The Self-sufficientish Bible by Andy Hamilton and Dave Hamilton

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The Self-sufficientish Bible by Andy Hamilton and Dave Hamilton

Category: Lifestyle
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sharon Hall
Reviewed by Sharon Hall
Summary: This book draws together information on all aspects of a modern eco-life, such as travel, the eco-friendly home, renewable energy, clothing, growing fruit and vegetables, ethical shopping and recycling. It is a well-written interesting, entertaining and encouraging read, as well as being a source of guidance and information.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: April 2008
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 034095101X

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Andy and Dave Hamilton practice what they preach. They grow vegetables, they forage for wild food, they cycle, they make-and-mend-do. They don't live on a farm with many acres to play with, but live in Bristol and enjoy what the city has to offer, but want a low-impact lifestyle. They haven’t renounced the real world. They realise that the whole hog of self-sufficiency isn't for everyone, hence the concept of "self-sufficientish" – doing what you can, with what you have, and with an eye on the environment, ethical living and saving money.

Whilst there are many books which deal in detail with aspects of this sort of approach to living, The Self Sufficientish Bible draws together information on travel, the eco-friendly home, renewable energy, clothing, growing fruit and vegetables, ethical shopping and recycling.

Almost everything you can think of is touched on, with examples, practical tips and further information. Some complex topics such as installing solar water heating, are beyond the scope of the book, but general information and links to further sources are included. Other sections are bursting with practical information which you can immediately put into use, such as how to save energy when cooking, how to make a hay box oven (we have made a version using an old duvet and it works a treat), making a wormery, a deodorant recipe, making your own liquid feed for vegetables and fruit, running an allotment, small-space kitchen gardens, seasonal cooking, wild food, keeping livestock, environmentally-friendly offices and making informed consumer choices. There is also a sizeable section on being a self-sufficientish parent and getting children involved in growing, cooking and eco-based activities.

Many of the tips in the book have been distilled from the Hamilton brothers' website www.selfsufficientish.com, in which a dedicated community of people share advice and practical tips on all aspects of eco-living and frugal lifestyles. If you want to know what you can do with beetroot leaves, have seeds to swap, how to make soap, or whether you can make wine out of gorse flowers, this is the place for you. My own favourite forum on the site is "101 uses for", in which people post all sorts of ideas as to how to re-use old pillows and toilet roll inserts, including the classic "101 uses for a bread bag".

Anyone interested in this way of living will be familiar with the works of John Seymour. His earlier books were very much written for people who wanted to do everything for themselves, whilst subsequent titles, such as The New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency: The Classic Guide for Realists and Dreamers, are more similar to The Self Sufficientish Bible in targetting people who can’t or don’t wish to go fully into self-sufficiency. As someone who has chosen this lifestyle, I would say that these books are complimentary, with the Bible having a fresher and more modern feel.

The Self Sufficientish Bible is well written and designed, with many photographs, line drawings and clearly laid-out text. It is an interesting, entertaining and encouraging read, as well as being a source of guidance and information. Unless you are a dyed-in-your-own-wool completely self sufficient player already, you will find many practical tips to help you lead a greener life.

If you are interested in this way of living, you make like to read Allotted Time: Two Blokes, One Shed, No Idea by Robin Shelton, an account of the trials, tribulations and joys of taking on an allotment.

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Buy The Self-sufficientish Bible by Andy Hamilton and Dave Hamilton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Self-sufficientish Bible by Andy Hamilton and Dave Hamilton at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Self-sufficientish Bible by Andy Hamilton and Dave Hamilton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Self-sufficientish Bible by Andy Hamilton and Dave Hamilton at Amazon.com.


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