Are you looking for a homestead? Do you know what to look for? Homesteading survival isn’t new, but during 2020, people started waking up to the realization that they wanted a different life. To quote the book, “The urban escape is global.” This book is meant to guide those who are looking for a life filled with self-sufficiency away from the crowded cities. But which state is right for you? Do you know how to access clean water? What type of home is best for you and your needs? How will you power the homestead? What about providing food through gardening and raising livestock? If you’re looking for a homestead, these questions, and more, are all spinning around your head. But lucky for us, Marty Raney has come to our rescue.
Raney, author of Homestead Survival, is the star of the TV show Homestead Rescue, which started in 2016. Raney heads to struggling homesteads to help them keep their dreams alive. The advice he offers in this book will give anyone thinking about starting a homestead, the roadmap for success. It starts out with getting into the mindset of homesteading and how to get the whole family on board with the idea. From there each chapter takes the reader step-by-step into what they need to consider for their homestead from finding the land, to gardening and even a discussion on tools.
He goes into good detail about everything, including building a home, electricity, and even building a compost toilet. Options for living on- and off-grid are also discussed. I do wish it had gone into even deeper detail about exact builds, but there are plenty of books out there that do that. The purpose of this book was to give the reader concrete places to start. It introduces you to concepts and ideas that maybe you hadn’t thought of before so you won’t need to call upon Raney to rescue your homestead.
He did have a greater emphasis on off-grid living, talking about passive solar, heating, and wood stoves. I think planning for off-grid living is an important part of having a homestead, so this was a pleasant surprise. It touched a little on hunting, which was great, but I think I missed the part about foraging for wild edibles and fishing. Of course, that’s not what this book is about, but I figured those would’ve been mentioned along with hunting. Homesteading is about using all our resources, not just ones we can produce.
It did talk about predators, which is usually just a side-mention in most books, but as it said in the book, “Avoiding or deterring predators is your job, not theirs.” This couldn’t be truer, especially if you have livestock or a garden. It ends the book talking about expecting the worst-case scenario. This is true about life and even more so when you run a homestead, which is a lot of work and the more you take on, the more points of failure there are.
Raney gives it to the reader straight, but in a realistic manner. He isn’t feeding us a dream that can’t be reached; he’s telling us exactly what’s needed to make your dreams a reality. One of the reasons I really enjoy this book is because you can tell he wants to help people. He also offers many out-of-the-box ideas and solutions. He makes it very clear that if there’s a will, there’s a way. Of course, sometimes that way is getting really creative, but there’s always a way.
Through his decades of experience building a homestead of his own in the last frontier of Alaska, he has seen and done it all. He speaks from experience. I really appreciated that he added in the natural disaster aspect. I vividly remember reading about a homestead in Hawaii that was burned away from an exploding volcano. What a nightmare that must have been for that family. But he helped them get back on their feet, to overcome the obstacle, and to continue on with their dream.
I loved the personal stories he presented to showcase the struggles, but also the possibilities. His stories simply drove home the ideas that anyone can homestead anywhere, but it’s all about preparation. My only wish was for a few more pictures. There were some nice illustrations scattered throughout the book, but I wish there were more. I would’ve especially liked to see some screen captures from the show, Homestead Rescue, to really showcase some of the things we were reading about. In saying all of this, this is the book you need for the roadmap to get your homestead started and make it successful.
Book & Author
Homestead Survival: An Insiders Guide to Your Great Escape
By Marty Raney
$16.48 Paperback; $11.99 Kindle