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Homemade Living Giveaway

As a thank you to all of you who continue to show up here, I think a giveaway of today’s new books is in order. It’s you folks, and the community of readers worldwide committed to learning more about “Homemade Living” topics that made these books possible in the first place.

I’m feeling generous, so I’ll be giving 3 (!!!) lucky readers copies of both “Home Dairy” and “Keeping Bees.” To enter, simply leave a comment telling me what sort of Homemade Living adventures, exploits, shenanigans, and dreams you’ve got going on in your neck of the woods. And, much as I love all you international friends of small measure, I’m afraid I’ll have to limit this contest to those living domestically.

The giveaway contest will run through next Tuesday, March 8th at midnight EST. After that, I’ll randomly choose 3 entries. I’ll need to be able to reach you if you’re the winner, so if your comment doesn’t link back to a blog, please leave me your e-mail address when commenting.

Have fun! And thanks for the love, of the books, blog, and beyond!

229 Responses to Homemade Living Giveaway

  • hippychick says:

    I'm starting seeds this week (all heirloom for the first time!) for the garden. I also make a lot of my own things (yogurt, mixes, etc.) and would really love to someday have bees!

  • Grace says:

    I'm growing a lot of my own food this year. The plan is to can and freeze most of it. Also I'm learning how to do my own laundry soap, toothpaste, shampoo and other personal care and cleaning products that won't hurt me or the environment. My big project is to reduce the amount of packaging that is brought into my home. I'll know I'm successful when the stuff in my recycling bin fits into one bin each week.

  • El Gaucho says:

    We have an old second garage on our property that (with a little luck and some help from friends) will be converted to a greenhouse this summer. Winter here in North Dakota is way too long to be without fresh fruits and veggies.

  • Courtney says:

    The third time is the charm–I'm making my third attempt at a container garden this year. I'm using seeds from Renee's Garden. Hopefully, the fact that I moved to a townhouse with a sunny porch (instead of a 3rd-floor apartment with ridiculously shaded deck!) will help me succeed!

  • Thanks for the chance to win, and congrats on the 2 new books!!
    we enjoy growing our own garden (still eating potatoes, apples, canned tomatoes & salsa, and saskatoon jam!) preserving, brewing beer, making wine, fermenting cabbage, starting seeds, i spin & dye yarn, knit & crochet..
    hmmm.. and i want to add home dairy to this list, and possibly bee keeping one day when we get our own farm!

  • Amber says:

    While growing my infused honey business, I dream of letting go of consumerism and embracing a return to self-sufficient living.

    I plan on getting some more chickens to build up my mini-flock, and one day I will have enough space for a goat or two and maybe even a small milch cow! Beehives are CERTAINLY in my future. :)

  • Tam says:

    There's still several inches of snow on the ground here, but I'm looking forward to getting the garden ready. This year we'll be welcoming some chickens into the family and planting berry bushes. Next year I plan to place some hives on our property.

  • Anonymous says:

    What a great giveaway! Here in suburban NYC, we are enjoying eggs from our little backyard flock of chickens (I learned a lot about that from your chicken book!) I am ordering seeds for the spring. I just perfected my homemade bread. Started sprouting. Joined a CSA. I'm making my own household cleaners. My biggest dream is to get a couple of dairy goats – – – but I have to get the rest of the family on board for that one! Thanks!

    Kate in NY (

  • Bridget says:

    We moved to Northern New Mexico almost a year ago to a 100 acre ranch. So far we have 6 steers we are raising on pasture, I am getting a greenhouse set up for growing since our season is short. I have joined a local agricultural group sponsored by Heifer International where I am learning about beekeeping.

  • homegrowed says:

    This week's addition to our very small farm was a breeding pair of rabbits, so we can start raising them for meat. After that, I hope all the new animals will be born here; lambs, piglets, chicks, goslings. It's going to be a very crowded five acre plot if all goes according to plan this spring (not that it ever does).

  • I am getting in full bore! I moved to VA from Phoenix, AZ last summer after 19 years in the concrete jungle. As my wife says, “I am embracing my country lifestyle a little too much!” I built a chicken coop that could withstand a hurricane, (getting the chicks and guineas this week!), get my bee nucs in mid-April, already built some raised beds for my wife and just installed a rain barrel this past weekend. Just got 3 more barrels today to expand my rain collecting. Planning to start a blog, but don't have anything there yet. My new chicks may be my first foray into letting everyone know how this change is happening.

  • Ms. Hobby says:

    Our homemade living “dream” is backyard goats. But with a tiny urban back yard that touches 5 other back yards, at this point it is still in the “dream” phase.

    The do-able plans: expand the berry patch this spring, plant more herbs this year, and look into edible flowers for the front boxes.

  • I've already started seeds, and plan to plant a lot of veggies, herbs, berries, and flowers. I'll also be canning (already tried the blood orange sauce from your canning book, and can't wait to try more), freezing, drying, and root cellaring as much as I can. My husband is going to build be a chicken coop and cold frame over spring break, after which we'll be getting chickens. I'd also like to try making yogurt and cheese (just tried butter, and that was fun). Goats and bees will happen someday, but not this year. Oh, and I want to try soap making (been making laundry soap mix for a year, and would like to make soap bars for it and for showering). There's more, but I think I've said enough. I'm just so excited! :) Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Kerry says:

    I just started tomatoes, eggplants, and lavender under lights on my kitchen counter. (Fingers crossed the kitten doesn't play in them while I'm at work!)

  • Melanie J. says:

    I'm deciding whether or not I'm starting seeds soon. There are a multitude of obstacles to consider (small apartment, crazy indoor cat, feral ducks outside, plus we're moving this year), but I'm ready to get my hands in the dirt. Thanks for the opportunity!

  • brandi says:

    We've started making our own salsa instead of buying the store bought kind and it is SO MUCH better! I also make stock as much as possible and freeze the extra for later. It's so much better than the store-bought kind!

    And once I contacted you about a stray rooster at my house. You gave me some great advice and contacts, and I'm not sure I ever got back to you with what happened to the rooster. Here's the story if you're interested!

  • Anonymous says:

    I made homemade cheese! I bought milk at the farmer's market and made mozzarella…then I made tomato sauce and a crust and voila – pizza totally from scratch. It was delicious!

  • Leanna says:

    We're in a small apartment in SoCal b/c of my husband's job, so my ventures are currently limited to the farmers market and my herb garden on the patio. But I have (and love!!!) your first two books, and I have so many plans for goat & chicken keeping, gardening, and preserving, on a little piece of land when we move home to AL in a few years!

  • I'm a modern homesteader in Oregon, growing food, wildcrafting, raising chickens, raising children and doing more and more from scratch as I go along. I'm hoping to add ducks, quail and honeybees to the mix soon.

  • Kathryn Z says:

    Nearly a year ago now I moved from a relatively suburban town just outside of Cambridge, MA to the urban wilderness of New York City. When you aren't in the heart of a city with less than 650 square feet to your name, I've found it's bushels and pecks easier to turn ones home into a homestead. However, I'm not going to give up now – canning all manner of jams, jellies, sauces and condiments still rules my June through September, and I'm trying to find out exactly what sort of a garden one can legally have on a fire escape and window sill in this fine city. I still manage to make cheeses on a 3/4 size range, even if I can't keep up with the quantity I once used to. Now if only my landlady would embrace rooftop livestock and understand that countertop is more valuable than open floor space in a decent sized city kitchen…

    At least I know this is just a temporary stop-over on the route to an ancient farmhouse in the middle of nowhere.

  • Cat K. says:

    I'm so excited for these books! I'm in the midst of planning our backyard garden for the summer, and relying heavily on the Sow True catalog to do so. Talking about fencing the yard and putting up a bat house to control the mosquitoes. Also day dreaming about chicken coops… someday!

  • Jen says:

    I'm growing a lot of our own food again this year- and growing for my local multi-grower CSA for the first time. In my spare time I'm trying to design a chicken coop that I can easily hide or disguise in my backyard until the City code is changed to allow them!

  • Annie. says:

    I am a second year canner and third year home gardener. I make almost everything from scratch (including cleaning supplies) I love it!

  • Cate says:

    I've been focusing on making as much of our food as possible. I've been baking my own bread and cooking meals from scratch for years now, but recently I've started making my own yogurt (it's so cheap and delicious!), branching out into making my own tortillas and pita pockets, and thinking about making my own nut butters. I would love to win; I think your Home Dairy book would be really helpful for me!

    catelinden @

  • Jenny says:

    I'm so excited about this giveaway, I definitely want to own these 2 new books in the collection!

    In terms of homemade living, we're about to start seeds in our apartment window sill to later plant in our potted garden. We make yummy crusty bread and wonderful granola on a weekly basis, along with all kinds of other stuff. And of course, I keep busy with crafting, sewing and blogging about my homemade creations!

    Thanks for the giveaway, Ashley, and congrats for the publication of these latest 2 books!

  • SarahD says:

    Congratulations on the books release! I had to leave my garden behind when I moved to the Connecticut six months ago but I'll be starting a new container garden as soon as the weather warms up as well as planting a beautiful community garden that will provide free, organic vegetables to the people of Hartford, CT. I also bake my own bread and make my own yogurt and butter. Really looking forward to reading the new books.

  • I'm using a community greenhouse to start seeds this year, and crossing my fingers for success! My favorite new discovery: homemade peanut butter! Yummy & easy. :)

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

  • haylie says:

    So exciting! I fell in love with your books when I stumbled across them at Powell's. Anyway, we live in a studio apartment without great light and no green space, so our green adventures are pretty limited. But we are teaming up with some friends with a yard (and a baby on the way) to create our own little co-op garden, and I'm daily planning our future homesteading lives.

  • Elle Ross says:

    I'm canning a lot and learning how to make my own bread. I also just got a sewing machine and would like to start making my own cloth diapers. That's about it for now, would love to have a garden, but live in in apartment.

  • Hanna says:

    i've been trying to do more things myself instead of having someone else do them for me – including lots of knitting, learning how to can (my hus loved being roped into that adventure!), potted garden in our alley, and now handmaking pasta!

  • Sarah says:

    This will be my 3rd year gardening and canning. We have had chickens for 1.5 years and rabbits for 4 years. My son is going to be doing a beekeeping project for 4-H this year so we will get our first hive of bees. I can't wait to get a couple of goats to! These books would be great resources for us as we start the next phase of this journey to more self sufficiency.

  • Lacy says:

    In about a month we are getting Bees and honestly have no idea what we are doing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We are going to join the local bee society but honestly I am needing those books! I also want to convenience my spouse that we need a mini cow (soooooo cute!!!) so I can also do an at home dairy….

    ::fingers crossed!!::::::

  • Zoe says:

    Just came back from a hardware store trip. Needed a new saw to clear the scrub trees from my new raised bed area. The world is still covered with a foot of snow, but a girl can drea.

  • Caroline says:

    I love your blog and would love to have your books! A failing septic system has left one bathroom in our 250 year old house on Cape Cod out of commission. Instead of lamenting over the loss, my housemate and I have begun using the room (which happens to be the sunniest room in the house) to start seeds. We are growing kale, spinach, and a mesclun mix. We are very proud of our resourcefulness :)

    Caroline (

  • jess s says:

    I'm re-doubling my efforts to preserve this year – something in the water bath once a month. I am also hoping to do more bulk buying of cheap cases of produce from local farms. There's a produce buyer at the local coop who helps people make these connections, so I need to make that work for me. And of course, I would love for our garden to produce as much fresh produce as we can possibly eat, provided that the blight stays away this year.

  • Jill Benbow says:

    I LOVE your Canning & Preserving book in the series and am looking forward to growing my collection. I love to garden and looking forward to canning some of the bounty. Would love to learn more about bees and home dairy! I will be planting a lot of bee happy plants this summer to help save the bees! Bzz.

  • I would LOVE to win your two books, they look very exciting. Our plans: organic gargden, chickens, goats, cows, name it. After a long journey with childhood cancer (our daughter Savanna was dx with brain cancer when she was 3 and she is kicking cancers butt) the good Lord has led us to this new lifestyle with our main goal being to create a home of PEACE.

  • Anonymous says:

    I adore your books. As a set, they'd make such a good wedding present (for the right people)! I have used your canning book extensively — I can't wait to can southern New Jersey peaches using your recipe this summer. As for local adventures, we're thinking of starting a backyard chicken operation, but the shed we'd use for their nighttime sleeping shack is currently being used by a nice local skunk. So we have to negotiate that!
    estherjames at

  • Mamawolf says:

    Congratulations on your latest books! I can't wait to explore them! We are growing veggies, raising laying hens and turkeys, do lots of canning and preserving, have many permaculture guilds in various stages of development around the property, are preparing for milk/wool sheep and alpaca, homeschool our kiddos, make most of our own medicines, and are planning for our first top bar hive this year. Our land mate has been keeping western hives for the last two years. This will be our first year in the world of hives and dairy, so I am sure your books will be a highly valued resource! Thanks for sharing your wisdom and experience!

  • Sacha Joy says:

    I make farmer's cheese a lot when my milk is rapidly approaching its expiration date, but I'd love to expand my dairy repertoire. I've reserved your home dairy book at the local public library but I'm #11 on the hold's list. I'd love to have my very own copy!

  • Jennifer says:

    Starting seeds this week – leeks, tomatoes, and peppers!

  • becca says:

    Working towards the plan…

  • Beth says:

    Though we live on the second floor of a house in the (sort of) city, my husband and I really enjoy container gardening: tomatoes, squash, and even okra!

  • I will have chickens one day. Just need to get life & living situation more stable first and come up with the funds to build a coop. But we'll get there.

    My dreamiest of HL dreams would be to live among orchards, preparing & canning fruits in all sorts of wonderful ways and of course tending to hives since the fruit trees would need bees. How exciting it would be to make candles from wax that came from my own yard.

    For now I satisfy myself by buying mostly local–can't wait for the City Market to open next month!

  • Melissa E says:

    Thanks for doing such a great giveaway! We have bees and chickens and a pretty good size garden. We live in a neighborhood on an acre so we make do with the space we have. We would love to some day be more self-sufficient and have more land so we can raise our own meat and most of our food! You are an inspiration!

  • Laura says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • k a t says:

    I'm enjoying my flock of 5 chickens, my modest garden and dreams of bees. I'm still a novice to canning and sewing, but definitely an avid knitter.

    Due with my first child this summer so I've been loving all the information you've provided in that direction. Keep it coming! Thanks!

  • Laura says:

    I love anything and everything homemade! It all started a few years ago in college when I made a quilt from scratch. Now I sporadically make my own clothes and knit a lot for myself as well as friends and family. This past fall I learned to can—diving in with garlic dill pickles and spicy dilly beans—which I will repeat this year as well as hopefully find time to explore jam making too. Someday when I have a real house to call my own, I'd love to keep chickens…and of course, as a graphic designer, I had to make a personal identity for my homemade creations as well.

    Laura (

  • Ericabee says:

    I live in a small, yardless apartment in N.W Ohio but that doesn't hold me back. I put 3 beehives on a family member's property last year and have made my own lipbalm and lotions. I have spinach and lettuce growing in my office windowsill, I've made my own beer, jams, breads, and just last night had my first shitake mushroom sprout from a kit right in my living room! I am also looking forward to breaking ground for my first heirloom veggie garden this spring. I am constantly looking for new ideas to help me live a more wholesome life. Its been a amazing experience so far (even the failures) and those books would be great to help me on the way!

  • letterjay says:

    I just bought a house with 1 acre. I have plenty of room to garden and plan on taking advantage. I really want to own chickens, but have a really strict HOA that doesn't allow them. I hope to voice my opinion and have that rule overturned. I'm not sure what their stance is on keeping bees, but you can bet I'm going to find out! If I had these books I'd have some extra ammunition to bring to my argument for keeping chickens and bees!

  • Colie says:

    I'm teaching people in my city to grow their own food in community gardens, and encouraging those without enough space to participate in a community composting initiative. I'm also working to promote legislation to allow chickens in our city (they're already allowed for educational purposes). And I'm knitting, a lot, because it is still very wintery here.


  • Around my parts (Providence, RI), I am known as “The Chicken Lady.” I illegally raised chickens until the city found me out and forced me to give them away. I took the fight to City Hall and recently, overturned the ban on urban chickens. Now, my ladies are legal and lovin' it! The interest in city chickens is booming in Providence, and I love knowing that I played a part in that.

    I want to raise bees next…luckily, they are completely legal. I don't know if I have another fight in me!!

    BTW: I love your books and your blog!

  • Last week, I canned my very first batch of marmalade ever! I also started a batch of preserved lemons.

  • Heather says:

    I'm trying to decide if I can grow anything this summer, since I will be heading to an internship 12 hours away from June to August. Regardless, I hope to can some tomatoes at least, and hopefully some other stuff.

  • Carrie says:

    I have an organic home garden on the driveway- using recycled 50 gallon organic honey drums (from cafe fanny granola) I do some canning but really want to step that up. I dream of chickens (especially after reading you're book) but they are not allowed yet in my hood. I would love to win your books because when I was a kid we had bees and made all our own dairy products but I was too young to learn many of those skills before our living situation changed.

  • Natalia says:

    Thanks for the giveaway Ashley!

    We got our chickens not too long ago and are already dreaming of adding more… like 10 more! We are loving our fresh eggs everyday… and love what the chickens do to our compost!
    We will be starting our first real garden this year. It will probably be very small and late in season as we are going to Europe in the spring. But oh well… we will give it a try anyway and see what comes out of it.
    We also want a hive and raise bees (I need all your books!! ;D )
    My DREAM right now is quite expensive, it would be to acquiring a nigerian dwarf or 2 (or a miniature jersey cow!!!!) for milk purposes, and get fresh milk everyday for fresh milk, yogurt, cream and butter!

    AHHH maybe one day but we will need to move out of our house first as we are in the city limits and there is only so much we can do. BOO.

  • Helena says:

    I'm growing an ambitious (for me) garden this year–most of the seeds are in and sprouting, which is awesome. And we're hoping to find a way to quietly keep chickens (HOA says no), but not sure yet if that will work. I've also taken a canning class down at the county extension office so I feel more confident in preserving some of the things from that garden.

  • I just got some baby chicks last week. I can't wait for eggs (even though it will be a few months) and compost!

  • Jennifer says:

    I work next door to Lark Books and have been admiring your books in the window! I did take a beekeeping class a few years ago, but still renting…I guess I'm mostly in the dreaming of homesteading category…

  • Mountain Gal says:

    Last year I was able to grow a decent container crop that is safely away from the deer and turkey marauders below. Now I'm inviting my neighbors to a “Garden Party” with an eye toward making our community “Incredible Edible High Vista” (just south of Asheville). I want food growing everywhere people move about. Then I'll petition the homeowners' association for the right to keep chickens, and later on a goat. Wish me luck.

  • Heather says:

    I'm reading your chicken book and thought I'd check out your blog. Looks like I picked a good day. :)

  • Kathleen says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Kathleen says:

    Planning some raised beds at our new house. Have been making my own yogurt recently – so fun! No space for chickens or bees but I'm trying to make more food from scratch (granola, etc.). Your blog is a true inspiration.

    ~Kathleen (

  • QuietClimb says:

    My husband and I are starting our first garden next month at our new apartment. We're hoping to rely as much as possible on our own produce over the summer and can/freeze some for over the winter. It's our first big step toward our ultimate goal- to have a small farm homestead.

  • Kelsi says:

    CHICKENS!! And adding two more hives to our one. Super fun!

  • Samantha says:

    exciting!! seeds tonight in a polytunnel for me!

  • Annabanana says:

    Well, we have already conquered the following : starting plants from seeds, gardening, canning,fermenting, making bread with sprouted grains and freshly ground flour, making butter, making sausage, quilting, and raising chickens. On the list of things to learn and try : raising ducks (5 East Indie ducklings are in my family room right now !), making cheese from raw milk, raising chickens specifically for meat, getting into a good routine with a sourdough starter, and maybe a little venture into soap making ! We have dreams of raising goats for meat and dairy, a few pigs and steer for meat, and my husband would love, love, love to get started with honeybees. I have to admit that I'm a little intimidated by the idea, so I'm going to look forward to reading your new book !

  • Melissa says:

    So wonderful of you to share! :) I've wanted bees for a long, long time. Also, in greek, my name means “honey bee” so it's only fitting. :)

    I remember in the first grade, we made our own butter. I didn't think much of it at the time, but I think it must have stuck. I would love to learn how to make my own cheese and yogurt. yummmm. My great grandparents raised dairy cows and if I have the space, time, and money, I will probably get a little dairy cow of my own.

    This year, I am worm composting! I am SO excited. I also hope to try my hand at heirloom tomatoes, since I love tomatoes and eat pounds of them a week.

    Gardening in the middle of the desert is tricky, but I hope to conquer it someday!

  • MissChris says:

    This year I'd love to try making my own yogurt. I'm reading up as much as I can about beekeeping to someday fulfill that dream :)

  • Aleisha says:

    Well…as of right now, I am on a break from planting our newly tilled backyard garden, where we will have 300 square feet of food planted by the end of tonight. We just got our first crop of rabbits, and the chicken coup goes up next week! It's been a challenge, because we live smack dab in the middle of a Dallas suburb, but we are doing it! In this neck of the woods, we're the nutty hippies down the street…ha! Let 'em talk. When no one can afford to go buy anything they need because gas prices are too high…we'll be sittin' pretty:)

  • Leanne Coppola says:

    Yes please!!!!! I have the other two so would love to add to the collection!!!!!

  • rhodespedal says:

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  • rhodespedal says:

    A friend is coming out this summer and we are both dying to make butter and cheese! We've already but canning since getting your canning book!


  • Since I don't have space for a garden, I've convinced family to start their own. In exchange for fresh produce this summer, I'll be doing canning for them! I also grow my own herbs for perfuming toiletries and I hope to make all natural perfumes someday.

  • Melissa says:

    While, I have dreams of growing, I seem to be more adept at making. Lately I've been making herbal medicines to fight off the illnesses of the season, as well as deodorant, toothpaste, and sourdough bread. My next adventure is soap. I'm getting over my fear of lye, so hopefully in the next couple weeks I'll be needing to find a spot for about 40 bars of curing soap.

  • Liz says:

    I am attempting to grow some vegetables and have had success with baking bread from scratch for the first time. I also want to try making preserves from the lychee and loquat fruit we have growing in our yard. Plus, my city just passed a new law allowing backyard chickens!

  • Alicia says:

    I am extending my garden. Meat, eggs, dairy, maple syrup, honey, and those veggies and fruits not from the garden are being provided by a CSA, just five miles down the road. I will be canning and preserving a lot this year.


  • Christina says:

    I bought your canning and preserving book last year and made a handful of the yummy recipes. I'm a beginner gardener, but learning fast by trial and error, and loving the tastey treats year-round :) Thanks for your inspiration and blog.

    From chilly New York,

  • Heather says:

    Ashley~ I love your blog and read it every day. I first discovered Jenna's blog, and, through hers, yours. I adore them both. The two of you ladies have been my inspiration both in homesteading AND in my writing career. In fact, your “Keeping Chickens” book is what made me believe I could handle having more than just a garden. I'm looking forward to reading the “Home Dairy” book soon (and trying to convince my hubby we need a goat). Wish me luck! (and thanks for all your help)

  • kendall says:

    Congrats on the new books! I've been making my own yogurt, but I would love to learn how to make cheese. I'm currently 24 weeks pregnant, so there is all sorts of research happening around here about how to parent more naturally. I love your blog!

  • what a lovely give away! we recently bought our first home and can't wait to carve out a little spot for some chickens, bees and a great big garden. would love to learn more about my future endeavors.

  • Morgan says:

    During the dreary days of February, I have been watching Victorian Farm and Edwardian Farm, and scheming how I can buy a farm, raise pigs and sheep, grow my own food, and gather with my friends and family to enjoy the bounty of God's goodness.

  • jen says:

    we're moving to your area in the next couple months – I plan on getting chickens and a beehive to carry on in my ancestor's footsteps (great-great, great and grandfathers were all beekeepers!)
    i can't wait to try making my own butter!
    love the blog, look forward to reading your books and hopefully attending one of your classes once we're in the area.

  • Melissa says:

    I hope to buy a house soon (as in this weekend) so I can start large-scale gardening and keeping chickens!

  • ladybug613 says:

    I love to garden, but we rent, so container gardening has become my hobby. My husband and I love to can things whenever we get enough to do so, there have even been nights that we have stayed up until the wee hours in the morning pitting cherries before they went bad! :) I'm crossing my fingers for the books because I would love to someday have bees. Thank you!

  • Haley says:

    We've planted a garden this spring so far with blackberries, a plum tree, a pomegranate tree, spinach, onions, 2 types of potatoes, 2 types of peas, and strawberries. In a couple of weeks when it gets a bit warmer I'll plant the seeds for cucumbers, corn, watermelons, and cantaloupe. Every year we plant a few tomatoes, bell peppers, and jalapeno peppers as well. We mostly eat it fresh or give it away to friends if we have too much.

    Our next big homemade living project will be getting chickens, inspired in part by your book about chickens! We've ordered 3 from the local feed store and are building our coop now. I'm hoping some goats/a cow and bees are in our future as well as alpacas (I spin yarn and their mature would be great for the garden). We also hope to do some rainwater collection and try our best not to buy anything not re-useable, recycle-able, or compost-able since we don't subscribe to a trash service.

  • I'm not so local being up here in Saskatchewan Canada, but……..
    I <3 your books! I requested (and got!) Keeping Chickens for Christmas this past season. I just moved (end of September) to a farm, and will be doing all the wonderful things you write about in your books for The First Time. So I`m happy to have your insight, written for someone just like me. Keep it up! I`ll be getting the bees one as soon as I can as we are purchasing a hive, but will have to wait until next year for the bees.

    Hopefully you`ll be doing one on goats and sheep as well. 😉

  • starting my organic farm on 15 acres, pastured poultry, eggs from same, honey, market veggies. My dream come true!

  • Anonymous says:

    This year we hope to have 8 new raised beds. Hope to add chickens and bees in the coming years. Also hope to this years have a hoop house. Our goal is to not buy veggies from a store. Love your books and can't wait to read these.

  • EcoGrrl says:

    mmm, cheese. that's on my list to give a try this year! i'm sitting here eating my favorite snack, an apple/almond/cheese salad, cubed and tossed in olive oil, lemon juice, pepper, and parsley. wouldn't it be nice to have the cheese be Mine? :)

  • Rosanne says:

    Thanks for this giveaway, Ashley! very generous of you!
    We have a beehive which is suffering a bit right now, and not sure what's going on with it, but in the past we've gotten quite a bit of honey out of it. We will be moving this summer and are hoping to actually get some land (we live in a subdivision now on a third of an acre), and plan to have more hives if we do.
    I'm a teacher and our school goes on spring break next week, and I will be spending my time planting my early spring crops of lettuce, broccoli and kale; sifting my compost to fill a new raised bed; harvesting the worm poop from my vermiculture bin and making compost tea to fertilize my garden; and planting tomato and pepper seeds indoors for transplanting later! hooray for spring!

  • anw says:

    Thanks for the opportunity! I really enjoy your blog! In a couple weeks I'll be starting seeds indoors. I'm growing sunflowers and daisies for my wedding this summer! I'm also learning how to sew, and I have started sewing a collection of cloth napkins, hotpads, and other household items. My fiance and I dream of the day when we will own a little land and can expand our garden and take on other endeavors such as fruit trees and beekeeping.

  • Daisy Driver says:

    So many things I want to do. This week I will be adding some compost to my garden to start getting it ready for the season. Probably next week starting seeds indoors. We plan to increase our garden this year and maybe intro bees to our abode.

  • knbledsoe says:

    For now we have our garden, compost bin and I make our own Laundry Detergent. We hope to have land in the future where we can have chickens, and other animals. Bees sound interesting. I am hoping to try my hand at canning this next year!

  • kritty says:

    we live in LA and turned our front yard into a big garden, but we want chickens and bees too. (Yes, neighbors! You heard me… chickens AND bees!)

  • Tanya says:

    Fun reading all the comments! I can, make from scratch, want chickens and bees, have a big garden and fruit trees….

  • Amanda says:

    I hope to be purchasing my first house soon- won't be very big or on very much property but I'll be making sure there's room for a little garden and a decent kitchen to play in!! Love the opportunity to win your books!

  • amywb says:

    just learned of your blog and am so glad. I've dabbled in the cheese making and would love your dairy book. Thanks for the chance to win!

  • Beth says:

    We have a small vegetable garden in our front yard and I make most of our food from scratch. I really want to do more of this, both preserving foods and making my favorite food ever, which is cheese. Someday when living situations allow it chickens are on the top of my list.

  • Lorene says:

    I'm working on a plan to introduce my friends to making homemade jam. Initially, that sounds easy, but I can complicate even the simplest activities. Do I drag them out to the fields to pick the fruit and then can the same day? If we pick the fruit one day, how and where will I store it until we can can it? Do I supply the jars and sugar or should I ask them to get their own? Ahhh, must solidify plans a bit more! (Wanders off shaking head and muttering to self…)

  • Jessica says:

    Oh wow, what a fabulous giveaway! Let's see, where do I begin? This has been a particularly momentous year for me in the back-to-the-earth realm. I learned how to can this summer and went crazy – fruits, veggies, jams, pickles, broth, soups. I learned how to make bone broths from chickens, beef and lamb. I now have a local dairy delivery, and just last week I discovered a farmer who will sell me raw milk, and I'm soon to start making yogurt and milk. I also have five chickens in my backyard. So please, pick me!! =)

  • mudmama says:

    We bought a mini farm in a tiny agricultural village last summer. We've spent the winter on house projects – no insulation, and initially no woodstove, the toilet was about to fall into the kitchen. Spring still feels away off, and we have barn saving and fencing to do this summer, but I've made sure we have room and time to: put in raised beds for salad greens, tomatoes, and 3 sister mounds (corn beans and squash). We plan on getting some chickens, going to bee school, and finding ourselves a jersey/or some goats – haven't decided yet) once the barn is safe. I'm excited. :-)

    Kerry –

  • mgrenier says:

    congratulations on the two new books! excited to see them. we do canning in our household & with our upstairs neighbors, and share a small vegetable garden. no chickens here (though there are some in our 'hood). lots of beekeeping! my fiance's mother researches honeybees and i've learned so much about their critical importance to agricultural systems and our survival. would love to learn the practical arts of beekeeping, maybe including a hive in our backyard. am also a yogurt/cheese eater, so would be swell to learn those skills too.

  • congratulations on the two new books! excited to see them. we do canning in our household & with our upstairs neighbors, and share a small vegetable garden. no chickens here (though there are some in our 'hood). lots of beekeeping! my fiance's mother researches honeybees and i've learned so much about their critical importance to agricultural systems and our survival. would love to learn the practical arts of beekeeping, maybe including a hive in our backyard. am also a yogurt/cheese eater, so would be swell to learn those skills too.

  • Tammi says:

    1. Ordered 6 more chicks to add to our flock
    2. Stopped using saran wrap!
    3. Taking a beekeeping class this weekend

    Thanks for the inspiration and looking forward to your new books.

  • Aaron says:

    My one goal, for where I will live after finishing graduate school, is to have room for chickens.

  • lera says:

    We live in a small, rural, one-stoplight town and we have hens. (My dream is to get bees, but I decided to wait until next year because my husband is retiring from the military this fall and I want to make sure he has a job before I start spending his money.)

  • JizzleK says:

    Right now I'm working on an expanded garden design and building a chicken cook to have chickens for the first time. We make our own jerky and yogurt, and I'd like to have a garden large enough to have enough produce to freeze for the winter. I also recently acquired some meat rabbits for breeding. I'm hoping to start bees this fall… The skies the limit!

  • Michelle says:

    I'm baking all the time…well at least when my 3m old allows me to. I hope to plant some herbs and veggies in pots this weekend. And as soon as we can sell our condo I would like to have chickens. Oh, I make my own cleaning products too! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Stacie says:

    I love, love, LOVE your series! I'm starting some seeds this week. Living in a small apartment has it's disadvantages, but my dad taught me all about container gardening so I've got it under control! I also frequent the farmer's market when it's open and preserve and can a lot (our favorite is pickled beets). My husband is currently building me a compost tumbler to fit on our tiny balcony as well. I have a lot of plans for when we move back home after my husband is done in the military, but until then I love to read your books and do what I can now! Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  • Meg says:

    I've been making my own deodorant for about a year. I make a lot of my own body products, in fact. I love mixing up essential oils. I've used a bunch of your ideas to mix up my own homemade cleaning products, too. We live in a tiny apartment now, but someday we hope to have a little more space and outdoor access to start raising chickens and tending bees. A goat is a little further off, but that doesn't stop me from dreaming about it.

    We've joined a CSA this year, too! Can't wait to start bringing home a box of surprise fresh produce :)

  • Tony R says:

    Your Keeping Chickens book has really helpped us through our first year with chickens. Anytime we had questions, it seemed that we found the answer in your book. We have been wanting to keep bees for a while now but decided to wait until after your book comes out…I'm glad that it's ready to go.

  • Jennifer says:

    I am excited about expanding our garden this year. I have had mixed success in the past, but I hope with the help of my very friendly local farmers, this year will be a boon. My dad is on his second year of bees, so I am hoping that there might be some wax to extract this year too.

  • gold fawn says:

    we have chickens, a garden and this year we're adding some rabbits. My big dream is horses, goats, and sheep but we have to wait till we move out of the city for that!

  • Yay! I love your canning, and chicken book! I am currently growing what I can on my side of the mountain in three raised beds. HOWEVER I am heading to Marshall to look for some property to start my dream of a hostel/homestead/retreat! my bones ache for it, my heart thumps for it and my soul screams to own a hostel/ homestead!
    -Abby B White

  • OurSoundHome says:

    Ooh! What a great giveaway! I am starting my first veggie garden and hoping to try candle and soap making this year.

  • Heidi says:

    Right now I'm in an apartment, but I have a generous friend who is letting me use their garden. I can grape juice, apple sauce, and peaches from foraged fruit. I look forward to the time I can have chickens and bees and maybe a dairy goat.

  • Alexandra says:

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  • hgermer says:

    I've got quite a large veg plot started, but looking into other ways to expand, especially chicken and bees!

  • Alexandra says:

    I'm dreaming about chickens and lumps of freshly made cheese; my latest real world endeavor is soap making. Love the books! Just got my hands on the canning book and I really like the step-by-step instructions with photos. :)

  • jessica says:

    I just moved to Washington DC and am searching for ways to be actively involved in the urban agriculture movement around the city. A group of Fellows from the program I am doing are working together to grow our own food and share with one another. Compared to two years ago, I buy almost no processed foods; I buy dry beans and soak them, I make hummus and bread from scratch, and am trying to expand the repertoire of things that can be made rather than bought, so the homemade dairy book is of real interest to me. Oh, and I just learned how to knit! :)

  • Amber says:

    These books look amazing, starting a small homestead is the next big thing on my mind.

    Glad to have found your blog!

  • Leigh says:

    Thanks for the contest! We're supporting more local farmers, buying fresh milk locally (need that home-made dairy book!), eating locally raised meat, supporting CSAs, making our own medicine and personal/cleaning products all the while teaching our child why these things are so important! nasturtium (at)

  • Liz says:

    We've been working on making more of the things we used to buy – this year I've started making chicken stock and veggie stock, huge pots of beans, and infused liqueurs. I'd love to try out some dairy homemade goodness!

  • Christine says:

    We live in a tiny-ish urban apartment with no private outdoor space (though we are on the hunt for a new place!) so we have gotten pretty creative about living the homemade life. We grow herbs and apartment-variety veggies in windowboxes, have experimented with homemade yogurt cheese and are regulars are our local farmers markets. Our city is now considering allowing backyard chicken coops, so maybe urban beekeeping will come next! I'd love to learn more about these and other homesteading topics!

  • Kristine says:

    Books look fabulous!

  • sarah says:

    We have had chickens for about 6 months now and are planting a whole slew of raspberries this spring in addition to our regular gardening projects. I just started canning jams and pickles last summer and can't wait to do more this year. I really want beehives but am a little afraid of the upfront expense. Someday!

  • Angela from NW suburbs of Chicago, Illinois says:

    Homemade Living adventures include raising my children in the most homemade way I can think of, providing nourishing meals we make w/ the freshest, organic foods we can find. As for dreams, WOW, I dream of doing so many of the things you speak of and so many of the things your fans have posted about here. What a great fan base you have!!!

  • Beth says:

    Oh, I love your books – would love to have the new ones to complete my set! We enjoy our own chicken eggs, and will have more little chicks soon! Adding things to my garden this year – hoping to increase self-sufficiency. My husband has wanted bees – may be we will add those!

  • keri says:

    great giveaway! I'm in the middle of starting my own seeds/growing lettuce and green onions and starting a compost pile. I'm also trying to learn how to use more natural personal care products.

  • Colleen says:

    Hi Ashley!
    I plan on getting both of your new books. It would be great to “win” one in a giveaway.

    I am taking an online course on the art of fermentation.(I have played around with krauts, kimchis, meads and a few dairy ferments…looking forward to trying more and sharing what I learn.)
    I have planted a few radish seeds and have marvelled in the arrival of the perennials; both wild and domesticated. {Daylilies, crocus, daffodils, tulips, mints, yarrow, nettles, comfrey, horseradish, wild garlic and violets}
    I am looking forward to Organic Growers School and the 2011 City Market season to begin.
    Looking for old windows to try your cold frame design. Thanks!

  • Patricia says:

    Ashley – I have really been enjoying your blog, discovered via the small measures posts on design sponge. Of all the great design sponge posts, yours are the ones that really draw me in and call to me. Now i've been following your blog and thoroughly enjoying it, especially reading about the small measures that you have taken during your pregnancy and new-to-mothering adventures, as i am in the midst of my first pregnancy myself.
    my friend/neighbor and i have jointly embarked on many homemade living projects together including building ourselves a hoophouse/chicken coop, where we raise vegetables and 5 lovely egg-layers. we've learned to can together; and just recently made our first batch of cheese together, with the help of your dairy book that i gifted to her! it's fun to feed off of and encourage each other to always strive for a more homemade life. and thankfully this remote place that life has brought us to, has really given me huge motivation to make and grow the things we can't easily get. I've got your canning book but looking forward to adding the others to my collection! thanks for sharing what you do with the world!

  • Stacey says:

    I live in a high-rise apartment in downtown Portland, so I can't really grow any of my own fruits or veggies, BUT I grow my own herbs on the windowsill! I love having fresh mint and thyme to put in dishes, and I also love when the curtains brush against the basil and the whole room fills with a wonderful fresh scent.

  • Wendy A says:

    My dream would be to own 3 acres where we could homestead & raise almost all of the food we need ourselves – I'd have fruit trees, chickens, several different gardens including kitchen & herb gardens among others, I'd have a big tree with a swing for my children, and I'd keep bees as well. I'd make my own honey, yogurt, cheese and can/freeze all our own food. Should I go on? I'd learn to knit & knit some hats, gloves, socks & scarves for the family, I'd sew some of our clothes & make quilts & I'd have a woodstove & would heat lunches on it on cold winter days. Someday, I plan to make my dream a reality – for now, I'll continue dreaming & planning!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  • oukay says:

    I grow some vegetables, make jams and preserves, and am plotting to spring some chickens and a beehive on my husband in the near future!

  • Frances says:

    I live in NYC and in the city I do most of my food shopping at the farmers market, participate in a CSA, and am hoping to volunteer at a community garden. But the most exciting thing has to do with work. I work at a residential treatment home for kids outside of the city. I am hoping to raise chickens at the cottage where some of the kids live! I just ordered yoru book on raising chickens last week.

  • christine says:

    I'm currently researching how to sandbag our house in anticipation of the predicted historical flooding in a few weeks. My plans for gardening will have to take an unfortunate back seat for while…but hey, if we do get anything planted, it'll be well watered!

  • Hollins says:

    We are working bit by bit to grow/raise a little more of our own food. We are in year two of beekeeping and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our chicks this spring. I have been a gardener for years and set the goal of putting up more food each summer. This is an exciting give away! Thank YOU!

  • Hollins says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Lindsay says:

    Chickens in the yard..(and chicks in the bathroom…the only space for their box right now!) and my first GOAT this year! Homemade goat cheese here I come.

  • Nacho Mama says:

    Learning how to maximize and live sustainably on one acre of land in the city. Ranging from growning own food, native landscaping, avoiding processed goods, and refashioning/upcycling our clothes. Excited to check out your books!

  • Miss Music says:

    I continue to knit socks while waiting for seeds to arrive. Soon, I will be getting my Mantis tiller ready to do its job, preparing the ground for planting. I am looking forward to raspberry canes arriving, and plan also to venture back into canning for the first time in years.

  • Amber says:

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  • Anonymous says:

    Really, it's slow going at our house. As much as we enjoy chores our plan of sustainablility has just gotten a much longer shelf life. Right now, we're drooling over seed/plant catalogs. One step at a time and that step is trees and berries. Hmm, that's a cool name for something. Trees and Berries. Maybe, maybe, maybe, there might be a top bar hive in our future this summer but I still have a bit of home work to do. Cool books, appreciate the offer. Enjoy.
    Jennifer (

  • dayodestin says:

    Started vermicomposting. Hoping to do lots more canning this year and successfully grow some of my own food. I'm still limited with where I am in the city so trying to do what I can while I dream of moving to a more rural location. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Eileen says:

    Yay giveaway! NIce!

    I'm starting up the garden, or as much of a garden as I can smash into our apartment balcony, at any rate! Since I'm in CA, it's actually full-on planting season. I've got early lettuce, chard, carrots and onions in, and just bought my first starter tomato at the farmer's market. Plants!

  • Ahhhh! I want that home dairy so bad (especially after much research is showing that my grand container garden plans may be thwarted by my covered shady porch!) but my plan is to grow things can things and sew things.
    Thanks a bunch for this awesome giveaway!


  • Em says:

    Well, our toddler is growing chickens in her vegetable bed, so that's important I think. ;-0 As we start this homesteading dream, right now, in the middle of this lovely mid-size city where we live, we've got heirloom and organic seeds started in cardboard egg cartons, we're buying our meat and dairy exclusively from local farmers, and on my to-do list is “read everything I can about keeping chickens” (starting with your lovely book, thanks so much!). It feels little, yet incredibly empowering to think we're suddenly digging into our food supply, making these thoughtful, important choices.
    And if our little girl does manage to grow some chickens in her vegetable bed, I'll be sure to post pictures! Hugs!
    Emily B

  • I have been growing as much of our own food as possible the past five years on our Condo patio. My husband was offered a job in Oregon this week so it looks like I am going to be able to have a much larger garden and chickens in the near future.

  • Amber says:

    About 6 months ago we moved into our little farmhouse on 3 acres. We love it and have big plans for it over the next couple years. We have planted fruit trees, have plans for a big heirloom vegtable/herb garden, have 1 rooster and 6 hens with plans of hatching chicks this spring. Our next adventure is beekeeping. I am going to take a beginner beekeeping class this month. Your books would provide a lot of useful information! Thanks for the giveaway!
    Amber at

  • Rebecca says:

    Oh, the homemade dreams seem to be a long long list these days. At the top of the list is finding a home. But I recently made some orange honey marmalade (very good on gingerbread). And I can't wait until the (very soon–I hope!) day when I can get to work on lots of new handmade adventures (chickens, bees, garden…) in our own little cozy spot.

  • Jane says:

    My plan is to get a old milking cow and spare her from the house. Being just me I don't need a lot. I also want a few chickens. All the animals will be saved. For this year I'm changing the garden since the deer eat a lot of it. I can a lot and I'm always wanting to know more. Your books sound great. I have the 2 that came out last year.

  • Seeds started – check.
    Year supply of laundry soap made – check.
    Reclaimed lumber for coop – check.
    Chicken supplier located locally – check.
    Sign up for Ashley English's canning class – patiently waiting.

  • Jen says:

    I'd love to have my own copies of your new books! We are planning to start our hive this spring. I loved your Keeping Chickens book. The profiles, photos and information totally inspired me to jump in and order our girls!

    We've just put in our seed order and we are getting ready to start tomatoes and onions in the house. We are boiling sap today. Looks like this is going to be a great sugaring season in New England!

  • Anna says:

    I am looking forward to making mozzarella and goat cheese. I don't have any animals to milk, yet, but I am excited to learn more about home cheese making anyway.

  • Darla says:

    Congrats on the books!
    I grow my own food, make my own cleaners, make bread, am a CSA member and my husband and I are planning on building a movable tiny house to live/travel in. Yay!

  • Amanda Bohl says:

    We are sheet mulching a portion of the grass in our backyard to convert it to garden space. The old spot is no longer working. I hope it's working!

  • kristina says:

    Just finished up bee school over in new haven, ct a few weeks ago where i found a bee keeper to apprentice with this spring—i'm so excited! I won't be able to keep bees of my own this year but i look forward to learning from those who have been doing it for a while. Between that and helping out a maple farm during sugar season this year, I think my sweet tooth will be plenty satisfied! Another goal? Making my own mozzarella. It's going to be a great year.

  • mamalooma says:

    Fun! I recently found your blog after checking your canning book out from the library. I recently read your chicken book as well, so I'm really excited to read the dairy and bee books! : )
    I keep canning more things each year, and expanding our garden. We live in the city and have a small plot, but I would love to get every inch we can out of it! We have two small children (just turned 3 and 1)and I'm so excited to share home skills with them. We hope to have chickens next year and bees will happen too someday, somewhere.

  • hennypenny says:

    First, let me say Congratulations! on that sweet boy of yours. He's a doll! Finally made my way back to your blog after a little absence. Back to stay! I am having serious spring and garden fever. I find myself browsing the garden section of the stores already! So for now, lots of pruning and cleaning of beds. Putting plans down on paper of outdoor projects we want to complete this spring. Finally, trying to find a way to break it to my husband that I'd like a couple of more raised beds in my vegetable garden, which would mean moving fencing. We'll see….

  • Charity says:

    We got 2 goats last summer, so we will have kids and milk this summer! We also have bees on their way in May (first for that!), we have an heirloom gardern, a herb garden (a green house being built in the spring!) & I can & freeze like a crazy person! Love this little homestead of ours!

    I adore your books!

  • Jessica says:

    I'm living with my mom, so I only have a 3×3' patch of dirt to work with, but I'm going to do the most I can with it! I also plan on doing plenty of canning. I canned for the first time last year and loved it! I especially loved having those delicious summer peaches in the middle of winter. :)

    penrynsdreams at gmail dot com

  • meganwf says:

    We started with egg chickens and ducks in 2006, then added meat chickens. Soon traded out the ducks for a pair of angora rabbits (love to spin their fiber!) and two years ago it was pigs (seasonally). Last spring we installed our first two packages of bees and so far one is hanging in there. This spring we are doing pigs again and looking closely at top bar hives. The fruit trees I planted look terrible but there is always hope — just bought seed starting mix yesterday for the way too big veggie garden. All in the suburbs — we have great neighbors! megan at frasers dot org

  • Erica says:

    This spring is all about the orchard we are putting in. We are contemplating chickens in late spring if we can get our -ahem-stuff together before the chicklets leave the feed store. Your books look great!

  • Mrs.Bowers says:

    Yay!! What a wonderful giveaway!
    I am happy that spring has come a bit early to us here. I have started my heirloom tomatoes, and plan on getting the other seeds in the ground this weekend. And the local feed store has baby chicks arriving April 1 to add to our small flock. Can't wait!
    @cocoahottie on twitter

  • Keri says:

    We're in our first year of beekeeping, and hope to start raising chickens soon. Just discovered your blog and books via Natural Home magazine's site.


  • realfoodmama says:

    Wow! I am inspired by everything that folks have listed. What a wonderful group of people!

    This is our third year of gardening in the desert of northern New Mexico and we are working on perfecting our crop rotation and our selection. This year we have decided to only plant a few crops and really make sure they do well.

    I am also impatiently expecting kidding season. My goat is due in April and I am really looking forward to having my milk supply back! My girls are dry at the moment in order to prepare for being mommies, so when the milk starts flowing again I am going to start my cheese making experiments once more! So far I have really only had success with mozzarella and ricotta…all the hard cheeses I tried to make last year were complete failures! I would love to get a how to guide (hint hint!)

    Good luck to everyone on their endeavors this year! Happy Homesteading!

  • Aimee says:

    ooh, ooh! We would love those books! Let's see: we have chickens, our whole yard is a garden, we do canning and preserving, we have a root cellar, my husband grows mushrooms, we've done “urban harvesting.” We want to raise meat rabbits, get bees, and goats! Goats aren't legal yet, but we're trying! And we've picked out spots for the bees and rabbits. =)

  • Ooh, I loved your canning book, and am really curious about these! As we live above the water in a house on pilings, all we have to garden in are containers, and we haven't really done much of that as of yet. Hopefully 2011 will be our year. Also working on sewing and knitting things for our 4-month old!

  • MrsRobinett says:

    Loved your canning book and have since loved your blog – can't wait to read the newest tomes.

  • Kitty says:

    We have a large garden, make yogurt cheese, can, dehydrate and whatever else we can do and have time to do.

  • Heath Milks says:

    I have been thinking about doing some bee keeping. hmmmm

  • Anonymous says:

    My husband and I dream of one day living on a homestead. Until then we are practicing self sufficient living. We've got the gardening down pat and are expanding a little more every year. This year we are going to start raising chickens. LOVED your book on Raising Chickens, such an inspiration! We are getting our two boys, Micah 12 and Avery 7, involved by having them help build the chicken coop. We can hardly wait to receive our fluffy chicks in the mail! I read your book on Canning and Perserving and have decided to tackle canning this year as well. Next year we hope to raise a few goats, so when I saw you had a Home Dairy book coming out I was ecstatic! I plan on owning everyone of your books for my home library.
    Emily (

  • We are in the middle of the city, but I have raised beds in the front and back yards and there is a farm a few miles from me (also in the city) where I can get fresh milk, eggs and honey. I don't spend nearly as much money at the grocery store as I used to.

  • Stefka says:

    My focus right now is mostly handcrafts (I'm obsessed with felting thrift store sweaters!)and making things for my nephews (10 and 6 months), family, and friends. This year I want to try making yogurt and do more canning/freezing – it's hard to grow things with our exposure, but there's lots of local VT producers to support! I'm looking forward to checking out your new books. thanks!
    stefka (dot) mckee (at) gmail

  • Kat says:

    We live in town, but pretend we're on a real piece of property. We're looking at places now, but none have been quite right. So far, we have chickens, bees, raised beds, fruit trees, and hops. I make our bread, tortillas, and pasta from scratch. I make our soap by hand, too. This spring, I'll be milking an aunt's goat three mornings a week. This is a new adventure for us both. I'm lucky to get to practice on someone else's animal before starting up on my own when we get a place. Right now, I'm just really hoping my bees have survived the winter. It's still snowing here, with no end in sight.

  • Faye says:

    I'm so excited to add the 2nd set of your books to my library (free or otherwise!). As a grad student in northern VT, i've been knitting away in class, baking too many treats, hanging out in my community garden plot during our brief summer, and learning to can over the last couple of years. I'm hoping to turn my jam into a side business after finishing the dreaded thesis!

  • amanda june says:

    a garden for two. and would love to can this year!

  • polli says:

    We are entering our third year with chickens and planning on starting a new flock in a few weeks! Seeds are chosen and beds are getting ready for our “little farm in the city”. We're hoping to try a hoop house this year and use your preservation techniques to keep eat longer from our garden. We want to keep bees this year, so your book would be right on time!

  • Julie says:

    I like to think I live kind of handmade. I knit and want to own a farm someday, does that count?

    These are two things (beekeeping and dairy-making) that my husband and I have been seriously talking about doing. We live in Brooklyn but have gone to some info sessions on urban beekeeping. Also, my husband is talking with the beekeeper at Added Value Farm in Red Hook (where he already volunteers) about being a “bee intern” for next season. I’ve made butter, ice cream, and paneer, but we want to start using the beautiful Milk Thistle dairy from our farm market in more elaborate dairy products. Even if I don’t win, I’d totally buy these!

  • A. Verzello says:

    I am constantly adding items to my homemade food repertoire – mayonnaise and yogurt are recent additions. I would LOVE chickens when my husband and I get out of an apartment. Your books are beautiful and an inspiration.

  • Jess says:

    We are consistently and most smitten with learning how to preserve what is good in our lives. Recently we have been entertaining the idea and slowly moving toward making our own dairy products. Can't wait to get a copy of these books in my hands!

  • melmerc38 says:

    This year I am going to attempt to grow a small vegetable garden with my daughters. I also plan to make butter with my 5 year old. It looks like fun and I'm sure it will taste amazing. Thanks for the opportunity to win! I've read checked out your first two books numerous times from my local library. It would be great to have your work in my permanent collection!

  • corinne says:

    I am also starting seeds for the garden. I am waiting for my bread to rise while I blog. Which is make with honey not my own, but a local farmer. I try to make my own or support people who do. Can and freeze our food. Would love to go solar. I read your blog regularly. Thank you

  • I think I'm going to win!

  • tansy says:

    what a wonderful giveaway! thank you for the chance.

    last year was a depressing year for me and i let a lot fall by the wayside. this year i have much renewed spirit and energy and the weed choked herb garden is not deterring that so i've begun clearing away a year's worth of overgrown weeds (amazing how quickly they can do that!). we are starting our veggie garden seeds this weekend and i'm looking forward to sprucing up the herb garden.

  • sloejennfizz says:

    I am working on the garden & cheese making but really need to add some bees. Maybe a book on the topic would be just the inspiration I need!

  • says:

    Last year I had my first real garden in my yard. I made a lot of mistakes but all in all it was great. I am preparing now for my garden this year. Hopefully I will be preserving some food this year from my garden. I love reading your blog and would love to win one of your books!

  • cp says:

    oh how lovely! i hope to someday have bees, very soon actually. and that dairy book sounds great! i would love these.

  • cozette says:

    What a great giveaway! My husband and I just moved to the countryside from the city in September. We have two acres of land and we can't wait to dig into the soil and start a garden. We're also excited about raising chickens! It's all a big adventure at this point and spring can't come quick enough – it's still a ways off here in NH. I'm making a film about first generation farmers and they keep me excited and driven and inspired! As you do Ashley too!

  • LadyA says:

    Ashley thanks so much for the generous giveaway!! We have your first two books and love them. As for us, having conquered fermentation so far this year, we are moving on to knitting/sewing and have Spring plans for compost, raised beds and cold frames. And bees. We're urban homesteaders (yes, I said it!!) and we're lovin' it!

  • These books look great! I've made yogurt and want to try cheese. I also have laying hens but no bees yet….

  • Genevieve says:

    I'm a new reader and want to say great blog, I have started my own seeds this past week and I am hoping to make some yogert soon, I also make my own shampoo and laundry detergent and can and freeze lots of fresh produce when I can,

  • jen says:

    I love all your references to Urban Homesteading because I am a frustrated farmer living in a suburban city! Keep writing for all of us!

  • Lisa says:

    I'd love to have a couple of chickens, but I'm not sure about the feasability of that in our current location.

    I'm looking forward to attempting to can some of our garden surplus this summer.

  • Stephanie says:

    I would LOVE copy of your beekeeping book – we just ordered our first package of bees and will be official beekeepers as of May 14th! :)

  • dragonlaurel says:

    Just bought lots of seeds yesterday, so planting can start this week. I joined a community garden last year and it was so worth it. We still have some home made pickles left, and I am wanting to grow and produce more of our own foods.

    I'm also starting my first batch of home made wine today too. Hoping it turns out well.

    Learning to make cheeses is a goal for this year too. It could save us so much money.

  • Jill J says:

    Wow, what an amazing series! I just followed a link to your blog (from Design Sponge), but I'm sad that I haven't come here before. I am a gardener and mama to 11 chickens. :) My kids, husband and I have as much of a farm as we can have in the city. I would love to get into bees too! Thanks for the opportunity.

  • Our family would just love to own your books! We have a small farm in central Vermont and are working slowly but surely toward being self sufficient. Thanks for a great blog, too!

  • dragonlaurel says:

    Just bought lots of seeds yesterday, so spring planting can begin.

    I'm also starting a batch of home made wine today. Wish me luck, since it's my first try.

    One of this year's goals is to learn to make cheese. We both love it, so it would be such a great skill to have.

  • Alice McIntosh says:

    The work you do is wonderful! I can't wait to get my hands into the beekeeping edition. I'm planning on planting a garden this summer in my tiny city yard. I also will be starting some worm compost. Saving the world one little step at a time.

  • sallymander says:

    We are planting a .25 acre garden this year to hopefully restart a more self sufficient lifestyle that was lost some time ago on my boyfriend's 100 year old family farm. Thanks for the opportunity to add two books to our reference library.

  • Nicole says:

    It is still snowy and cold here but I am starting plans for a small container garden. I have been trying to find my favorite recipes for whole wheat bread and other processed food substitutes which has been fun! Thanks for the chance to win! I can't wait to read them either way!

  • ThriftQueen says:

    The awakening to “old-fashioned” living is so stunning to me. Women and men alike are returning to the land – and to community. So BEAUTIFUL. (what I'm into: permaculture gardening, humanure, canning/fermenting/pickling, goat dairy, off-grid living, and new! TimeBanking!.. a new way to make a living without currency.) Keep it up, good people! (

  • kayshin says:

    My boyfriend and I have been thinking a lot more about future growing projects, as so far, we have only made small forays into homemade living shenanigans :) Growing basil indoors and starting lemongrass were some past mini projects. We've also made one batch of homemade caramels that are dangerously addictive! In the future, we'd like to have some fruit trees, and having bees around will be critical to success.

  • Cissy says:

    Just starting our foray into the world of bees. Our italian bees are buzzing, the russians have not fared too well in these North Carolina mountains. Turns out, we're not too far apart. I'm in south Asheville and would LOVE a Bee book!!!

  • Amanda says:

    This is a fantastic giveaway! One day, my honey and I would like to raise honey bees, chickens, and grow our own garden. For the meantime, as we live in a condo, we'll grow our food in every square inch we have of outside space and dream and plan our chicken and bee keeping future!

    Amanda (

  • Lesley says:

    I am always interested in learning something new, passing on information/knowledge to 4-H'ers, and sharing with other neighbors. Would love to have copies of any of your books.

  • Chione says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • We're hopefully putting in an offer on a “country” house this week, so my mind is so big for all the dreams we want to do with the 1.1 acres we've chosen. Chickens, bees, and rabbits are a go. I'd love to add these beautiful books to our library!

    City Roots, Country Life

  • Kerri says:

    Cheeeeese! I would LOVE to start making my own cheese at home. How cool would that be? Everyone will want to come over all the time! “What cheese you got ripening in the cheese cave?” they'd ask. “Not-cho cheese,” I'd reply. This would be a dream come true.

  • Mo says:

    Hi, I'd love to learn from this book!

  • katiegirl says:

    I would love the dairy book so I can make dairy products from my goat milk. And one day I will have bees!

  • naturegirl says:

    I just discovered your blog today! I can't get enough of homestead living. I own 13 acres in rural Michigan and have a 1-acre vegetable garden that I work in April thru October. Goats and chickens are on my “want” list. But I enjoy trying new canning recipes and cooking from scratch, too. One of my goals is goat cheese, so I am anxious to read your new book. Can't wait to read your past postings! Pick Me! Pick Me!

  • Mary Pendergast says:

    I live in a third floor condo in Chicago. Over the past few years I have been doing more edibles in my containers than perennials or annuals. This year I am starting most everything from seed for the first time. I have a small grow light now and am trying winter sowing.

    I also make my own healing salve, lotion bar, lip balms, toner, and soaps for myself and as gifts. I grow some of my herbs for use there.

    If I had land, bees and chickens might well be in the mix. I do want to learn to preserve my harvest – pickling and canning. And making dairy products intrigues me now, especially yogurt and cheese.

    I am at:
    Great site and thanks for this offer.
    Mary Pendergast

  • Lisa says:

    We have several fruit trees planted but need to find new varieties that bloom later as our fruit gets frozen nearly every year. After several challenging family dramas, we are anxious to once again focus on our homestead plans and projects. Already have chickens and goats but have never had bees….help is appreciated!

  • Alison says:

    I've got bees (saw you at BCBC tonight), worms, a small garden, a young heirloom apple orchard (varieties for hard cider), and three water buffalo which we hope to use for home dairy. I've got your chicken book (in anticipation of someday fixing up the old coop) so was thrilled to see that you've got books on bees and dairy, too.

  • Sam says:

    I will be keeping goats and bees and would love to learn all that I can. Thank you for the great giveaway!

  • Twink says:

    I love what you do… looked to you for inspiration when we got chickens last spring.. (that is how I found you) I have made some yogurt… and am trying to be better at production vs consumption…
    thanks for the contest.

  • keeko says:

    Yay! I'm not too late to comment/enter!
    Phew, where do I begin? Well I had dreamed of keeping chickens and a garden since before we left Brooklyn. Both of those projects were in the works when I met Ashley, and I'm being modest when I say she was my inspiration for learning how to can & preserve last year, and now keep bees! As those last two goals begin to materialize, we often reflect on the bigger picture, with the ultimate goal being as self-sufficient and off-the-grid (one day) as possible. Baby steps…

  • hollymapper says:

    It was fun to sit in the Buncombe County Bee-Keepers meeting last night with the author! Wish I had the bee book last year when I began the same journey. Good job!

  • Kate says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Kate says:

    After consulting your “Keeping Chickens” book many times, I ordered chicks last fall and my ladies just started to lay a month ago. It's been such a fun experience that I'm excited to try my hand at cheesemaking and maybe even beekeeping.

    Thank you for being a constant source of inspiration in all things homemade!


  • ~ Janis says:

    I have a small grassfed herd of beef cattle and we are really struggling with heavy snows, blizzards and barn disasters this winter.
    Our main barn burned down December 18th and then our cow barn collapsed February 6th.
    35 barns collapsed that day in Vermont because of rain that later turned to ice.
    I adore my cows and they have lots of stories to tell.
    Thanks for having the book give away. I want to learn more about making cheese. Come visit the herd when you have a chance:

  • Me says:

    Ashley, I love your blogs. I recently posted my first blog on a local newspaper's site about Living Whole…yes it was inspired by a common love ours “Whole Living” magazine. This first post is about my edible gardening but my family goal toward self sufficieny encompasses so much more.
    I bought your book on canning last year and continue to make some pretty awesome pickles and plan to venture into other recipes soon. I also have dabbled in dairy but would love to get more instruction. We are still working toward chickens but our city just made it legal so we hope to have some by end of year. Bees have also been an interest of mine although a little intimadating. Other goals this year for me are organic and homemade beauty products and we plan to start a family this year so I am sure I will be heavy into healthy baby stuff too. This is my personal blog.

  • jodi says:

    Just received our order of seeds in the mail (yippee!), also plug spawn to grow reishi, shiitake and oyster mushrooms. Also canned my first batch of pickled asparagus last week (yum!) which was, of course, followed by an amazingly delicious pot of cream of asparagus soup! Other than that, just gazing at my lovely hellebores that are in full bloom :)

  • jmharrell says:

    I so want to start keeping bees and get better at the cheese stuff. Your books are so fun thanks for writing them.

  • Me! says:

    Just what I need to get started! thank you! would love to win these