Here is an upbeat, unabashedly outrageous book about applying the principles of self-reliance, more often associated with rural back-to-the-landers and wilderness campers, to life in suburban Los Angeles. By telling their own homesteading story, the Nyergeses have created a blueprint that will help city-dwellers anywhere live more independently.
The book is organized more like a how-to or self-help book than a personal memoir. The authors present self-sufficient and ecological approaches to commonly defined areas of a household: The House, The Yard, Homegrown Foods (and wild edibles), Domestic Animals, The Garden, Water, Energy, and Recycling. A concluding chapter takes on larger lifestyle questions of livelihood and healthy relationships with money and security.
Here are some basic tips that are covered:
--Save water, gasoline, and fertilizers by substituting a traditional, water-lavish grass lawn with more low-growing plants which require very little upkeep, and which are pleasant-smelling and wonderful food sources. New Zealand spinach, red clover, mint, and thyme are some examples.
--Lower your power and gas bills by using solar energy to heat water, bake bread, and generate electricity for other purposes.
--Get rid of your costly garbage disposal and recycle your own garbage. Give food scraps to your animals. And you can go as far as making a compost pit of kitchen scraps and pet manure with a joint rabbit hutch and worm-farm.
--Allow cooler air to flow through the house without having a pricey and high-powered central cooling system. Replace regular screen doors with steel security screens, so you can leave the doors open all night without worrying about a break-in. You can also paint your dark-colored roof with a white coat to keep down solar heat absorption.
--Dont rake your yard. By keeping the area heavily mulched, you dont have to water as often or use any hazardous chemicals. The organic matter in the mulch replenishes grass.
-- Plant shade trees. This increases the fragrance and beauty of your yard and lessens the need for mechanically cooling your house. Consider citrus trees. They are drought-tolerant and yield delicious, fresh, natural fruits.