This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through those I’ve provided, I will receive a small benefit for the sale, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Better Living!
While I don’t often put affiliate links in my blog posts, I am this time ’round. In this case, it’s because I truly believe this is the best book on country living that is available to us today! And because I have faith that you’ll love it as much I do.
The first time I remember seeing this book must have been in the dining room of our old farmhouse. It’s highly probable that my mother was kneading bread dough on the table, beside it’s open pages. This book was her go-to!
And as I grew older my own interest in it was heightened. Soon, I myself was thumbing my way through it’s pages, using it as a reference for farm life. In fact, it’s something I still use today!
A BOOK MOST FARM FOLKS SHOULD HAVE!
In this case the “Encyclopedia for Country Living” was accurately named. Covering the country lifestyle from start to finish, it has served rural folks well since the 1970’s and onward.
It begins with step by step instructions for buying land and a farm. From there, the author walks you through everything you need to know about living on the land.
Folks, I can’t even begin to tell you of everything in it! This 8×11 inch book has almost 900 pages and is bursting with information for returning to the land with organic and natural practices.
It delves into cooking and baking from scratch, the pages containing hundreds of old fashioned recipes!
You’ll discover lengthy sections on keeping herbs and a vegetable garden, starting your first orchard and berry patch. Directions are given on how to preserve food. Learn how to make a root cellar, ferment, dry and can goods.
A large portion of the book is devoted to animal husbandry (both mammals & birds), and includes breeding, troubleshooting, dietary needs and much more. It’s pages also outline home butchering, dairying, fish and bee keeping.
This book is full of little tidbits in the ‘Oddment’ section! Learn to make candles, tan animal hides, cook with cast iron, quilt, make lye and your own soap. Do you know how to plan your harvest for a year’s worth of food? Cook on a wood stove? Make a feather pillow?
You’ll find all this and much, much more in Carla Emery’s book, the Encyclopedia for Country Living!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
If you are a lover of old fashioned skill sets and wisdom, you’ll fall in love not only with this book, but the author as well!
When I think of a woman with passion and purpose, I think of Carla Emery. This woman wanted to see others return to the land. Writing was her way of fulfilling that passion…during the time of typewriters, mimeographs and postal mail!
The book we have today was written over the course of 24 years, originally mailed to subscribers in sections as they were completed.
This woman led a busy life! Her writing took place between giving birth to children, rearing a large family, moving, homesteading, starting a school and traveling to promote her self-published book.
If there’s one thing you’ll quickly learn about Carla, it’s that she was a learner and didn’t rely on her own wisdom alone. Everywhere she went, she asked questions of knowledgeable people and had them write answers down for her. Some of these things she later (with permission) added to the book!
In her writing, she openly acknowledges the names and sources of her information. As you read, you’ll discover that folks from all over contributed their recipes and tips, making this more than a one-author book.
If ever there was a piece of literature that belonged to the people, this is it!
GET THE BEST BOOK ON COUNTRY LIVING!
The old green covered, green leaf edition I grew up reading and so fondly remember carries the title: Old Fashioned Recipe Book: An Encyclopedia of Country Living (affiliate link). Though the old book has been reprinted, it has become a collectors item and therefore, is highly priced unless you purchase it used.
You can still find the used, green leaf copies for sale on Amazon in a modest price range! However, be aware that the resources aren’t current.
Here’s the ninth edition that I currently have in my possession: The Encyclopedia of Country Living: An Old Fashioned Recipe Book (affiliate link). Again, used books are more modestly priced.
However, I recommend the most recent version! Printed in 2012, it’s pages are complete with updated resources. The Encyclopedia of Country Living (affiliate link) is known as “the original manual for living off the land and doing it yourself.”
This book not only contains voluminous amounts of information on every natural living topic you can think of, it’s a story of one woman’s life. As you read, you’ll discover that Carla includes inserts of her own personal journey. Her struggle to produce the book. With tight finances. Caring for a family. Raising food. Lost dreams.
If you buy this book, you’ll not only discover skills and knowledge. You’ll discover the life of a very courageous woman, someone who lived with dreams, passion, determination and hard work.
Today, Carla’s daughter, Esther Emery has her own blog! You can check it out at estheremery.com