Book review: The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen


This is my new favorite urban self-sufficiency book. It’s practical, honest, hands-on, and very very funny. Matt got to it before I did, and here’s what he had to say: “This is a goddamned good book. It’s got a lot of knowledge, a lot of overviews, but it still has a lot of how-to. They keep a sense of humor. They know what they’re talking about because they’ve done it. For anybody anywhere, country or city (unless maybe you’re in a basement apartment with no windows), it’s recommended.”

Without preaching or dumbing-down, the authors tell you, in a straightforward manner, how to garden, forage, raise livestock, preserve food, fiddle with your utilities, and be your own transportation, no matter how teensy your living quarters.

Their sense of humor is evident throughout the book, shown in their slightly irreverent voice, and in the subheading titles, such as: The Chicken is the New Pug, Dehydration: Why Save it for Hangovers?, Arranging a Twosome or Threesome – Using Diverters, The Composting Toilet: How to Poop in a Bucket, and Inspecting their Asses. (That last one was the title of a paragraph about using the fluffiness of a chicken’s butt as a barometer for her overall health.) To keep the mood light they refuse to refer to “the inevitable economic collapse” or “peak oil” or any of the other socio/political/ecological disasters that some other self-sufficiency writers use as their boogeymen, but rather speak of Armageddon in terms of zombies.

“Time spent hanging laundry can be calming, meditative, wonderful, but sometimes you want to – have to! – do laundry at night, or when it is raining. So I’ll retain the option to machine-dry, and save the suffering for when the zombies come, thank you very much. Then I will [opt] to hang laundry with an Uzi strapped to my shoulder.”

The only drawback is that there’s no index, but the table of contents is broken down pretty well, so it’s not too big a problem.

Visit their website at:

— Amanda


2 thoughts on “Book review: The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Made by Hand by Mark Frauenfelder | SterlingFink

  2. Pingback: Book review: Making It by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen | SterlingFink

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