I just finished reading a great book “The Self-Sufficient Life and How To Live It” by John Seymour. And I must say that if I was to choose one book about self-sufficiency it would be this one. It’s a great source of information for all people who, like me, want to live off the land.

The book was written by John Seymour, “known and respected as the >Father of Self-Sufficiency<“, who spent most of his life in Great Britain. This is what makes the book most useful for me – the british point of view. Most books written in United States are focused on american climate that differs a lot from what I have in Poland. Large part of the plants that are described in such books won’t grow in my part of Europe, because I have shorter and colder summers than Americans do.

The edition I own is said to be expanded with over 100 pages from “The New Self-Sufficient Gardener” and covers many interesting topics on the over 400 pages. As the first edition was published in 1976, I guess it was over the 35 years updated with all the relevant information.

This book covers not only topics about producing your own food by growing certain vegetables, herbs and fruits, but also about building your own home:

  • working in stone,
  • working in metal,
  • woodworking,
  • making tiles and bricks,
  • building,
  • thatching! (thatched roofs were very popular in Poland!),
  • building all-purpose furnace.

Most of the book is devoted to producing foor from garden, animals and from the wild. The book describes all the phases from the field (clearing land, preparing land) through all the agriculture (sowing, harvesting, but also irrigating, hedging and fencing), storing to your meal. You’ll learn how to make bread, wine, beer, hard cider and vinegar.

A small part of the book is about producing energy and dealing with waste. It shows a easy way to make composting toilet (called Thunderbox Toiled), the part I find the most useful for me.

The cover says the book costs $35, but I bought it for a bit over $20 on Amazon.com and I must say this was probably one of the best books I bought about self-sufficiency!