Top 10 Reader-Favorite Books

Vegetable Garden Planting Guide

We love curating helpful reading material for country living enthusiasts!

If you are looking for a variety of useful books on everything from starting a farming enterprise to planting crops to drawing horses, we highly recommend the Homestead Bookshelf as the place to find what you’re looking for. We have collected public domain classics, modern paperbacks, free extension service PDFs, and even a few books published by Homestead on the Range to help you learn important facts and skills.

New to our site? Allow us to recommend some of the books our readers purchase or download after visiting.

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Seasons in the Flint Hills

 Crisp and black with cold, dry ash,
You cover yourselves with green,
Awakened to life by rain and sun,
You thrive in the breezes of spring.

Days grow long, the south wind blows;
Your green now changes, too—
First more vibrant, then more soft,
And then to a golden hue.

A gentler sun ripens your gold
To copper and rich red rust;
Heat gives way to autumn frost
And mist that quells the dust.

Day by day your frost grows thicker,
Gives way to sleet and snow;
Grasses lie beneath the ice,
A-shine in the moon’s pale glow.

© 2019 Michelle Lindsey

Fields of Farmers

Fields of FarmersThere are two attitudes toward farm internships prevalent in America today. The first is that of stubborn individualism, the rugged “gonna do it my way” philosophy commonly associated with farmers. The second is best described as, “What I need is some interns to get this place in shape!”

In Fields of Farmers: Interning, Mentoring, Partnering, Germinating, Joel Salatin tackles both mistaken viewpoints head-on. Salatin views internships as a ministry, an investment in the next generation—not an opportunity for cheap labor.

This book was clearly written for both the mentor and the mentored. After an overview of education and how it works, particularly in a real-world context, Salatin proceeds to urge both groups of people to give and to serve. Experienced farmers are counseled to put time and effort into guiding young people, even when it isn’t easy, while aspiring land stewards are admonished to put their best into their work and forego the “I’m owed” mentality.

But Fields of Farmers is about far more than the philosophy that should go into an internship program, as foundational as that is. It is also about the mechanics necessary for making things work—the process of selecting, housing, training, and setting mutually respectful boundaries for interns. It seeks to find equitable answers to prickly questions about whether interns should be paid and what to do when a new intern is doing the farm more harm than good.

Rounding out the book is a fascinating look at the history of apprenticeship written by a Polyface apprentice.

If you are casually considering adding an internship program to your farm, Fields of Farmers may very well scare you off. But for those who are determined to play a role in training the next generation of farmers, it is an essential manual to navigating some dangerous waters in a way that enables both parties involved to succeed.

Western Swing Guitar Style

Western Swing Guitar StyleHave you ever wanted to learn Western swing? Here’s a superb introduction to the unique chord progressions of this toe-tapping sound, geared toward the rhythm guitarist.

Western Swing Guitar Style by Joe Carr offers an excellent step-by-step approach, taking the time to teach you the principles and music theory you need to be able to create your own arrangements. Right from the start, you will see how to build a great Western swing chord progression by learning how to take “Sally Goodin'” from a basic A-D-A-E-A progression to a full-fledged arrangement with a bass line and some beautiful diminished chords.

But that’s just the beginning! All types of embellishments and chord substitutions are taught, along with general guidelines for how to achieve that perfect Western swing sound every time. Along the way, you will mostly be working with real chord progressions rather than exercises, bringing life to your practice time.

A purchase of Western Swing Guitar Style will also give you access to free audio downloads of the chord progressions, with and without a full band, so that you can listen and play along for a well-rounded understanding. (Check the first page of the book for download instructions.)

For the absolute beginner to Western swing, this book is a must!