Book information – The Made-From-Scratch Life
Author – Melissa K. Norris
First things first – unlike the author, I am definitely not a homesteader. While many of my relatives live out in the country, I was raised in town. I live in a more rural area now and love it, but still, I’m only on a couple acres. So I came into this book with some homemaking skills learned from family and from kind mentors, but you wouldn’t want me running your farm.
So, does this book speak to people like me? You bet it does. First of all, I really liked Norris’ style. This is not just a dry book of recipes and information; the author has put a lot of herself and her own experiences into her writing and that makes for a book that is not only informative but full of heart.
The book is divided into user-friendly categories, so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. Some of it (such as the information on raising livestock) didn’t apply so much to me, but a beginning farmer or someone newly married into a farm family would likely find it helpful. I already make some of my own cleaners and I cook just about all of our meals from scratch, but Norris includes some helpful facts and plenty of great recipes to increase my repertoire.
Where I really found this book helpful was in the discussion of growing and harvesting one’s own food as well as the various ways to preserve food. Growing up, we always had a small backyard plot and at my house, we’ve been fighting the deer over a vegetable garden that we plan to increase gradually. So far, in the 2 years I’ve been there, I have a fairly well-established herb garden and the first of what I hope will be many raised beds. Norris’ tips on planning out and caring for the garden were helpful and I found them of great assistance in making adjustments to my own gardening notebook.
I tend to fall a little short in the freezing/canning department, so I found the author’s encouragement here good as well. Unfortunately, this chapter is a little thin in places. If you are looking to really get on your food preservation game, you’re going to need to look at other books besides this one. In The Made-From-Scratch Life, Norris does a great job of explaining why we should be good stewards and put up our harvest, but there’s not nearly enough practical information. She mentions canning and other methods of food preservation, but those of us who aren’t experts could really use more information.
On a more positive note, Norris not only talks about how her way of life helps her to be a good steward of resources, she also spends time discussing how they build family traditions and how the work of raising crops and animals, putting up the harvest and so on reminds her of God’s hand on her life. It’s inspiring stuff and I enjoyed it. At times, I wished some of the topics could have been more deeply explored from the practical side, but I suspect that would have led to an enormous book for the end result. Rating – 4 stars
Many thanks to Harvest House for providing me a free review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.