Book Review: Practical Projects for Self-Sufficiency

Practical Projects for Self-Sufficiency

Let’s say that self-sufficiency is a spectrum. You like to garden? You’re on the low end of the spectrum. You can the produce from that garden? You’re a little higher on the spectrum. You irrigate your garden with captured rainwater? Higher still.

Fertilize your garden with humanure? You’re really high on the spectrum; there aren’t a lot of other people where you are (yet).


There is plenty of room on this self-sufficiency spectrum for people who are ready for more than gardening, but aren’t ready to harvest their waste, plenty of ways for people to branch out into greater self-sufficiency in ways that still make it fun for them, and that seem do-able to the casual DIY-er.

That’s the spot on the spectrum that Practical Projects for Self-Sufficiency inhabits. Practical Projects for Self-Sufficiency doesn’t have many projects for the absolute newbie DIY-er, although the backyard fire pit and the pet door, specifically, would be of interest even to those uninterested in self-sufficiency. What Practical Projects does have, however, are tons of projects to take your self-sufficiency skills up to the next level.

Do you already make your own laundry soap? Why don’t you try making your own manual washing machine?

Enjoy canning your own apple sauce? Why not make yourself a cider press?

Love your chickens? Perhaps you’d also like bees!

If you don’t already have a woodworking hobby, than many of the woodworking projects will require tools that you probably don’t own (I do a fair bit of woodworking, but I don’t (yet) own a router or a miter saw, for instance), but there are plenty of other projects that don’t require specialized tools or skills at all. That backyard fire pit, for example, mostly requires muscle, and you can build the solar produce dryer with nothing but a hacksaw.

In general, then, you’re not getting the end-all, be-all on self-sufficiency here (you’ve got to look to other sources to help you build that backyard bomb shelter that I know you want), but no matter where you are on the spectrum, you will find a project that strikes your fancy.

Because even in your backyard bomb shelter, you probably are still going to enjoy drinking your own hand-pressed hard cider.

[I received a free copy of Practical Projects for Self-Sufficiency, because I can’t review a book unless I’ve accidentally mashed my hand in a homemade cider press made from it!]

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Author: Julie Finn

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