After taking a short break, today I share another author interview in the Backdoor Survival Book Festival. Anna Hess, the author of The Weekend Homesteader: A Twelve-Month Guide to Self-Sufficiency shares her answers to my questions and is also providing one of my readers with a free copy of her fabulous book.
Before we start, however, I want to add a few words of praise for Anna’s book. I am already a big fan of breaking tasks down into manageable segments. Of course you already know this from my 12 Months of Prepping Series (which will begin year 2 in just a couple of weeks). But more than that, I appreciate her definition of homesteading as something anyone can do, whether you live in the wilderness, a high-rise condo, a suburban neighborhood or a mobile home.
We are all modern homesteaders and Anna, with her easy to read writing style and fabulous photos, sets us on the road to to self-reliance – one month at a time.
A Chat with Anna Hess
Tell me about your book, The Weekend Homesteader: A Twelve-Month Guide to Self-Sufficiency. What is it about?
The Weekend Homesteader is aimed at beginning homesteaders who want to become more self-sufficient but don’t have the time, money, or abilities to dive in head first. I walk readers through one fun and easy project for each weekend of the year, giving them a firm foundation they can build onto with future cooking, gardening, and emergency preparedness adventures.
What type of research did you have to do while writing your book?
My husband and I have been homesteading for a bit over six years, and every weed we pulled and chicken we chased was research for my book (although I didn’t know it at the time). By writing about the projects I wished we’d focused on during year one, I hope to guide other new homesteaders toward the fulfilling and successful tasks and away from repeating our stupid mistakes.
Of course, I did a lot of reading to prepare for my book too, and I’ve included book recommendations scattered throughout the text to help others expand their own understanding when they’re ready to go beyond the basics.
Hands on experimentation was also invaluable as we tried out different no-till gardening and chicken pasturing methods, and we’re constantly hearing about new techniques from the readers of our blog.
How long did it take to write?
The Weekend Homesteader started out as a monthly e-book series on Amazon, which I wrote over the course of a year (mixed in with my regular homesteading tasks). Revising the text and whipping the book into a shape worthy of print publication took another couple of concentrated winter months sitting in front of the wood stove with a cat fighting my computer for lap space.
Every book, fiction and non-fiction, includes a message. What message do you hope my readers will take with them after reading The Weekend Homesteader?
I hope that readers come away with the understanding that they *can* make a difference in their own self-sufficiency with a few simple lifestyle changes.
Although it seems very difficult to make changes in world problems, we can each sequester carbon in the soil (making compost), feed our families healthier food (growing a garden), and make sure that we’re ready to sail through power outages with an air of adventure. Rather than simply preparing for future catastrophes, I hope that my readers will be inspired to enjoy becoming more self-sufficient right now.
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I’m the daughter of a pair of back-to-the-landers who fled to the city partway through my childhood. The result is that I didn’t have many more skills than the average modern homesteader when I started, but I did have a third-grader’s rosy image of what farm life was like. I spent four years at college learning about biology and art, but knowing that I’d eventually make it back to my own patch of earth. With the help of a husband I picked up along the way, I eventually did.
Do you have plans for another book?
Print publication is a new experiment for me, but I have several e-books up on Amazon with more in the works. The one I’m working on right now is titled Trailersteading: Voluntary Simplicity in a Mobile Home, which tells how to take a free trailer and turn it into the core of a modern homestead.
Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?
I appreciate the opportunity to share my book with you and with them. Thanks for reading!
The Book Giveaway
A copy of The Weekend Homesteader: A Twelve-Month Guide to Self-Sufficiency has been reserved for one lucky reader. You know how I like to make things easy so all you need to do to win is reply below in the comments area with your favorite homesteading or DIY tip.
I will select a winner at random using tools on the random.org website. The deadline for your entry is Friday, January 4th.
The Final Word
Rather coincidentally, a few days ago I was asked what I meant by the term “homesteading”. It had never occurred to me that this term was not in the mainstream vocabulary. Wikipedia defines homesteading as follows:
Broadly defined, homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of foodstuffs, and may or may not also include production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale.
Add to that Anna’s statement that “homesteaders want to be healthy, happy and cheerfully self-sufficient” and I believe we have a winning definition of both homesteading and homesteaders.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.