It’s the middle of September, the leaves are changing color and almost all of our vegetables are harvested. Fall comes quickly in the north. After the frenzy of summer homestead projects, I’m ready to settle down to winter activities. And one of the things I look forward to most is creating my autumn off grid reading list.
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I'm starting with these five books as a good cross-section to cover my infotainment, and "important skills to brush up on" categories. As the season progresses, chances are I'll add more. So if you're on the hunt for gifts for survivalists, preppers, homesteaders, or people interested in off grid living, check these out.
Fall 2020 Off Grid Living Reading List
I should point out that I'm reading the paperback versions of each of these books on my off grid reading list. However, they're also available on Kindle.
If you're looking for a list of off grid books on Kindle, check out this post. I wrote it back in the spring when Amazon's monthly Kindle Unlimited was offered free for a couple of months. It includes 10 off grid living and/or self-reliance type titles available through the Kindle Unlimited membership.
At Crossroads with Chickens
Author: Tory McCagg
In At Crossroads with Chickens: a "What If It Works?" Adventure in Off Grid Living & Quest for Home, award-winning author Tory McCagg shares her story. McCagg and her husband Carl built their off grid home in Jaffrey, New Hampshire back in 2012. Along with the daily realities of living off the grid, MCCagg also expanded her chicken flock and homesteading activities to include a large garden.
As a professional writer and former city girl myself who moved off the grid at about the same time, I found many similarities in our stories. A good cozy read for a blustery fall day.
Essential Wilderness Navigation
Authors: Craig Caudill and Tracy Trimble
Are you eager to hone your wilderness navigation skills next spring or summer? If so, then Essential Wilderness Navigation: A Real-World Guide to Finding Your Way Safely in the Woods With or Without a Map, Compass or GPS should make your fall off grid reading list.
Written by wilderness trainers Craig Caudill and Tracy Trimble, this book offers practical tips on finding your way through the wilderness - with or without a map and compass.
Sections of the book include
- Essentials of Wilderness Navigation
- Next-Level Skills to Round Out Your Knowledge
- Specialized Practical Applications of Wilderness Navigation Methods
Each section includes detailed information and questions to test your new knowledge. And then you can work through the missions to help you put your new knowledge into practice.
I can definitely use this to hone my own bush skills. However, I'm also eager to work through these missions with my younger kids in a year or two. They'll be a great "next step" to the Think Outside Boxes Navigation Box we use right now.
Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving (New & Updated)
Editors: Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine
Robert Rose Publishing
Newly updated in May, 2020, The Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving: 400 Delicious and Creative Recipes for Today now has over a million copies in print. (Note: in the United States this is published as The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. It has the same content, and I wrote a review of it here. This makes a great Christmas present for any foodies on your list!)
Now, if you've been following me for any length of time, you know that I've been interested in becoming as self-reliant as possible when it comes to securing my family's food supply. And since the pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, I've kicked all my food production and food preservation into high gear with gardening, canning, pickling, preserving, and adding meat chickens and laying hens to our homestead. (We're discussing getting meat rabbits as well. And maybe a turkey or two.)
That's why I'm including a book on canning on my fall off grid reading list. I figure now is a good time to brush up on my water bath canning skills, learn more about pressure canning, and try new recipes. The Bernardin brand is well-known in Canada, and Bernardin jars are pretty common here as an alternative to Ball canning jars.
My daughters and I have already been pouring over the 400 recipes in this 439-page book. Now we're making a list of which ones to try in our off grid homestead kitchen. In addition to the recipes, I'll be reviewing the comprehensive, step-by-step Safe Canning Procedures with the girls as we put our new 30 Quart All-American Pressure Canner to good use this month.
101 Skills You Need to Survive in the Woods
Author: Kevin Estela
Page Street Publishing
Bushcraft and survival expert and founder of Estela Wilderness Education, Kevin Estella knows a thing or two about wilderness living skills.
In 101 Skills You Need to Survive in the Woods: The Most Effective Wilderness Know-How on Fire-Making, Knife Work, Navigation, Shelter, Food and More, Estela shares 101 skills to learn and practice in order to survive in the woods.
Like the Essential Wilderness Navigation Guide, I'm reading this book with an eye to adapting it to our homeschool and forest schooling lessons.
I'm a mother of two young daughters living in a boreal wilderness north of the 60th parallel in Canada's subarctic. It's important to me that the girls know how to take care of themselves out here. That's why our off grid homeschooling activities include foraging skills, wilderness first aid, working with homemade firestarters outdoors, and nature appreciation.
- Skill #8, Carry Fire
- Skill #22, Knife Grips
- Skill #39, Assemble a Tripod
- Skill #43, Create a Ferro Rod Quick Light
Looks like it's time to add a few new items to their wilderness survival kits too.
Great Outdoor Adventures: Bear Grylls
Author: Bear Grylls
What off grid reading list would be complete without an entry from writer and star of Man vs. Wild, Bear Grylls?
True, he's written several more well-known books including his autobiography, Mud, Sweat, and Tears. Yet Great Outdoor Adventures: The Ultimate Guide to the Best Outdoor Pursuits makes my fall off grid reading list this year. That's because I was looking for a book including ideas to use outdoors as part of our winter bush skills activities. And also because my son Blake is a big Bear Grylls fan. He left this book behind when he headed back to Toronto just before the pandemic travel restrictions hit.
So there you have it - five books on my shelf right now. What about you? Any recommendations? I'm always looking for additional bushcraft, wilderness living, off the grid, and survivalist titles to add to our paperback and hardcover library. Let me know in the comments below!
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