennifer Biggs; Amica’s World: How a giant bird came into our heart and home, by Washo and Meadow Shadowhawk; and Sprouts: Live well with living foods, by Ian Giesbrecht.

That’s a lot of books.

And, since our readers are interested in all of these books — probably, they are absolutely beautiful works and we tend to have smarter than average readers 😉 — I’ve decided that we have a new policy. Every time we review the book, we’ll give away our review copy.

Putting time and effort into writing a book is hard, and considering that most author’s only pull down about $10,000 a year from book sales and advances (many of them not even that), we want to celebrate these offers and make them as widely known as possible.

So, every time you share this post on Facebook, we’ll enter you into a contest to win one of these books.

To kick this new policy off, we’ll give away 8 books (we have two copies of Happy Hens and Fresh Eggs) to 8 readers on Black Friday (books make the best gifts!).

Every other day, until Black Friday, we’ll update this post with a review of a new book and you can check them all out, right here. As soon as we pick the winners and we get confirmation from them via Facebook, we’ll announce them on this blog and mail the copies out to the winners!

If you’re interested in purchasing any of these books, we’ll provide links for you to do so via Amazon.

How to win:

First, share this post on Facebook via the button on the page. Then, enter your email address in the Google Form at the bottom of the page. That’s it. If you have any questions, contact me at [email protected] (note: I cannot enter the contest for you). Good luck!

Note on reviews:

I don’t do negative reviews. Writing a book is hard and a little bit of a thankless task. Putting words on a page for hours and days and weeks and months is mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting. I’m not going to disparage anyone’s creative efforts. If I don’t like a book, I’ll simply not review it (which doesn’t mean, for any writers reading, that if you sent me a book I didn’t like it, my to-do list is about 3.76 miles long and sometimes I’m just not able to do things). If you, or someone you know has a book they’d like us to review and giveaway, contact me at [email protected]

The books:

(Editor’s notes: All the information below is taken from Amazon and or publisher’s sites. As we review the books, we’ll make note of that and change out the information with a paragraph or two about the book and a link to the full review).

Happy Hens and Fresh Eggs: Keeping Chickens in the Kitchen Garden, with 100 recipes; by Signe Langford

happy-hens

Today’s renaissance of the backyard flock is driven by a growing desire for healthy organic ingredients, food security and animal welfare—and while hunger might be “the best sauce,” a dash of self-sufficiency is remarkably satisfying too. As communities across the country amend urban bylaws to allow backyard flocks, more and more of us are enjoying the pleasures and rewards of keeping hens in the garden.

In addition to tending her family’s flock as a child, Signe Langford has kept chickens in her urban yard for almost a decade. Her book is stuffed full of practical advice on keeping the garden both gorgeous and productive and hens happy and healthy. In addition to answering questions about coop construction, year-round egg production and whether or not a rooster is really needed, she covers the best breeds for backyards. Langford includes dozens of simple and elegant recipes from her own kitchen, as well as contributions from celebrated chefs.

With beautiful photographs, illustrations and garden plans, this book is sure to become a favorite of avid and aspiring backyard farmers alike.

— From Amazon

Sprouts: Live Well With Living Foods, by Ian Giesbrecht

sprouts

Want to enjoy delicious, homegrown food year-round? Sprouts offers an accessible, holistic, and unique guide to incorporating microgreens and sprouted foods into any lifestyle. In the modern age, many of us crave a healthier, simpler diet and a closer connection to our food sources, and sprouting can help us to bridge those divides. Farmer and food activist Ian Giesbrecht’s straightforward and easy-to-understand theory of sprouting is accompanied by practical instructions, illustrations, charts, and recipes, covering many types of seeds and styles of sprouting. Suitable for anyone with an interest in living and raw food diets, indoor gardening, or simply the joy of growing something, this book contains enough information and inspiration to get you sprouting for a healthier, happier life.

— From Amazon

Amica’s World: How a giant bird came into our heart and home, by Washo and Meadow Shadowhawk

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Amica is a rhea—a flightless bird in the ratite family, related to ostriches, emus, and kiwis. Amica was adopted as a young chick and in turn quickly adopted mother and son Meadow and Washo Shadowhawk as his flock and made himself at home in their living room.

Now an adult, Amica stands nearly six feet tall, and has a six-foot wingspan. By day he roams the backyard, exploring, running, and building nests, along with his friends the chickens and the dog. At night, he watches television and sleeps in the living room with his friend the cat.

What’s it like living with a rhea? As you’ll discover in the words and photos in this book, it is never boring, and requires massive sacrifices. Rheas, which are typically hunted or raised as livestock, are highly intelligent and expressive, with a humanlike range of emotions. Amica’s extraordinary story shows the powerful and surprising connections that can be forged between humans and animals.

— From Amazon

Home Sweet Homegrown: How to grow, make and store food, no matter where you live; by Robyn Jasko, illustrated by Jennifer Biggs

home-sweet-homegrown

This succinct handbook is packed with practical information that will inspire and enable those who want to grow their own food and venture down the path of food independence. From choosing and starting seeds to preserving the harvest, cost effective and time-saving projects are set forth in detail. Instructions for making DIY planters and irrigation systems, designs for upcycling old furniture into gardening stations, recipes for homemade organic plant sprays, charts listing dollars-and-cents breakdowns of homegrown versus store-bought produce, and growing guides for fruits or vegetables are just a few of the projects that will inspire neophyte and experienced gardeners to dig deep into sustainable living.

— From Amazon

Make your place: Affordable, sustainable nesting skills; by Raleigh Briggs

make-your-place

Raleigh Briggs teaches us how to craft a sustainable domestic life without relying on smelly, toxic, expensive consumer products. And it’s not as hard as we may think! This hand written and drawn book of charming tutorials is both fun and accessible. It’s full of simple skills that anyone can and should learn. From creating tinctures and salves to concocting all-natural cleaners and body products to gardening basics, this book is great for anyone looking to live more simply, create a comfortable nest, and truly do it yourself.

— From Amazon

Making Stuff and Doing Things: DIY guides to just about everything; edited by Kyle Bravo

making-stuff-and-doing-things

When you’re young, broke, and in search of a life of adventure, Making Stuff and Doing Things is the most useful book on the planet. It’s been called “more important than the Bible.” It’s an indispensable handbook full of basic life skills for the young punk or activist, or for anyone who’s trying to get by, get stuff done, and live life to the fullest without a lot of money. The book started in the 90s as a series of zines, with dozens of contributors setting down the most important skills they knew in concise, often hand-written pages. If you want to do it yourself or do it together, this book has it all, from making your own tooth paste to making your own art and media, feeding, clothing, cleaning, and entertaining yourself, surviving on little, living on less, and staying healthy on all your life’s adventures. You’ll never be bored again.

— From Amazon

The Urban Homesteading Cookbook: Forage, Farm, Ferment and Feast for a Better World; by Michelle Catherine Nelson

urban-homesteading-cookbook

With food culture in the midst of a do-it-yourself renaissance, urbanites everywhere are relishing craft beers, foraged ingredients, sustainable seafoods, ethically raised meats and homemade condiments and charcuterie. Inspired by the delicious creativity of local artisans, chefs, brewmasters and mixologists, Michelle Nelson began urban homesteading in her downtown apartment. Armed with a passion for food and farming, and a PhD in conservation biology and sustainable agriculture, she shares her hard-won knowledge and recipes with readers interested in collecting, growing and preserving sustainable food—even when living in an apartment or condo.

In The Urban Homesteading Cookbook, Nelson explores the worlds of foraging wild urban edibles, eating invasive species, keeping micro-livestock, bees and crickets, growing perennial vegetables in pots, small-space aquaponics, preserving meats and produce, making cheese and slow-fermenting sourdough, beer, vinegar, kombucha, kefir and pickles. Nelson fervently believes that by taking more control of our own food we will become better empowered to understand our relationships with the environment, and embrace sustainable lifestyles and communities.

With 70 fabulous recipes, including sesame panko-crusted invasive bullfrog legs, seaweed kimchi, rabbit pate with wild chanterelles, roasted Japanese knotweed panna cotta and dark and stormy chocolate cupcakes with cricket flour— this exciting new book is sure to inspire readers to embark on their own urban homesteading adventures.

Generously illustrated with gorgeous colour photography and complete with useful how-to chapters, The Urban Homesteading Cookbook is an invaluable guide for all those seeking ethical and sustainable urban food sources and strategies.

— From Amazon

 

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