Monday, March 19, 2012

Your Custom Homestead - Review and Giveaway!

**This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Darren, who has won a copy of  Your Custom Homestead .**

I think I've always had a hankering to live off the land.

As a girl I read all the books in The Little House on the Prairie series and day-dreamed about finding a time travel device that would take me back to live with the Ingalls family. (In my day-dreams I was able to bring large quantities of chocolate with me. The Ingalls never ate chocolate and I was desperate to remedy that situation.)

I didn't think much about homesteading during school or university, but the urge came back when I moved to Hamilton in 2006 and planted my first garden. There's something about getting my hands in soil that really grounds me.

We kept a couple of chickens for a while in Hamilton, but our property was too small for that so we had to give them away. Now we're back to plain ol' gardening in our rented Wellington property.

My husband, Paul, has not always had a hankering for living off the land. He did in fact grow up on several acres in the Bay of Plenty, and knows how much work is involved in maintaining it all. He's not keen on that sort of work, which puts a damper on my dream.

Knowing how much it means to me though, Paul has thought about what he could commit to. Animals are out (except perhaps chickens and bees.) Fruit trees and vegetable gardens are in. So this will require more land than an average suburban section, but not heaps more.

Over New Years we stayed with our friend James, who owns an acre of land in Hamilton. We both looked at the size of James' property and thought that seemed about right for our needs.

I would really like to follow permaculture principles to plan our use of the space well.

So that's our dream.

And right now it can feel like we're biding our time till that future date when our dreams come true. Which is why I've found Jill Winger's ebook, Your Custom Homestead - Awakening a Fresh Vision of Homesteading, so encouraging.

Jill points out there is so much you can do to prepare for homesteading and in fact it's better to take the time learning and preparing.
"If you wait until you have the opportunity and finances to move to the perfect rural spot and THEN decide to attempt cooking, canning, living off-grid, running a home dairy, and raising your own meat and veggies, you’ll probably end up becoming so overwhelmed that you won’t even want to continue. It’s worth it to start your homesteading journey now, even if your present situation is less than ideal."

Jill and her husband own 67 acres of prairie land in Wyoming, so she knows a thing or two about homesteading. Through interactions with readers on her blog, The Prairie Homestead, Jill has realised lots of us hanker to get back to our agricultural roots.

She's written Your Custom Homestead to inspire ALL of us to make steps towards a more homestead-oriented life, wherever we might be living right now.

Your Custom Homestead is broken down into three section - 'Brainstorming', 'Prep work' and 'Let's Do It'.

Each of those sections are broken down into seven steps, which include an introduction to the step, some homework and a peek into how Jill implements that step in her own life. The steps are set up so you can complete them over 21 days, although you'll probably want to dedicate more time to them than that.

To wrap up Your Custom Homestead, Jill has included an extra section of tips and reminders she's picked up along the way.

I don't want to give too much more away. It's a great read and available to purchase for just USD $4.99.

Giveaway time!

Jill has kindly agreed to give away one copy of Your Custom Homestead to a Craving Fresh reader. The draw opens now and closes 8am next Monday 26 March 2012 (NZ time), when a winner will be chosen at random using

1. For one mandatory entry, visit Your Custom Homestead and comment below telling me what interests you about this book.

2. For an additional entry, link to this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest and comment below, telling me where you've linked it.

If you're unable to comment below, please comment and make your entries on Craving Fresh's Facebook page instead.

Linked to Sunday School, Homestead Barn HopMonday Mania and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.


  1. Hi, I'm keen to be in to win a copy of this book. I linked to it on Facebook.
    What I like about this book is the don't need to wait factor - start now with what you've got where you are. Inspirational!

  2. Interesting how you two are coming to a compromise on this one (although once you get started, he may see how rewarding it can be to homestead, both mentally and financially and realise that animals aren't too bad really). I would certainly recommend starting small and building up when you are ready, rather than committing to too much land and debt right from the start. I was thinking of writing something about that soon too....

  3. I have dreamt of my own little homestead for years. When we moved to just under 3 acres last year, we bought chickens and began planning a huge garden. I know these are just baby steps and love reading about veteran homesteaders' experiences. I'd love to read this book to see what wisdom she has to offer.

  4. Ooo-I've been wanting this ebook! I looove Jill's blog and always find such great information about homesteading for any size property. My husband and I are renting our first house (always been in an apartment prior to this) and we want to take full advantage of the space we have in the backyard!

  5. This book sounds awesome and so helpful in showing me how I can be a homesteader in my own home, no matter what the size.

    Jodie tjfranklin(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. Have shared this giveaway on facebook.

    Jodie tjfranklin(at)gmail(dot)com.

  7. My first time here! And I am following! Sounds like a great give away!
    Visit me at:

  8. Oh I love the way she has broken it down into sections. Sometimes you read a guide and then don't know where to start! besides I just got an e-reader for my birthday, so have a place to put it!

  9. This book sounds perfect for a family who isn't sure how much to try and how to determine the right way to try. Thanks for the giveaway.

  10. This look like just the book for the desperate renter who dreams of farming it big. Would love to have it.
    I've also share this link on my facebook for an additional entry.

  11. Alanah Leigh BonneyMarch 21, 2012 at 3:46 AM

    I would love to win a copy of this book because I am 23 years old and am trying to raise my family off the land and be 100% self reliant and would love to use this book as a guide. I already farm with horses and horse drawn machinery :-D

  12. I'm trying to incorporate homesteading ways into my life-this book would be a great tool in achieving that goal.

  13. I'd love to be included in the draw.

    This eBook looks very well-written (not the usual stilted grammar and pushy salesy approach so common in self-published eBooks!) - a big tip of the hat to Jill for that.

    The step-by-step breakdown sounds interesting, and I fully agree with the "bloom where you're planted" approach.

    Can't wait to check it out!

  14. Always looking for information on homesteading and this looks like a great resource!

  15. As I'm trying to incorporate homesteading ways into my world-this book would be a great tool in achieving that goal.

  16. As I am trying to incorporate homesteading ways into my world, this book would be a great tool in achieving that goal.

  17. I love the idea that I can start now and don't have to wait until we move (which seems to not be happening any time soon!) I would love to read this book. Thanks for the chance to win!

    Kelly (at) mysimplewalk (dot) com


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