« Return to this article

for people who care about the West

The real thing

  Real "country living" means really having the right and opportunity to grow both food plants and animals. A block of apartments plopped into the middle of a cow pasture 10 miles from the supermarket isn't real "country." It's guaranteed commuter clog and developer's profit (buying cheap agricultural land and turning it into urban-density, perpetual-rent housing). If you can't even have a garden you're in phony country. This book is about real country living - growing your family's food, both plant and animal."


* Carla Emery, The Encyclopedia of Country Living





Many urbanites dream of life in the country: the simplicity of clothes drying on the line, of eating fresh-gathered eggs, and turning vegetables from the garden and chicken from the henhouse into dinner. But country reality can be 12-hour work days, vulnerability to weather and insects, and living far from the conveniences of a laundromat, a bakery or a good library. For rural wannabes who take the plunge (and for those who like to dream), Carla Emery's Encyclopedia of Country Living is an invaluable textbook of how-to's: how to make onion rings with home-grown onions and home-brewed beer; how to wash clothes with a bucket of warm soapy water, a flatbed pickup truck and a bumpy dirt road; how to kill a chicken without shuddering, remove the giblets and use its feathers to stuff a quilt. Each section of this ninth edition includes simple words of encouragement and advice. Emery, a mother of seven children and longtime "rural housewife," also offers recipes from readers and friends in this well-organized guide to dropping out.


The Encyclopedia of Country Living, by Carla Emery: Sasquatch Books, 1998. 858 pages, $27.95, paper.


* Rebecca Clarren