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Attainable Sustainable, the lost art of self-reliant living, by Kris Bordessa

May 26, 2020

I’m not a homesteader — not by a long shot — but I admire self-reliant living and take enjoyment and satisfaction in learning to do things for myself. Not everything, mind you. I love to mend a pair of jeans and bake bread, but I learned long ago that I don’t enjoy canning. (A pantry shelf full of beautifully canned produce makes me giddy, though!)

Whether you’re interested in full-steam-ahead self-reliance or you enjoy dabbling in crafts and other homemade skills, Attainable Sustainable is a book you’ll want on your shelf. It’s an encyclopedia of sorts, with specific how-to directions and lovely photos to illustrate the guidelines. 

The book is divided into two sections, Indoors and Outdoors. The Indoors section includes a chapter called “Eat,” with directions for cooking, preservation, dehydration, and, of course, canning. Another Indoor chapter is “Make,” which includes candle-making, wool felting, and waste-free storage. The third Indoors chapter is “Clean,” with DIY directions for soapmaking, skin and hair care, and medicinal herbs. (There’s a recipe for elderberry syrup that I’ll be making in the fall!)

Book cover of Attainable Sustainable, by Kris Bordessa

The Outdoors section is divided into three chapters, too. The first is “Grow,” which covers planning a garden, edible landscaping, greenhouse growing, and container gardening. The second is “Farm,” with directions for creating an orchard, beekeeping, and livestock care. And the third is “Trek,” which offers outdoor cooking recipes, directions for tapping trees for syrup, and foraging. 

Kris talks about the impetus for self-reliance, too, both throughout the book and in a charming afterword. These are my favorite parts of the book. In the afterword, she explains that she leads a busy life, like most of us. “But,” she says, “in the midst of this whirlwind of life, I’m reminded how important it is to break the monotony of the days to nourish my soul.”  That’s what all this hands-on work is all about.

I’ve given you just a peek at what’s covered in Kris’ book. If you’re at all interested in self-reliant skills like composting, making your own natural dyes, or simply starting sprouts in your kitchen, you’ll want to take a look at Attainable Sustainable.

BTW, I first learned of Kris on her Attainable Sustainable blog.  You can read more about her and the book — and more about self-reliant living — there.  

You might also like: Essential home repairs anyone can do — Popular Mechanics How to Fix Anything and Simply Imperfect — Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House.

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