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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