Book review: The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading by Nichole Faires

ultimate guideI tend to shy away from anything with a superlative in the title unless it’s some band’s “best of” album. Experience has reinforced this tendency. Unfortunately, I am here to report on another of those experiences. (I hate to give negative reviews, but I also hate to think that someone is going to buy a well-illustrated and authoritative-sounding book that leads them astray.)
I skimmed through he first few chapters and wasn’t impressed (there was a lot of anecdotal and folkloric advice, which I find rather sketchy) but I wasn’t totally turned off. Matt finished the book he was reading and snatched this one out of my stack. The kvetching began.
Matt isn’t as prone to complaint as I am, but he found plenty to complain about as he flipped through this book. “There’s no dead man switch on a chainsaw,” he burst out from the couch while I was supervising the KitchenAid. “And an icy log won’t freaking explode if you put it on the fire – it’ll just make the fire go out.” So on and so forth.
He read a lot more of the book than I found time for, and his verdict was that while Ms. Faires was well-intentioned, she was also greatly misinformed.
— Amanda

2 thoughts on “Book review: The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading by Nichole Faires

  1. Just for future reference, if your chainsaw does not have a dead man switch, that's a real safety hazard. If Wikipedia is a better reference for you, here's a link to where it is located: have never had an icy log explode in the fire but there is danger of steam and resin causing explosions when a log is wet. Theoretically an icy log = a wet log once the ice melts. Just because you have never heard of something doesn't make it false.


  2. I will show that article to Matt, but it sounds like the “dead man switch” issue may be a semantic one. Listening to Matt talk to east coast loggers, it sounds like we have very different terminologies over here. I agree that just because I haven't heard of something doesn't make it false, but the point of my review wasn't to be offensive or come across as hateful (although, taken out of context that's generally how my husband sounds, I must admit!) but simply to express our equally valid opinion that the book was not a 100% trustworthy reference — although no source is truly 100% trustworthy. Books are written by people, and to err is human and all that.


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