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By March 29, 2012 Read More →

Book Reviews: Self-Sufficient Homeowner and Uses for Ordinary Things

During a couple of trips to a local big-box home improvement store (that shall go unnamed), I was getting some supplies to gear up for this year’s garden.  I usually walk past the book and magazine section when I am there and I discovered a couple of gems for Preppers.  In addition to picking up the latest Mother Earth News, (gotta love Mother), I found the following books:  DIY Projects for the Self-Sufficient Homeowner by Betsy Symanietz and Reader’s Digest: More Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things. Simply put, these books are veritable tomes of useful knowledge.

DIY Projects for the Self-Sufficient Homeowner

(ISBN: 13 978-1-58923-567-0) has actual plans and instructions to make things like visually pleasing compost bins, chicken tractors, solar dehydrators, passive solar heating for your house, root cellars and much more. The idea I plan to implement next week is their strawberry barrel (pictured on the cover picture above) since my strawberry patch has gotten rather unruly in the past two years. Countless gardening tips, bed and container designs, and suggestions are also included. Water re-utilization like gray water reservoirs and rain barrels are discussed and demonstrated, as well.

The graphics are clear and relevant and the instructions and plans are easily followed and understood. The book is written in a clear manner and finding your topic or project of choice is not difficult. If any criticism is to be laid out, I wish they included less gardening and composting tips and more actual plans for more projects, as the tips are easily found elsewhere online or in other resources. The suggested retail price is $19.99. All in all, I give the book 4 Stars out of 5. You will not be disappointed.

Reader’s Digest: More Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

(ISBN: 978-1-60652-021-5) could have been written for participants of my Outside of the Box series. This book is amazing. I learned so much in just fifteen minutes of browsing through the book. For example, banana peels can be used to polish silver and then can be composted. I did not know about the silver. This book claims 1,715 similar uses for common items. Most relevant to Preppers is that it talks in some depth about herbal and alternative health measures. Onions can reduce bruising. Strawberries can be made into a skin exfoliate. The uses and suggested alternatives abound in this book.
This book is logically laid out and well written by a variety of contributors. While some of the ideas may be old hat to some readers, I dare say few people can get by without learning SOMETHING of use. Retailing for $16.95, this book is a great resource and is economical, as well. I give it a rating of 5 stars out of 5.



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2 Comments on "Book Reviews: Self-Sufficient Homeowner and Uses for Ordinary Things"

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  1. Collapse Survivor says:

    Heartily agree with you. Learning how to operate an “old fashioned” HAM radio and having one you can use for communication, news in the event of a major collapse is one of the more unique advantages of CAP. The search and rescue skills probably wouldn’t be of much value; though for kids, doing encampments that include survival training, map reading, etc would be worthwhile.

  2. Thomas Kemmett says:

    I’m interested in the rain barrels. This summer I plan to install two of them. I will pick up DIY book as I have the Reader’s Digest. Thanks for the info.