I recently stumbled upon the website for Backwoods Home Magazine and liked what I saw. I considered subscribing, but was a bit hesitant, until my enthusiasm for the magazine was reinforced by a post just yesterday from J.D. at Get Rich Slowly. He posted an excellent review of self-sufficiency magazines and websites, and it seemed like this one intrigued him the most as well.
A DIY “Wannabe”
That’s me; a DIY, self-sufficiency wannabe. I say that because while I have always been interested in living off the grid, I am fully plugged in at the moment and it is not likely that I will be able to “unplug” any time soon. However, I still enjoy reading about others who have done it, and applying those lessons to my current situation.
Photo courtesy of Grzegorz Lobinski
Just because you live in a neighborhood, rather than a 5-acre ranch, it doesn’t mean the same rules of self-sufficiency do not apply. There are a number of things you can do to make your small homestead more efficient, like building a square foot garden for vegetables, installing a clothesline to lessen the energy demand from your dryer, and reducing your waste by starting a compost pile (also great for gardening!).
The problem is, if you are like me and were raised in the city, these skills were not acquired during your upbringing. Fortunately, there are a number of books and magazines, such as Backwoods Home, that share tips and advice for living a self-sufficient lifestyle.
Here’s a small sampling of my favorite articles from past issues:
Canning 101. Every summer we visit a local strawberry farm and pick a ton of fresh strawberries. We eat enough to make us sick, have strawberry shortcake for several nights in a row, and freeze a few with sugar and water to enjoy fresh strawberry shortcake later in the summer. But I have always wanted to learn how to can them for homemade strawberry jellies and jams. I’d like to put up some of our tomatoes from the square foot garden and make some homemade salsa. Fortunately, Backwood Homes frequently runs articles explaining the canning process.
How Do You Live Without Electricity? Good advice, even if you are still on the grid. We lose power a couple times a year from thunderstorms in the area, and even have the occasional hurricane or tropical storm blow far enough inland to affect us. In 2004 we lost power for several days after a hurricane blew ashore and held together long enough to reach us as strong tropical storm. Could have used these tips back then!
Garden Spaces For Small Places. Anyone who has read Frugal Dad long enough knows that I am an amateur gardener, of sorts. I built a square foot garden box last year as a project to share with my kids, and it really took off. This year we plan to expand our raised bed layout, and try our hand at growing a few tomato plants in containers. I’m looking forward to reading more about gardening in Backwoods Home.
The magazine ties in well with my desire to live more frugally, and even if we never make it off the grid, I look forward to applying these lessons in our residential world. With spring just around the corner we are looking forward to starting our garden again, drying clothes outside, and turning off the heat and air for a few weeks (the power bill is such a dreaded drain on our wallet!).
What spring projects do you have in the works?