Another review of The Backyard Homestead

Review by Tiffany

In 2009, I purchased an abandoned overgrown farmstead in the northwest of Montana (as far north as you can get without saying, “Eh!”) The farmstead consists of approximately 4 acres, a 1900s two story house (originally constructed as a government building in 1920) a weathered barn and chicken coop.

A hand pumped well is an added bonus, although I’ve not had the time (or know-how) to proof it yet. The first three years I spent in “reclamation” of the property from the prairie, the out of control windbreak, and ailing buildings. I muddled about with chickens, sheep, a random goat, with no direction and minimal “payback” for my efforts. Last year I made a commitment to food “self-sufficiency” as much as possible given the short growing season and my available time and resources.

During the long winter, I devoured several books on ‘homesteading’ and ‘country skills’ however, one book stands out due to its comprehensive and easy to assimilate information. “The Backyard Homestead, produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!” produced by Storey Publishing and edited by Carleen Madigan is self-proclaimed as “The Indispensable Guide to Food Self-Sufficiency.” The book details how to grow, harvest, preserve, and prepare just about everything edible, from vegetables, to wild foods and herbs, to farm animals.

It is written for all audiences from those with only a patio garden to those with several acres at their disposal. I enjoyed the organization of the book with its main topics broken down into subtopics for easy reference. Additionally, in each topic and subtopic, tips, recipes (the peach preserves are to die for!), common difficulties, diseases, etc. are provided.

The illustrations in the book make it easy to imagine and plan your homestead for maximum yield and efficiency. I liked this book and the information provided due to range of topics addressed, its ease of use and reference (and re-reference), and the “all encompassing” approach taking you from planting to food preparation and everything in between. My one criticism of this book is that wild caught fish and domestic fish production and preservation are not covered.

I’d recommend this book to busy or beginning homesteaders who want a “nuts and bolts” no fluff how-too covering a full range of food production topics. My random ineffective muddling has become focused and in one season, the homestead has taken shape, producing chickens and eggs, ducks, geese, turkeys, cattle, several vegetable gardens, and animal fodder crops. I still have a long way to go, but I’ll keep going back to this book for its easily referenced and digestible information that can be put to immediate use!

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Mystery Guest says:

    Excellent review in the fact that you like the book well enough to keep it and keep going back to it for reference. That says a lot about a book.

  2. Southern Prepper says:

    (as far north as you can get without saying, “Eh!”) Ha! Good stuff there! Great review, I just bought this book two days ago, so I really appreciate a solid review. Thanks much!

    • Seeuncourt says:

      Uh, yeah. Can’t cross the street or I am in Canada. It will be easy if i ever need to claim asylum…..

  3. Donna in MN says:

    NO fish info? It is the mainstay of food here. I am learning to smoke my fish. Yumm on the peach preserves—I just made some peach cobbler-more yumm.
    I wonder if the book offers trouble shooting. That would be a plus .

    • Seeuncourt says:

      No fish. Please share your fish smoking tips. I have liberal access to awesome rainbow trout and would like to find a way to preserve them that doesn’t include freezing or canning….unless someone has a technique that keeps the fish from being mushy grossness.

      btw, Tiffany=Seeuncourt (shame on you MD! lol)

      • Donna in MN says:

        I read an acticle on the net that says to use salt to soak overnight and use fruit wood, or oak for a slow smoking process over 2 hours for trout filets in a webber grill.

        I have access to sunfish, bass and pike and was going to try this process of smoking. I have pickled pike and it was just like pickled herring and ate it up in one setting. No need to take out the Y bones as they disolve. Now I tried it with Bass and it didn’t stay firm and got mushy and the flavor texture was different and didn’t like it as much. I haven’t heard about pickling trout, but if you look on the internet you may find some recipies.

  4. JP in MT says:

    Thanks for the info. I’m a bunch SE of you, but the same conditions apply here.

    • Seeuncourt says:

      I believe you are near Zootown, if I remember. Nice country, but too many liberals for me! (ha!) One of my brood lives there and I worry….

  5. Winomega says:

    Food Storage: Preserving Meat, Dairy, and Eggs by Susan Gregersen and David Armstrong

    It’s a modern book and slender for the amount of subjects it covers, but the fish section also mentions drying, salt packing, brine and smoke, and pickling. You still have to go on the internet for good instructions and measurements.

    Here is the entire instructions on preserving fish in oil. “Fish was sometimes preserved by covering it with oil in barrels or tightly-woven baskets before refrigeration was available.”

    • Seeuncourt says:


      That’ a bit disappointing…the cover the fish in oil…instructions! Kinda like all of the homesteadig books i have purchased that turned out to be “What Martha Stewart would do if she were a homesteader” all pretty pictures of wooden bowls and blue ball jars.

  6. Mcsadie says:

    I was given this book in 2009 when I ‘came out’ as a prepper. Love that thing! Of all my library, that’s the one I turn to most often, followed closely by Putting Food By.

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