The Woodland Homestead, How to Make Your Land More Productive and Live More Self-Sufficiently in the Woods, Brett McLeod

The Woodland Homestead, How to Make Your Land More Productive and Live More Self-Sufficiently in the Woods, Brett McLeod
Genre: Outdoors & Nature, Self-Help
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I was brought up in a home where every bit of land was used, and if dad couldn’t grow it then we rarely ate it…we lived in a council house with a largish garden and he had 2/3 acre of allotments. We had goats for milk ( awful stuff! and the damn things are born to escape and eat what they shouldn’t), chickens for eggs and meat, rabbits to sell for meat ( always made me cry as it was my job to look after them and I named them all – I still can’t eat rabbit), turkeys reared for xmas, plus of course all home grown veg and fruit, the surplus of which was preserved for winter in bottles, jams, salted or frozen. I still love that idea of growing as much as possible. Now I’ve a home with four acres of land, much of which is woods and this book caught my eye.
Sadly I’m disabled now and unable to put most of this into practice, but for anyone able bodied it’s a real gem, full of practical advice on managing woodlands, unusual and practical ways to use wood offcuts, how to build shelters from an open stock one to a full cabin. I love they way he tells us about what trees to use for which purpose, and how to plant around them, how to make “living” fences. I’ve always loved cut and laid hedges, those where the trees are cut partway through and bent horizontal allowing new shoots to grow up and form a strong, impenetrable barrier. There’s advice on fruit growing (I’ve lots of fruit trees and plants so that was useful), tree pruning and even foraging from what grows naturally. For me its important to work with the land, to look at soil types and surrounding environment and plant to suit it. Trying to grow something which has very different needs to that which you can provide is going to fail and feel very demoralising. By taking the time to see what works on our own land naturally and follow suit will be much more successful.
I loved his tale of cider making at age seven – I was trying ( and naturally failing ) to make perfume from rose petals soaked in water for several days at the same age…. Brett utilises many ideas from the past which have gone out of fashion now, but are so good for both us and the environment, and I feel we need that voice to encourage continued use. There’s something special about old methods when they use what’s to hand, and have little adverse impact on the environment. We only have one world and leaving least impact on it and preserving what we can is really important to me.
For anyone interested in self sufficiency, or at least part of it, and who has or aspires to have the land for it one day this book is perfect. Practical, easy to follow advice that will set the reader on the road to success.

Stars: Five, practical advice for anyone wanting to learn more about self sufficiency.
ARC provided by Netgalley and publisher

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About jeanniezelos

I'm an avid reader, love my kindle and I have my head in a novel for hours daily : ) Mum used to say I'd read toilet paper if it was printed- it wasn't, so i had to contend myself with the back and sides of the cereal packets. I've always Needed to read and we had few books when i was a child hence my penchant for reading anything including adverts then... I review mainly contemporary, erotic and paranormal romance books though dystopian and urban fantasy also appeal. I'm currently rated around the 300 mark on amazon.co.uk for my reviews. I try to keep them structured and to say what I do and don't like about a book so other readers can use my review as a guide to whether they may enjoy the book.

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