Made from Scratch by Jenna Woginrich

Click to find at a library near you!

“Point is, it feels good to get dirty, work hard, and slow down.”

And so begins Jenna Woginrich’s guide to living a simple life filled with homemade and homegrown pleasures. She shares stories and advice on how to become more self-sufficient, covering a range of topics like making your own clothes, providing your own entertainment, and of course growing your own food.

Nowadays, you can find lots of how-to books about raising backyard chickens (Woginrich herself has a new book out titled Chick Days) or about keeping bees. More and more people are rediscovering the satisfaction that comes with producing your own food. And many have begun doing so as an environmental effort. However, sourcing clean food is only one piece of the sustainable puzzle.

Most of us are burdened with unnecessary possessions; and consumerism constantly lures us in with false promises of fulfillment. Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life (2008) illustrates that greater happiness can come from less. Woginrich fills each chapter first with personal stories and ends with a how-to summary. The stories communicate her passion for the homesteading lifestyle. And readers will see that so much joy can come from gathering eggs right from under the hen or from knitting creations from fur you sheared yourself.

Made from Scratch will introduce you to new hobbies and illustrate how approachable they really are. You don’t need to be an expert or own lots of land to learn any of the skills discussed in this great, little resource.

Read more about Jenna Woginrich’s adventures in homesteading on her fabulous blog Cold Antler Farm.

You might also like: Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter


01 2011

6 Comments Add Yours ↓

Thanks for your comments!

  1. 1

    Hey guys- found you through Jenna’s blog. A book you might be interested in finding, reading, and reviewing is Homegrown Harvest, from the American Horticultural Society, Editor in Chief: Rita Pelczar (ISBN 978-1-84533-560-1. Originally published in Great Britain, and written by Michael Beazley.

    I love a lot of things about this book, but the chief feature is the way that it’s been organized, which is by season. And instead of just leaving it at Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter, it’s further broken down by Early Spring, Mid Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, etc. And instead of leaving it at that, there are charts in the back that have planting and harvesting information that are broken down by region: Cold Winter, Mid Temperate, and Mild Winter, so essentially, just about anybody can use this book regardless of whether you’re in the northern or southern hemispheres. There are no references to month, so as long as you know where you are in the seasons for your area, this book will tell you what you should be doing right then, including planning and prepping for later seasons. This is the thing I need the most help with: timing. And, as they say, timing is everything.

    There is also excellent information on pruning, and how to recognize the difference between a growth spur and a fruiting bud. There are different sections in the book on different subjects, from growing in containers in limited space, to more detail on herbs, edible flowers, tomatoes, blueberries, growing a pesto garden, etc. There’s a separate section for dealing with pests and diseases, as well as detailed information and pictures in various sections for dealing with specific problems, like canker on an apple tree.

    Gorgeously photographed, it would make an ideal gift for someone who wants to start a garden, or better yet, someone who keeps talking about it, but hasn’t yet taken the plunge. This book will take them over the edge and hold their hand the whole way, and there won’t be any more excuses why not.

    I have several well known gardening books (Square Foot Gardening, How To Grow More Vegetables, Gaia’s Garden, The Resilient Gardener (another great book, but for different reasons), etc. This book is going back to the library when it’s due, but my own copy of it is on order. It will no doubt become my go-to garden book.

  2. 2

    This is one of my all-time favorite books — not just for farm/garden stuff. She even inspired me to take up the banjo! So inspiring and positive, and her blog is great, too.

  3. 3

    Since I have a small farm, and raise turkeys and pigs for sale (and eggs and chickens), I put this book on hold after reading your blog.

    Well, how can I say this nicely? I was gravely disappointed. I read it in one short evening. I can see that it would be appropriate to “wannabes,” but she doesn’t talk about what to do when your well pump goes out, and you have 70 sheep and 5 alpacas to get water to; how to dispose of 17 dead sheep because of a cougar teaching her cub to hunt; or how to keep wild critters out of your garden, composting, etc. that are staples of the homesteading lifestyle.

    Baking bread – lots of people do that. Sewing their own clothes – ditto.

    If people are truly interested in getting “back to the land,” they should try “A Guide to Self Sufficiency,” by John Seymour, or some of the books that she mentions in her “Research, Son” section. They have much more information than this book did.

    Maybe I’ll write my own…

  4. Farmbrarian #

    Hey Laura, thanks for your thoughts! We love hearing others observations and evaluations. Your input will surely help readers in the future decide if this book is for them…or not.

  5. Nancy #

    With all due respect to Laura, this book was never meant for someone at her skill level. It was written for those of us raised in suburbia but who want a different life. If that makes us “wannabes” so be it. Often we think homesteading is an “all or nothing” thing. But Jenna show us that it is possible to learn a few new skills, change a few attitudes and start walking that path even if we can’t buy the farm anytime soon.

  6. Lydia #

    @Nancy, exactly. Not everyone has a farm of their own – we have less than a suburban acre that we attempt to utilize as much as possible. Laura, there are plenty of other books out there for someone who is an actual farmer. And no, not a lot of people sew and bake – the great thing about this book is it opened so many peoples eyes to what they COULD do.


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