Magazines (and websites) about homesteading and self-sufficiency

When I was a boy, my father used to buy Mother Earth News from the grocery store. The magazine was filled with stories about self-sufficient country living, the sort of thing my dad aspired to. I’d read the magazine after he was finished, but never really understood the appeal of building your own greenhouse or raising goats. Now, as an adult, it makes a little more sense.

Kris and I are not radically self-sufficient, but we do enjoy growing our own food. (And she recently agreed that we could get chickens!) The content at GRS reflects my interest in the DIY lifestyle. Besides frequent articles on gardening, in the past I’ve shared stories like these:

Though our own adventures in self-sufficiency are limited, they’re edifying, and I admire those who do even more. I’m a strong advocate of the DIY ethic. I believe there’s real value in traditional skills, such as gardening and sewing, canning and carpentry. As a bonus, most of these practices save money.

After spending last Saturday planting peas and pruning fruit trees — and contemplating where to put a chicken coop — I took some time to research the current state of homesteading magazines. Turns out there are half a dozen that seem interesting. Most of them have a companion website with excellent information:

Mother Earth News

Mother Earth News is “the original guide to living wisely”. Its content leans left, and includes articles on subjects such as renewable energy, green homes, organic gardening, green transportation, and sustainable farming.

The Mother Earth News website is polished and filled with content, with stories on:

BackHome

BackHome is “your hands-on guide to sustainable living”. It covers topics like owner-built homes, backyard livestock, rural heritage, green building, and country skills.

The BackHome website isn’t very useful, but it does offer a taste of the magazine. You can see the table of contents from the most recent issue, and view PDF versions of articles like:

Backwoods Home

Backwoods Home, is like the first two publications in this list — but with guns. Backwoods Home leans right (or libertarian), and offers “practical ideas for self-reliant living”. Like BackHome, it offers how-to articles on owner-built housing, independent energy, self-employment, and country living. And there’s a regular column on gun ownership.

The Backwoods Home website is fantastic, packed with great stuff, including articles on:

I am not a libertarian, and I’m ambivalent about guns, but after looking at the website, I think I’m going to subscribe to Backwoods Home. This magazine looks awesome.

Small Farm Today

Small Farm Today is “the original how-to magazine of alternative and traditional crops and livestock”. According to Amazon, this publication discusses “alternative and traditional crops, livestock, and direct marketing, designed to help make small and family farmers profitable and sustainable”.

The Small Farm Today website doesn’t provide much useful content, and offers no glimpse of what a typical issue features. It does provide farm links, an events calendar, and online classified ads, but I’d rather see some past articles so that I could know if I’d find it useful.

Hobby Farms

Hobby Farms is a magazine about “rural living for pleasure and profit”. Its marketing copy says that it “embraces the growing segment of population that is returning to farm life in search of a more meaningful existence”.

The Hobby Farms website includes plenty of useful stuff, including:

Countryside

Countryside & Small Stock Journal is “the magazine of modern homesteading”. It features articles on constructing a homestead, the homestead as a business, the country kitchen, and self-reliance and survival.

The Countryside website includes two blogs, only one of which is actually updated. It also offers many past articles from the magazine, including:

Here’s a long list of past Countryside articles for future reading.

Looking at the contents of these magazines makes me dream of things I can build and grow. I don’t subscribe to any of them right now, but may have to begin picking up a few. Or maybe I’ll just start checking out their websites regularly. Do you read any of the these? Do you know of other magazines for people who want to practice self-sufficiency? What about books? I’d love to build a small library devoted to the subject.

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There are 108 comments to "Magazines (and websites) about homesteading and self-sufficiency".

  1. plonkee says 26 February 2009 at 05:10

    I’m not libertarian, have decidedly British views on guns, and I’m a confirmed city dweller, but I have really liked the Backwoods Home website for ages, even if I’m never going to actually pursue self-sufficiency in a meaningful way it’s great to read about.

  2. Beth @ Smart Family Tips says 26 February 2009 at 05:13

    Just in the last few months I began subscribing to Mother Earth News and I’m really enjoying it. There are plenty of practical tips for people who are not likely to raise livestock (like us right now) and for people who are. I also get email updates from the Mother Earth News website and while there is some overlap with the print magazine, there’s is plenty more useful information in the updates as well. We are trying our own square food garden this year and always try to do as much around our house as possible, ourselves. There are lots of good ideas in this magazine for DIY projects and saving money.

    Thanks for providing info. on the other publications. While I’m not a libertarian either, Backwoods Home does look interesting. I plan to check it out.

  3. Happiness Is Better says 26 February 2009 at 05:33

    I want to say that we do not grow our own food, but we do like the idea of being self reliant and doing things ourselves. I probably wouldn’t mind growing our own food. It sounds like a lot of fun and definitely outside of my current “know how.” As far as DIY, we usually do have a project or two going around the house.
    As someone who doesn’t know a whole lot about growing your own food, etc, I appreciate the resources and will be sure to take a look at all of the magazines to see which one appeals to us.
    Thanks for the post!

  4. mcara says 26 February 2009 at 05:40

    JD
    Chickens are nice, until you have to lop their heads off. I can remember a man who raised chickens in the next town to me. He had chickens and Grandma Muller had a veggie garden that was her back yard. Had this neat waist high wood and wire fence, with a gate. Kept the deer out. All neatly tucked into suburbia. My question is what do you do with chicken poop so that it doesn’t hurt the enviorment; make you and your wife sick, or the neighbors ready to lop your head off?

    • Betsy says 24 August 2011 at 11:50

      Chicken poop makes a great fertilizer – spread on the garden or put it on compost.

    • Michelle says 25 October 2011 at 15:52

      We have found that having a small chicken tractor and keeping the chickens in it for a week or 2 in one spot prepares this spot to grow wonderful vegetables. In testing this we found the spots that we did this the vegetable were MUCH larger, produced more and for longer period of time.
      They remove bugs, till and fertilize so all you need to do is move the chicken tractor and plant your seeds or plants

  5. Jason says 26 February 2009 at 05:58

    Home Power is also a pretty good read:

    http://www.homepower.com/home/

    It satisfies the geek side and the self-sufficient side.

  6. April Dykman says 26 February 2009 at 05:58

    I AM a libertarian, and I like Mother Earth News okay, but it sounds like I’d really like Backwoods Home. My gripes with Mother Earth News aren’t really political, though. More about the constant references to issues from years ago.

    We are building a strawbale home on four acres. I want our home to be as self-sufficient as possible, so we’re planning for a garden, wood-burning stove, rainwater collection, etc.

    Please blog about the chickens if you decide to raise some! I’m interested, but still a little iffy on it…

    Great post, J.D.!

  7. Erin @ Unclutterer says 26 February 2009 at 06:07

    JD, This is a great list!

  8. lilacorchid says 26 February 2009 at 06:15

    Thank you for posting this! My husband and I bought ourselves a quartre and we’re trying to find help on how to make the transition.

  9. Massey says 26 February 2009 at 06:16

    Although not thoroughly informed on the ways of chicken poop, I do know two things: 1)Chicken poop smells TERRIBLE, far worse than cow manure. AND 2) Chicken poop can be safely composted for gardening/farming.

    This resource may be of help to GRS readers considering pairing chickens and gardening http://chickengarden.com/.

    Additionally, a large part of sustainable and self-reliant gardening relies on closing the plant/animal nutrient cycle to avoid the need for artificial fertilizers.

    Thanks for keeping it interesting J.D!

  10. J.D. says 26 February 2009 at 06:22

    A note on chickens:

    I wrote this post about ten days ago, on the weekend that Kris and I did all of our yard work. (Which you guys don’t really know about yet, because the garden update doesn’t post until this Saturday — complicated, isn’t it?)

    In the interim, Kris has decided that she’d rather have ducks than chickens.

    “But we don’t have a pond,” I keep telling her.

    “It doesn’t matter,” she says. “You can get ducks who don’t need a body of water.”

    Apparently you can get ducks that don’t quack, either. Yesterday she told me she wants a certain breed of “quackless” duck. Quackless? “So they don’t bother the neighbors,” Kris said.

    Fine. But if it doesn’t walk (or swim) like a duck and it doesn’t sound like a duck, is it still a duck?

  11. Becca says 26 February 2009 at 06:22

    I borrowed John Seymour’s Guide to the Self Sufficient Life from the library and then ultimately bought it from Overstock. Old school compared to the magazines, but good solid skills to learn!

  12. Neal Frankle says 26 February 2009 at 06:32

    Thanks! I never knew these magazines even existed. I’ve asked myself how I would get info like this….now I know.

    Thanks again.

  13. The Personal Finance Playbook says 26 February 2009 at 06:42

    That’s a great list of resources, and they’re all new to me. Another corner of the web that I haven’t explored yet. I’m looking forward to delving in. The Mother Earth News website looks awesome (I haven’t clicked on any of the others yet). Great post.

  14. Diatryma says 26 February 2009 at 06:51

    Back at the beginning of the semester, I had a bit of homework with the question, “Does sustainability have a political or philosophical bent?” or something like that. After some thought, I decided ‘not moderate’. You have the folks on the left who are being sustainable because it is responsible, because other people, including future generations, have the same rights, because you take care of the planet… and you have folks on the right who are being sustainable because nonsustainability requires infrastructure that might (or should) be taken away, and sustainability can lead to more independent living.

    I know a lot of people near the liberal/libertarian intersection. This pleases me.

  15. Mel says 26 February 2009 at 06:52

    We are growing our own vegetables, raising egg laying chickens and have begun the adventure of raising our own meats. Inspired by genetic engineering of crops and cloning of meats, we set out to produce as much of our own food as possible. There is a lot of trial and error, but intuition is a guiding light. We’ve been living on our farm for about a year and a half, and I am surprised at how much of our own food we are producing — with little prior experience or knowledge on the subject. If you are interested in what we have learned regarding DIY food production, see our online journal of the quest for sustainability:

    http://byexample.com

    Producing our foods has been incredibly rewarding. It is worth giving it a try even if you only grow in window boxes.

  16. Lady J says 26 February 2009 at 06:56

    Love this post! I’ve seen Mother Earth News but not the others. Am definitely going to check out the websites. Like others mentioned, Backwoods Home does sound like a particularly good one. My goals for the future include buying land (several acres) and building an off-grid, self-sustainable home (check out earthships).

  17. katherine stemple says 26 February 2009 at 07:02

    Countryside is by far the best. I have subscribed for many years!

  18. Courtney says 26 February 2009 at 07:04

    Handy Farm Devices And How to Make Them
    When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes
    SAS Urban Survival Handbook
    Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning
    Building Green
    Cordwood Building: The State of the Art (Natural Building Series)
    Green from the Ground Up
    The Home Water Supply: How to Find, Filter, Store, and Conserve It
    A Field Guide to Wildflowers : Northeastern and North-Central North America (Peterson Field Guides)
    Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West
    A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America (Peterson Field Guide Series)
    How to Implement a High Security Shelter in the Home
    How to Grow More Vegetables and Fruits (and Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops) Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine
    Root Cellaring
    Gardening When It Counts
    Apocalypse Chow
    The Foxfire Series
    The Field and Forest Handy Book
    American Girls Handy Book
    The American Boy’s Handy Book
    Shelters, Shacks & Shanties: And How to Build Them
    Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and Not So Wild) Places
    A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs: Of Eastern and Central North America (Peterson Field Guide Series)
    Wilderness Medicine, 5th Edition
    Combat Medic Field Reference
    Where Women Have No Doctor: A Health Guide for Women
    Where There Is No Dentist
    Wilderness Medicine, Beyond First Aid, 5th Edition
    Where There Is No Doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook
    U.s. Armed Forces Nuclear, Biological And Chemical Survival Manual
    Making the Best of Basics: Family Preparedness Handbook
    Organize for Disaster: Prepare Your Family and Your Home for Any Natural Or Unnatural Disaster
    Crisis Preparedness Handbook: A Complete Guide to Home Storage and Physical Survival
    US Army Survival Manual: FM 21-76

  19. J.D. says 26 February 2009 at 07:06

    Wow, Courtney! I seem to have hit upon a topic you’ve been reading about for some time. 🙂

  20. Frugal Dad says 26 February 2009 at 07:11

    Thanks for sharing these reviews, J.D. I’m also interested in Backwoods Home. I think of myself as sort of a DIY, self-sufficient wannabe in that I live very much “on the grid,” but long to.unplug. Look forward to hearing about the chickens!

  21. Susan Young says 26 February 2009 at 07:14

    Hi J.D.
    I a new to the net and this topic. Am delighted to find your site and your wealth of knowledge on the subject. It looks like you have definitely done your homework.

  22. Brigid says 26 February 2009 at 07:33

    My boyfriend used to live in rural South Carolina. He had a garden, fruit trees, raised geese, hunted and fished. Although not entirely self-sufficient, he did a pretty good job. A few things he said about raising barn animals…

    1) Forget about taking a vacation unless you know someone who knows how to take care of whatever you decide to get. It’s not like dropping your cats off at a kitty hotel.
    2) Geese make better watch-dogs than dogs.

    I like the idea personally, but I envision myself doing it later, after I’ve seen more of the world:-)

    Cheers!

  23. Andrea says 26 February 2009 at 07:34

    And ducks can serve as protection- re:guard duck in Pearls Before Swine.

  24. Theodore Scott says 26 February 2009 at 07:36

    I have purchased archive CDs of both Backwoods Home and Mother Earth News.

    During my last Navy deployment, I read through decades of back issues of Backwoods Home on my laptop. I can’t think of any magazine that is a better resource on this topic.

    However, Mother Earth News is good too. I have a current subscription and am working on the archive CDs.

    Mother Earth News seems a little more polished than Backwoods Home. That can influence which magazine you connect with.

    Two nice urban self-sufficiency books:
    The Urban Homestead by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen
    Food Not Lawns by Heather Coburn Flores

    Good self-sufficiency motivation books:
    Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
    The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

  25. stephanie says 26 February 2009 at 07:38

    we subscribe to backwoods home and love it!

    -s

  26. Chiot's Run says 26 February 2009 at 07:47

    I don’t subscribe to any but I do check the website and get them from the local library.

    I really want some ducks as well, but that will have to wait until next year. Muscovy ducks would be a good choice for you guys, they’re quiet and good layers if you want eggs.

    This year I’m getting some bees, that will be my new pet addition to Chiot’s Run.

  27. Steve Lundy says 26 February 2009 at 07:49

    Best of luck with your chickens. I’ve dreamt of having chickens, but unfortunately there are bylaws against that in Toronto.

  28. Kevin says 26 February 2009 at 07:59

    Great stuff, I can’t wait to read up on this topic. We’re struggling with this right now in anticipation of moving this summer – do we want to move out of town and try to find some land and apply some of these ideas or stay in town (closer to our jobs)? The problem in my area is land is kinda expensive.

  29. L says 26 February 2009 at 08:06

    I don’t subscribe to any magazines but I do enjoy SallyGardens Smallholding blog (http://sallygardens.typepad.com/)
    They are based in Ireland and have been working on their small holding for a few years- they have a forum and list of recommended book titles as well as some of their own e-books- I can’t speak to these as I only read the blog.

  30. Kim Cornman says 26 February 2009 at 08:16

    JD, I also aspire to more self sufficient living. I peruse the Hobby Farm website and enjoy it, and also aspire to keeping chickens someday (not feasible in the desert southwest!)

    You and your readers might also want to check out Sunset magazine’s “One Block diet” blog, where they have been doing this (including great articles on the pride and perils of the chicken coop!)

    check out the links for Team Garden, beekeeping, olives, wine and cheesemaking, etc.

    http://oneblockdiet.sunset.com/

    • Ruth Tandaan Sto Domingo says 02 June 2019 at 03:19

      It is quite possible to raise chickens in the Desert Southwest. We raised massive numbers of chicken in the high deserts of Northern Nevada and Southern Wyoming with temperature variations from -20 in the winter to 115 or so in the summer … Fahrenheit of course.

      Keeping them indoors was of course imperative, and air circulation is important. For this we used a series of 12 volt DC fans wired in to our solar and wind powered battery bank. In the winter, massive volumes of straw and blocking the wind out were the best means to keep them happy and healthy. Keeping them indoors also kept them quite safe from the coyotes that frequently marked across our property.

  31. Cindy says 26 February 2009 at 08:22

    Great List! I currently subscribe to M.E.News but have been disappointed with the lack of depth in a lot of the articles; their website is pretty good. On the other hand I’ve been an avid reader of Backwoods Home for the last couple of years (not yet a subscriber but I really should) and although I too am fairly left leaning and gun ambivalent have found it really useful. Their website is fantastic, I visit at least once a week. My DH actually reads BWH too, at first because of the gun articles (I guess Ayoob is very respected and knowledgable) but now reads the rest too and we’ve been able to have some good discussions about various topics that we weren’t able to find common ground on before. Thanks for the roundup!

  32. Kim says 26 February 2009 at 08:24

    I would recommend the Today’s Homestead series by Dona Grant. It’s still being written, but the first 2 books are out. I like them because they are recent. Book 2 is my favorite because it’s all about produce, but I’ve actually been to the Grant homestead and can’t wait to see the rest. They raise their own meat, honey, produce, etc. I even had some of the homemade bacon and it was delicious. They only have 10 acres or so and have managed all that. True, we’re still in an apartment, but I have a baby garden…

  33. Deb says 26 February 2009 at 08:42

    I just began subscribing to Mother Earth News a few months ago and really like it! I’ve never heard of the others and will definitely have to check them out. Thanks for the great resources, JD!

    We recently bought 4 acres with a tiny, energy efficient house on it. Now we’re laying plans for a large garden & laying chickens. This involves deer fencing, rainwater collection, and studying organic gardening and food preservation & storage.

    Wow Courtney, what a read list! Thank you! If anyone lives in the Pacific NW, I would add:

    1. Steve Solomon’s ‘Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades’ (best NW gardening book I’ve ever seen)

    2. Bina Colebrook’s ‘Winter Gardening in the Maritime Northwest’

    3. Denise Hansen’s `Eating off the Grid, Storing and Cooking Food Without Electricity’

  34. Randy says 26 February 2009 at 09:12

    It seems there needs to be an investigation into the personality linkage of frugality and self sufficiency.
    I have been visting the Backwoods Home website and others for about a year now.

    ATTRA is a good website to get information on raising gardens and livestock in a sustainable way.
    Organic gardening is the “in” way to garden now. I grew up on a farm, but we were far from organic. But the one poster who said that forget vacations if you raise farm animals is correct to a degree. Sheep, goats, and cattle can take care of themselves if you have a water supply and pasture. Chickens and pigs you have to be there everyday to feed/water.

    I thought I was crazy for thinking of trying to be a homesteader. It feels good to know I am not the only person who aspires to it!

    ps The problem with raising chickens for meat is it is tough to find someone to butcher them if you don’t want to do it yourself.

  35. Linda in Chicago says 26 February 2009 at 09:15

    J.D., stick with chickens instead of ducks if you’re raising them for the eggs. Yes, there are some duck breeds that were bred primarly for egg-laying, but they just can’t compare to the top egg-laying breeds of chickens. And ducks do quack all the time, with the exception of the Muscovy. You can do some research about duck and chicken breeds by looking at back issues of Backyard Poultry magazine, too.

    I live in Chicago and have 4 laying hens and a rooster. The rooster is not necessary and was an unplanned addition to my flock (baby chicks can be a challenge to sex, even for professionals!). They have been a wonderful addition to my garden and home.

    Yes, they produce copious amounts of droppings, but those go into the compost bin and if mixed with enough dried leaves and such the odor is practically non-existant. The composted droppings go on the garden beds as fertilizer for the perennial and annual fruits and veggies. And whatever weeds and scraps I have left over from garden work goes to the chickens who adore them as treats. My chickens also eat meat and fish scraps (yes, they are omnivores), as well as stale bakery products, and give me lots of eggs in return.

    The eggs are delicious and are highly coveted by my family, neighbors, and friends. I have friends that are very willing to house-sit when I go out of town because they know they’ll get a daily supply of eggs, as well as some extras I’ve saved to pass on for their help.

    My chickens have been a great asset to my home, my community, and my table. I encourage everyone who is legally allowed to keep chickens to get a couple hens!

    My City Chickens page on my blog has lots more info.

    Oh, and I have subscribed to Mother Earth News for years, as well as keeping an active subscription to Backyard Poultry magazine.

  36. Diarmaid says 26 February 2009 at 09:26

    Check out Steve Solomon’s Soil & Health Library at http://www.soilandhealth.org/

    The site provides a large number of free e-books available for immediate download. The books are mainly about holistic agriculture, holistic health and self-sufficient homestead living.

    Steve Solomon is the founder of Territorial Seed Co, Oregon. If you want a very good how-to book on veggie gardening, check out his “Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times?”:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=lbohaJCxFnAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=steve+solomon

    This will get you from novice to not-so-novice in a short period of time if you suddenly find yourself in need of a veggie garden due to current economic conditions. My copy of this book is very well read.

  37. Broke Wall Streeter says 26 February 2009 at 09:30

    Don’t forget this free library of related books and manuscripts. Rabbits are better than yard birds, but since they are so lean, you’ll need to add some fat through dairy or nuts.

    http://www.soilandhealth.org/

  38. Tyler Karaszewski says 26 February 2009 at 09:31

    I don’t really see the draw of “self-sufficiency” when you really can’t reasonably expect to be self-sufficient without a *huge* change in your standard of living. You can’t be self-sufficient and use electricity, or metal, or glass or plastic. You can’t be self-sufficient and drive a car or watch television or have air-conditioning.

    All of these things are built on top of exceptionally complex industries that require far more than a single person to operate. You can buy solar panels, and provide yourself with electricity from them, but you’re really not self-sufficient — you’re dependent on a huge industrial complex that starts by mining ore, sending it to refineries, turning it into metal, filtering it through the hands of hundreds or thousands more people, and eventually having it turned into a solar panel. The same thing is true for even such simple machines as the light bulb.

    The fact that we are able to work together so well, and harness the particular skills and talents of all the different people in our society so that we *can* build all these things, rather than everyone going his own way and thinking “I don’t need help, I can do it myself,” when he really can’t, speaks volumes about the human spirit of ingenuity and our ability to progress as a species. I don’t see why you’d want to go out of your way to avoid everything that our societies have spent the last 10,000 years building to make our lives more comfortable.

    This isn’t to say I don’t find value in doing things yourself, but being constructive and building or growing things yourself is a far cry from being “self-sufficient”.

  39. E says 26 February 2009 at 09:33

    Thanks so much for posting these, JD – I will definitely check them out! I have a dream of self-sufficiency and homesteading, but for me it’s just a pipe dream – I’m not even home enough hours to maintain a vegetable garden! Maybe someday…
    🙂

  40. Mikey says 26 February 2009 at 09:35

    Please may I bring my Border Collie over to herd the ducks? Thx

  41. J.D. says 26 February 2009 at 09:36

    Tyler (#38)
    I don’t think anyone’s talking about being self-sufficient in the sense that they’re totally detached from the grid. (Well, some people are, but they aren’t here.) What we’re praising and advocating is increased self-sufficiency.

    Most modern first-world residents are completely non-self-sufficient. They don’t do anything themselves. When I think of my youngest brother and his family, everything the get and do is made by somebody else, even the entertainment. (And that’s fine. I’m not judging him; I’m just using him as an example.)

    Building and growing things yourself is a step toward self-sufficiency, which is edifying, productive, and fun. But it’s not a binary either-or thing. There’s a continuum.

    I think it’s a mistake to argue against those who want to be more self-reliant based on semantics. From my perspective, these folks can call themselves whatever the hell they want! 🙂

  42. J.D. says 26 February 2009 at 09:41

    I thought Mikey (#40) was joking, but apparently not. Here’s a YouTube video of a border collie herding a duck. (Yes, one duck.)

    Okay. Enough chit-chat. If you folks want an “Ask the Readers” for tomorrow, I need to get to work. 🙂

  43. Debt Free Adventure says 26 February 2009 at 09:51

    I have a subscription to both Mother Earth News and Backwoods Home.

    Isn’t is interesting how frugality leads us all down similar paths…

  44. bethh says 26 February 2009 at 09:51

    JD, I hope you write another post at some point explaining what you’re both looking for in fowl, and why ducks are currently in the lead!

    I have friends in roughly your area (they’re in unincorporated Clackamas County) who have chickens and a coop and do all sorts of composting and some gardening. I’m pretty sure they’d welcome a friend-of-a-friend field trip if you want to check out their setup (and the mr. there works at home too).

    They had one hen named Buffy, who turned out to be a rooster. They joked that they had to slay the slayer 😉

  45. secret asian man says 26 February 2009 at 10:03

    It’s not self-sufficiency at all, and anyone who is thinks this they are becoming self-sufficient is deluding themselves.

    You are highly unlikely to be able to replace anything as commonplace as a cough drop or a cell phone, let alone important things like a medevac chopper, by yourself. You’re merely “sufficient” until your next illness or the next time you need information (internet). Further, your lifestyle is sustained by a massive law enforcement system that keeps people from robbing you at night.

    Even Les Stroud had to come out of the wilderness more than once in his year living in the wild with his wife.

    At most, it’s decoupling, or introducing a little redundancy into the system. I like doing so, because I think it’s fun and I like the creativity in it, but I don’t delude myself into thinking I could survive more than a month or so without an absolutely critical dependence on modern society.

    Liberals might tell you they’re living without capitalism and conservatives will tell you they’re living without government – but if so, why are they here in expensive America, and not being all self-sufficient in Somalia?

  46. Mrs Money says 26 February 2009 at 10:23

    Wow, JD! This is an awesome post. I long to live in the mountains somewhere in a cob house, growing my own food and living happily ever after. The only thing I would miss would be running water and internet!! 🙂

  47. Christine says 26 February 2009 at 11:03

    Hey, bethh, I’m in unincorporated Clackamas County, too. Unfortunately some insanely smart racoon got all of my chickens once I got rid of the meanest rooster in the universe. Racoon picked them off, one by one, ultimately even learning how to get inside the coop to take out the last one.

    It was an experiment that I actually don’t intend to repeat, since they were very smelly, and I can get free range eggs all over the place.

  48. Roger says 26 February 2009 at 11:46

    Wow, that’s an impressive list of sites and articles, J.D. And Courtney’s list is incredible; I would never have guessed there were so many resources out there to help people become self-sufficient (which strikes me as just a little bit ironic 😉 )

    Being a born and raised city-slicker (or at least, suburban-slicker) I’m not sure how much of these articles will apply to me, but the articles quoted seem helpful and interesting.

  49. Kris says 26 February 2009 at 11:47

    On the topic of chickens vs. ducks:

    My main goal in keeping poultry is to control the slug population by allowing some foraging by the ducks. Apparently, chickens won’t eat slugs, while ducks and geese will? Ducks are also more tolerant of our cold temperatures and wet weather. It IS the Muscovy I’m looking at. I’ve read they can be mean-tempered if not fully tamed. Does anyone have any advice on this breed?

    Any eggs we get are a bonus. We’re not huge egg-eaters. Plus, we have plenty of friends with chickens, so us adding something more exotic to the mix increases trading possibilities. I think Jd just likes the IDEA of having backyard poultry, while I’m all about the ease of care and usefulness.

  50. Battra92 says 26 February 2009 at 11:54

    Good luck with the chickens. You will regret it when you have to smell them on a sweltering hot day. 😉

    I’d rather have cows over chickens actually. More crap but surprisingly less smell.

  51. Caleb says 26 February 2009 at 12:08

    J.D., why do you say that Mother Earth News ‘leans left’ because it features articles on being green and sustainable? By that logic, is the right destructive of the environment and wasteful? Too often the environment has been politicized, when rather protecting human health and caring for our environment are ideals all Americans should value and strive for. Despite the old paradigm, we don’t have to make a choice between the environment and industry, and Americans are understanding that more and more.

  52. Dana says 26 February 2009 at 12:23

    I like the article on building your own home, but I found it offensive that he had to throw that little dig at women in there.

    “Where would tuition money come from? Mom and Dad (mostly Dad) would be the first source…”

    Why do people think women are so adamant about working? Because of people with opinions like this, if Mom stays home then the money is not hers.

  53. Robin says 26 February 2009 at 13:08

    @Kris,
    We’ve had many flocks of ducks over the years.
    Had to get rid of the Muscovies, they chased and bit our kids (went after adults, too)

  54. Urchina says 26 February 2009 at 13:14

    I didn’t have time this morning to read all the posts, so sorry if this is redundant.

    I like Countryside, Backwoods Home and Mother Earth News for different reasons, but if I had to choose just one it’d be Countryside, hands-down.

    Two other resources I really like are:

    http://www.pathtofreedom.com — Jules Dervaes and family have created an urban farm on a city lot in Pasadena

    and http://www.progressivefarmer.com, which is geared more towards actual farmers.

    Hobby Farms, which you mentioned, is a pretty magazine, but I’ve found it a little short on substance.

    And finally, I really like the Encyclopedia of Country Living, by Carla Emery. She covers just about everything you could want to know about homesteading and self-sufficiency. This volume is packed with information.

    Thanks for the links, JD.

  55. trb says 26 February 2009 at 13:23

    JD, if you liked this mediocre article from Backwoods Home, you MUST read “Mortgage Free” by Rob Roy. It’s “Your money or your life” for the homesteading crowd.

    No snarky comments about women, either.

  56. Kim Cornman says 26 February 2009 at 13:24

    All this debate about being self sustaining: Give it a break! Being completely self sustaining probably isn’t very feasible in our society; in fact it’s the rare person who does it. The reasons I appreciate this movement are: the garden is good for me, physically, mentally and emotionally. The food i grow and cook myself – i know exactly what is in it and what I am putting in my body. Arguably it is healthier. without a doubt it is fresher, tastes better, and is a lot less likely to be tainted. Taking care of the garden, i take care of the earth and the soil which is fundamental environmentalism. The more we can practice sustainability and self-sustainability the smaller our carbon footprint and the kinder we are to the earth and to our fellow human beings. even if you do a little, it can mean a lot. it’s all a matter of degree.

  57. Jessica says 26 February 2009 at 13:30

    I am a big fan of ReadyMade. Its a more artistic DIY magazine, but its still very practical too. Lots of fun. You should totally check it out. They have a book too, which is fun (and doubles as a ruler!)

  58. Lisa says 26 February 2009 at 14:46

    I raised ducks for a number of years.

    The Muscovy ducks are indeed quiet. They come in serveral different colors, but only the pure white ones are common. The females are very sweet tempered and generally do an excellent job of raising ducklings. They do like to perch at night, so be sure to provide someplace where they can. The male Muscovy ducks are much larger than the females and can reach 18 pounds. They are very strong and can be both agressive and mean. On the good side, they are most excellent when smoked.

    Males of all the other domestic breeds do quack, but only quietly. The females are the loud mouths. The Indian Runner and Khaki Campbell breeds are excellent layers. Unfortunately, both breeds are inclined to be high strung and rather loud.

    All breeds of ducks will bathe regularly if possible. Frequent bathing and their naturally very oily feathers tend to kill off parasites. A small, well kept duck flock just doesn’t have the problems with parasites of sickness that are common with chickens.

    Ducks are a bit more carnivorous than chickens. They love bugs, worms, and grubs. They will also cheerfully eat or trample young plants. They love mud, and will make a mess with even the smallest water source. There’s a tradeoff here.

  59. Ray says 26 February 2009 at 15:09

    Chickens! Ah, I remember as a farm kid dressing chickens (is that the right word for beheading, gutting and cutting up?) all morning … and then having fried chicken for dinner. “Dinner” of course was the noon meal.

  60. James says 26 February 2009 at 15:24

    Great stuff, JD!

  61. J.D. says 26 February 2009 at 15:55

    At one time — years ago — I wanted to have a “comment of the week”. That didn’t last. If it were still in existence, the prize would go to Lisa for this gem, which just about made me choke:

    The male Muscovy ducks are much larger than the females and can reach 18 pounds. They are very strong and can be both agressive and mean. On the good side, they are most excellent when smoked.

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  62. Jenzer says 26 February 2009 at 16:01

    J.D., you might want to check out Lehman’s (www dot lehmans dot com) for an extensive selection of DIY books for homesteading types. Lehman’s is a store in Ohio that caters to the Amish and others living plain lifestyles.

  63. Aman@BullsBattleBears says 26 February 2009 at 16:03

    these are some sites I probably not have known about without reading about them here. Appreciate the post and effort in sharing some knowledge!

  64. Michele says 26 February 2009 at 16:06

    Oy, chickens. Now there’s a smell. I remember visiting my grandparents’ farm as a kid. They hadn’t kept chickens since my dad was small, but the smell in the hen house was still enough to activate my gag reflex.

  65. Deb says 26 February 2009 at 16:52

    I don’t think we’re all advocating being completely self sustaining. But many have an interest in returning to a less high tech, simpler lifestyle. For many, there’s a huge reward in growing one’s food, tending their plot of earth, and living a less consumptive lifestyle.

    As a cancer survivor, it is horrifying news to learn of the amount of BPA present in food containers. It’s in plastic, nalgene bottles, baby bottles, and is especially heavy in the lining of cans, particularly in foods that require an acidic boost, such as beans. BPA is nasty, carcinogenic stuff, and it’s everywhere. All the more reason to grow & preserve as much organic as possible, in my opinion!

    Btw, chickens are also beneficial in your garden. In the late fall/early winter, as the garden dies down, turn them loose to let them dig & scratch & aerate your soil, plus fertilize it. Do it again in early spring!

  66. Michele says 26 February 2009 at 16:58

    How I frugally shot myself in the foot: We keep our thermostat low to save money. We raise a garden to save money.

    For two years, our starter seeds rotted and the soil molded, so we sowed directly outside and suffered a delayed crop. We finally realized the house was too cold.

    Now we take our starter seeds to my spendthrift in-laws’ house, which is like a furnace. Once they sprout, we bring them back.

  67. Leslie says 26 February 2009 at 17:40

    If you are seriously considering raising ducks you need to read the book “Enslaved by Ducks” by Bob Tarte. Very, very funny. Seems like it is a book that is right up your ally…

  68. Save&Spend says 26 February 2009 at 18:11

    We love to garden and can. We haven’t done it for a couple of years, but last week we poured over the seed catalog and began planning our garden. We also hunt and fish.

    JD, you might want to clean a chick house and butcher chickens before getting them. We purchase ranch raised chickens, but I won’t raise them. I remember the smell too well from childhood.

    We’ve even experimented with making soap and a few other “old fashioned” ways of doing things to satisfy our curiosity.

    Great Post! Thanks!

  69. Ken says 26 February 2009 at 18:18

    http://www.backyardchickens.com has a ton of resources for folks wanting to keep poultry at home. Their forums are the real gem though, with a ton of information on all aspects of keeping and raising chickens as well as other fowl.

  70. Charlotte says 26 February 2009 at 19:17

    Check out this video!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoGYx35ypus

    Everything’s amazing, nobody’s happy

    This really represents how we have advanced in technology but not happy…

  71. mb says 26 February 2009 at 19:18

    perfect timing… I just started looking for plants I can grow in my appartment, and here you have lots of helpful links. Now I just need to convince my roomates to go along with the idea 🙂

  72. southerngirl says 27 February 2009 at 03:01

    @Michelle with low thermostat..
    Check out http://www.gardenweb.com forums (specifically, the Winter Sowing forurm. Just discovered it the other day. New hope for seed starters! Great way to recycle old milk jugs, 2 liter bottles (get them from Craig’s list if you don’t use them yourself) or toilet paper rolls/newspapers.

    In general…I’m becoming more and more interested in raising my own food, would love to have chickens, living off the grid. I’m probably more in the libertarian camp. However, my interest just boils down to “control issues.”

    I would like to better be able to control how much money DOESN’T go out of my house for things over which I have no control…rising food prices in the grocery store, increased energy costs, etc. Control over what goes into my food, etc.

  73. southerngirl says 27 February 2009 at 03:05

    Adding to the control comments…

    Controlling odors in chicken coops–check out Natural Farming, Korean style. Using beneficial indigenous microorganisms (which you collect yourself from air, ground, etc), you might be able to keep that chicken coop or duck roost from smelling!

    http://www.janong.com/ENGLISH/04.htm

  74. southerngirl says 27 February 2009 at 03:10

    Oh, wait, there’s more!

    If you want protein without the smell, you might want to try raising catfish in a barrel. The perfect food cycle, nothing wasted.

    http://www.kurtsaxon.com/foods007.htm

  75. DDFD at DivorcedDadFrugalDad says 27 February 2009 at 03:53

    Great post!

    I have read these for years . . . highly recommended!

  76. Trent Hamm says 27 February 2009 at 08:34

    I grew up on 1970s issues of Mother Earth News. My father was an avid reader back then, but he unsubscribed in the late 1980s because, in his words, “it turned into slick *******,” probably due to a change in ownership around that time when it was repackaged into “the original country magazine” or some such nonsense.

  77. Courtney says 27 February 2009 at 08:49

    Heh…my mother says “mother earth news” has gone corporate and is now worthless…;)

    I grew up “off the grid”….no indoor flush toilet, solar electricity, well water, etc. My first pet was a pig, and we ate it.

    re: self-sufficiency….well, yes, we live in a highly complex society. But….when the next Hurricane Katrina, or ‘perfect storm’ or ‘the big one’ earthquake comes around…I’d rather be snug as a bug in a rug at home, with no real worries. Winter of 94, our road was impassable for 6 weeks due to fallen trees. Bother us? A little cabin fever, but otherwise, we were just fine. Plus, I like knowing what’s in the food I grow…..and there’s some intrinsic satisfaction about DIY….hence the enormous popularity of it!

  78. Peregrin says 27 February 2009 at 13:14

    Farming Magazine is another good one. http://www.farmingmagazine.net/index.htm

  79. Margaret says 27 February 2009 at 17:09

    I agree with those who posted about ducks. Great eggs – larger, more/different flavor than chicken eggs. Fun to watch in the water as they dive for munchies. Awesome bug-zappers. but…messy creatures! They mess in & around the water (dish or pond), duck poop is a wet mess – everywhere. The females never.shut.up.ever! Chickens are messy & noisy, too, but there aren’t poop-slicks everywhere, either. Not sure how you’d raise either with non-agricultural neighbors close by, but I’m sure it’s being done successfully. 🙂

  80. Jason says 28 February 2009 at 05:05

    Thanks I am going to have to check some of these out.

    I plan on using a chicken tractor when I get my chickens, it is a movable pen so you can pasture raise your chickens. They eat the bugs and fertilize different areas of your lawn.

    I already know a few people doing it successfully.

  81. Tamara says 28 February 2009 at 21:41

    I vote for chickens! My kids have been in a Poultry program in 4-H for the last 5 years. We always wanted chickens and this was a great way for us to learn about them. I wanted to second the website someone else mentioned, http://www.backyardchickens.com, if you have any questions about them or ducks, very helpful folks there. Either way you go, you will find they bring a lot of fun to your life. Great manure too! But I vote for chickens, you can’t go wrong with them! Fun little pets to have around the place.

  82. GBirds says 01 March 2009 at 11:03

    Chickens are great, and fresh eggs are even better. But don’t get chickens thinking you’ll save money. They’re only cost-effective if you have a load of ’em. After building a coop and run, buying feed and food-grade diatomaceous earth (to control worms, lice, and moisture), tweaking your coop/run, replacing the stuff in the garden that they trampled and/or ate, chicken-proofing the garden, not to mention buying the chicks (or pullets, if you don’t want to wait so long for eggs), you’re looking at a pricey egg.

    How do I know this? I have 3 adorable pullets in the yard, only one of which is laying so far, and my Excel spreadsheet tells me that the 13 eggs she’s given us average out to $27.06 a pop.

    Still, chickens are a good time, very funny, and their poop heats up your compost pile like nobody’s business. Just not “cheep.”

  83. Elisha says 02 March 2009 at 14:23

    Great topics JD –
    I highly recommend Backwoods Home. I love their website & use it frequently. If you are looking to stock a small library on the subject of homesteading, I suggest used book sales such as fundraisers for “Friends of The Library”. I recently purchased a copy of the original Back to Basics book, and many other books on gardening, food preservation, DIY manuals etc. The most expensive book I bought was 3.00! Most were .50 or less. Good luck with your chickens or ducks. My husband and I are also planning on chickens soon so please keep us posted on how it goes!

  84. kevin says 02 March 2009 at 14:59

    I’d highly recommend getting the “whole shebang” for Backwoods home. You get all their previous issues (up to the last anthology printing) in anthology format, as well as CD’s of different items. I did that when we moved to our acreage a couple of years ago and we still use it for research over and over again. Quite incredible value and usefulness.

  85. Susie says 03 March 2009 at 19:48

    I’m thrilled to have found your website. Thanks for the great discussion.
    We started keeping chickens last spring (they we my Mother’s Day gifts- I’d wanted some for years!) We have 4 hens- all different varieties that give wonderful eggs. They are really easy (my 6 yr old feeds them and checks their egg boxes everyday and I check their water supply).
    We have very little smell (we sweep out the henhouse about once a month and put the straw and dropping right into the compost). We still keep a compost pail for things like coffee grounds, but give the girls most of our food scraps and veggie cuttings.
    We used mostly recycled materials for the coop (a neighbor’s old playhouse and giveaway picket fencing as an extra barrier for our two dogs!)
    Other than the $16.00 bag of feed that we buy every other month, there is no cost involved. Hearing my son thank the girls when he finds an egg… priceless!

  86. Crystal Groves says 04 March 2009 at 06:37

    We get Countryside and Backwoods Home magazine, which are both excellent. I wasn’t all that impressed with Mother Earth News, but I do frequent their website.

    There’s a new one coming out called Grit that I just requested a free copy of to check out. Might be worth looking into.

  87. shevy says 04 March 2009 at 14:01

    When I was 14 I liked TMEN so much that I ordered all their back issues to that point! A lot of them bit the dust through a variety of moves over the past 35 years but now you can read all the articles online. It’s not as overtly left-leaning now as it was when it was full of letters from draft dodgers starting communes in the backwoods of BC. I never really noticed it all at the time because the same stuff was all over our local newspapers in Vancouver. It used to be full of articles on how you could work from home (and not have to deal with The Man). How about raising african violets in your basement? Or you could start a typing business if you bought an IBM Selectric and 2 or 3 type balls!

    I’ll have to check out a few of the links, both JD’s and reader ones.

    Here in Vancouver it has been illegal to raise chickens but it’s up before city council this week, so I’m hoping it will change. Several other local municipalities like Burnaby, New West and Surrey have already permitted it. I’d be interested in having just 3 or 4 chickens. Isn’t the smell only a problem where you have lots of them or a battery-type operation? I’ve had budgies many times over the years, so I’ve cleaned up my share of bird poop. How bad are chickens really?

  88. Terri Skitch says 05 March 2009 at 09:42

    HobbyFarms.com just launched a new site design with interactive activities and social networking to share farming tips and tools.

    A one-week contest with prizes every day will run March 10th to March 16th. You can enter every day to win some great prizes.

  89. Melissa says 06 March 2009 at 17:36

    Check out http://www.homesteadingtoday.com

    This is an active and helpful homesteading forum.

  90. Mercy says 08 March 2009 at 14:47

    Great site JD. I’ve looked in on most of the sites listed and find they all have some information or other stuff I can use. I always try to use a little common sense when reading or experimenting with the things I read.
    I was raised on a farm then moved to the city now back on the farm. I love growing our own food. Gardening and raising animals has been very relaxing and knowing what is in my food is so nice.
    We have had chickens for 3 years and after all this time I still don’t find their smell bad. mine are free to roam all day and put up at night. they have never bothered my garden. My rabbits smell worse then the chickens. I have A duck and he is almost as loud as my dogs but he is fun to watch in his pool.
    Good luck I am patiently waiting to read more.

  91. Jeffrey Cargter says 21 March 2009 at 12:36

    My favorite survival handbook is the Boy Scouts of America Handbook. Cheap and full of survival and do it yourself ideas. Hey J.D., pick me!

  92. Mark Smith says 22 March 2009 at 06:13

    “Backwoods Home, is like the first two publications in this list – but with guns.”

    This made me spit my coffee. I haven’t laughed out loud at my computer in awhile!

    Thanks, I will check out some of the other pubs, I’ve been a Mother Earth News subscriber for years.

  93. Steve says 13 July 2009 at 05:01

    Backwoodsman magazine, Charlie Richie is the editor.
    It’s great, better in my opinion than the ones noted in this article.
    http://www.backwoodsmanmag.com/newfeatures.html

  94. Tinker says 13 July 2009 at 17:13

    Backwoods Home Magazine has Jackie Clay, as I recall, as close to a canning expert as you can find working today, as well as the gun expert, Massad Ayoob. I never met the man, but have admired him for years, at least since his book _IN the_GRAVEST_EXTREME_ book came out on firearms in 1980(?), how and when to use them. I found his statements very clear and understandable, remarkably free of posturing and macho feelings. He is an expert on the use of deadly force, and testifies regularly in court (yes, lawyers pay him to speak for their clients). He is also a rather good shot (he is affiliated With Lethal Force Institute, which offers classes on rifle and handgun use).

    In the same issue of Lew Rockwell.com that your column appeared in, on self-reliance magazines, Massad Ayoob’s column from Backwoods Home appeared. If you go to Lew Rockwell, and find Massad Ayoob’s column, it will lead you to Mr Ayoob’s blog, which covers most of his Backwood Home columns, for free. Now, lest I upset Backwoods Home, let me give them a plug: They have one of the better sites, and all their old columns were (once?) available on CD, in fact you used to be able to order an entire set of cds that covered most of umpteen years of print magazines, and it was great deal. Also as I recall you could get a lifetime subscription to Backwoods Home. If they will still let you, I recommend it. You may be more of a libertarian than you think, if you can agree with Backwoods home on most subjects and Massad Ayoob on guns.

    Let me say, I am a lifelong libertarian, a gun owner since I was 21, and BIG Fan of the magazine, and every thing Massad Ayoob wrote for gun magazines over the decades. Just so you know what my biases are,and where I am coming from. (Everyone has biases, some are less than honest about them however.)

    http://www.amazon.com/Gravest-Extreme-Firearm-Personal-Protection/dp/0936279001

    This book is not perfect, and I wish Mr. Ayoob would update
    it, mostly the section on choosing firearms. Things have changed over the last 28 years…

  95. Pat Miketinac says 14 July 2009 at 19:58

    The older issues of Mother Earth News are the best and are available on CD or you can search them on their website. Their website forums are fun too. I try to debate against their slide to the left, with more of a Constitutional viewpoint and Austrian School economic theory.

  96. Dennis Zeigler says 15 July 2009 at 06:38

    You missed Backwoodsman Magazine. Great magazine.

  97. John says 15 July 2009 at 10:52

    Mother Earth News was great in it day but, thing have changed and it is to full of ads now.

    I have the 1st-5th of the old Mother Earth News and it was simple.

    I think that is why we started our own this year and also living in the country were we are living the Pioneer Living life.

  98. Heather says 17 July 2009 at 00:15

    I’m a total libertarian (just as disclaimer). I’ve read all the magazines on your list, at some point or other, and subscribed to several. Mother Earth News used to be the bomb…back when I was a kid. Every time I pick up an issue in the last decade or so, I decide it’s too polished and too “Vermont”. It always strikes me as being a magazine for those who have a LOT more money to spend on gadgets than the average rural person. Backwoods Home is my favorite–has been for almost 20 years. If we can only afford to subscribe to one magazine, it’s BHM. Countryside is also good. It’s almost totally reader-written, so you never know what’s going to be within, and one could wish it was better organized (but I don’t know how that could be done with the reader-generated format), but it’s good reading, always. Small Farm Today is okay. They put on a good small farm show in Columbia, MO, every fall. BackHome strikes me as a watered-down Backwoods Home–okay, but why spend the money, when the real thing is cheaper? I think I’ve only ever looked at one issue of Hobby Farms, and I wasn’t impressed at all. I think it’s targeted at suburbanites with horses, or something. One I would add to the mix is called Farm Show. It’s more of a monthly newspaper format, and is the bomb if you’re the kind of person who likes to make neat & useful stuff out of junk–or see what kind of neat-o keen thing someone else has come up with out of the junk pile on his back forty.

  99. Maddy Montgomery says 10 November 2009 at 12:14

    Great Info! My husband and I are beginning our journey towards self sufficiency and a simpler life. We have talked about doing it for many years, but we have now set ourselves a deadline. November 10, 2010 we will be free of corporate america! Mother Earth News has provided a wealth of information to help us in our journey.

  100. Keith says 19 December 2009 at 15:32

    Permaculture Activist magazine has been covering the subject of designing for homestead self sufficiency for the last 25 years. Look into it at http://permacultureactivist.net/index.html
    I’ve been blogging about these subjects for the last three years at http://kjpermaculture.blogspot.com/
    Over the last 35 years I’ve read some of all the other mags listed except Hobby Farms. Another one I’d add to the list is Acres USA at http://www.acresusa.com/magazines/magazine.htm

  101. LifeUnplugged says 20 January 2010 at 13:11

    This is a great list of publications. I am familiar with most of them, but Hobby Farm and Small Farm Today were new to me. Thanks for the great list!

  102. HH says 20 September 2011 at 16:22

    I have subscribed to both MEN and Countryside in the past. I enjoyed both, but probably liked Countryside more. MEN is the type of magazine you flip through, read certain articles, it has great pictures and has great gardening articles. Countryside is a bit different, I think it’s more “homey” where as MEN is more “hippie”, if that makes sense. It has articles about gardening as well (though it’s black and white only, so no gorgeous pics of ripe heirloom tomatoes), and raising livestock and poultry, but it also has articles about canning and baking and sewing and crafting much more than MEN does. It cares much more about being self sufficient than being green. I would read it from cover to cover, but sometimes would skip over articles that I didn’t have much interest in. I have been trying to cut down on my magazine subscriptions (it would take me so long to read them I was always 6 months behind) and have somewhat given up on the homesteading dream, so I didn’t renew them after a couple of years subscription.

  103. Craig Bowles says 29 January 2013 at 06:05

    Hi,
    My family and I have for many years longed for the self-sufficient homesteading lifestyle and finally in May 2012 managed to acquire the property that is going to allow us to folow this dream.
    We currently have approximately 60 animals of various types (chickens, ducks, goats, pigs, horses & rabbits). We are now offering both residential and long-distance courses to anyone interested in learning firsthand if this way of life is for them with hands-on experience in all aspects of living this life.
    We are in the Charente department of France and now have our website up and running ( https://sites.google.com/site/lesammons16/home ). Please feel free to get in touch if this is something that you or anyine you know may be interested in.
    Thanks
    Craig

  104. c behrens says 27 June 2013 at 18:02

    Its amazing that when published in nc the magazine had a lot of acrage and built a lot of the projects right there in nc at the property…also a lot of the articles was from pop sci, pop mech, mech ill etc. YOu can also find a lot of self sufficient articles in American survivalist that deals with all kind of problems and remedies…

  105. A Growing Garden says 01 September 2013 at 12:21

    Great post. Thanks for the info!!

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