Do-it-yourself stuff is all the rage these days. We’re reclaiming our autonomy over marketing campaigns and industrial food, like our parents did in the 70’s, or, maybe your parents, because mine were working. My parents didn’t hop on the organic food movement when it started in Berkeley, nor did they have any idea how or why we’d ever want to raise chickens, keep bees, make our own jams or cheeses. They were busy building careers, trying to bring up their kids differently than they were raised. And I’m glad they did; I’ve had a lot of opportunities and life-phase-stuff that they never had, e.g. there was never any doubt that I’d go to college (neither of my parents were able to finish).
Here’s where the promise of a happy-holding-hands DIY future meets the demands of present day reality (we have jobs and bills and things to do outside of the home), right here, on your own terms. It doesn’t matter if you grew up doing this stuff because people like Ashley English are out there writing excellent, beginner-friendly guide books. No matter how you come to try these kinds of projects, via your own grandma, someone else’s grandma, or the internet, the outcome is the same. New skills, new experiences, possibly new relationships with your food and home.
Ashley and I became friends after I won one of her blog giveaways, her signature 5-spice kumquat marmalade, in fact. (The recipe is in her canning book!) Ashley’s Homemade Living books are an essential resource for any person, girl or guy, getting hip to the homefront and all the things you might do there. I adore her four books (that her publisher so graciously sent me): Canning and Preserving, Keeping Chickens, Keeping Bees, and Home Dairy.
Her style is warm and inviting. Her photos are top notch.
This is one of my fave features in her Canning book. When you’re a beginner, how are you supposed to know what recipe to use if you don’t know what the end result is supposed to look like, if you even like the kind of preserve you’re making!
She helps you ease into those projects you’ve been curious about for sometime. I can’t say bees are on my agenda anytime soon, but I really enjoy reading about what goes on in friends’ hives. Even if you don’t have plans to try these kinds of homemade life projects, it’s great to understand how things come to be that we often take for granted, as they appear magically on store shelves.
Here’s how to enter: Leave a comment on this post by midnight West coast time, Sunday June 19:
Tell us what you most appreciate about your upbringing. We’re in the cusp between Mothers’ and Fathers’ days here, so let us know how they influenced you the most. It doesn’t have to be home-related!
Restrictions: You will NOT win if you don’t include your email address in the little box on the comment form, no one but me will see this, I promise. Also, Ashley’s publisher has asked me to restrict the winner to US Residents only. I’m sorry my Canadian and UK (& elsewhere) pals. Presently, I can’t afford to ship the series myself. Thanks for understanding!
Thank you all for entering, what wonderful responses.
Congratulations to lucky number 186, Heather from New Kensington PA!