~Giveaway~ Backyard Roots: Lessons on Living Simply From 35 Urban Farmers

backyard roots_bookcover

What a great way to come back to writing! Just in time for the holidays I’m offering a giveaway to 3 lucky winners for this beautiful book Backyard Roots: Lessons on Living Simply from 35 Urban Homesteaders. 

See the lady on the cover holding an armful of hay? That’s my lovely friend, Heidi. You can also find some of my other wonderful urban homesteading friends in the book, including Erica, Maya, Kitty, Esperanza, and Birgitt. Oh, and we’re also featured in it.


I met Lori Eanes, the author, a couple of years ago when she came to my home to take photos of our urban homestead. It was winter so not much was going on, but we did have some adorable baby goats. She came by again later to check out a different season – this time when the garden was growing like crazy.

How to Enter

Leave a comment here about what urban homesteading project you really want to try next. You have until midnight on Friday, December 6th to enter. On Saturday I will choose 3 lucky readers to receive one of these lovely books from Skipstone Press.

Image Credit: All images in this post are copyright Lori Eanes. Used with permission.

**UPDATE** Congratulations to Sarah, Amy Boo and Nicole for winning copies! I have sent you all emails. If you didn’t get them please email me at rachel at dogislandfarm (dot) com. Thanks!

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  1. Looking to bring about 6 beautiful ladies into our lives – not sure which breeds yet, but definitely Barred Rock will be among them.

  2. What a terrific book! My next project is definitely going to be chickens, my first backyard farm animals! :)

  3. Bee. Yep, bees have been on my mind for a long, long time. We’ll see if I have the time and energy to get it done. ;-)

  4. I would love to do more raised beds and some espaliered fruit trees. I don’t know if they would be hardy here.

  5. I wouldn’t know where to start on what’s next. We have just finished our first round of meat chickens, we raise rabbits and we’ve just begun laying hens. We’re trying to find a permanent homestead so I guess that’s next. Then will come learning how to preserve without using the freezer and fruit trees. Or maybe soap making. Too many options to be able to say for sure!

  6. Beth Hubbel says:

    Hi, We’d like to try bees and fruit trees and or bushes. Going to get our fist dairy goats in a few weeks. It’d be great to learn how to do any and/or all of these things and review chicken care and rabbit care to see what we’re missing in those areas.

  7. Our next venture will be bees. We are building two top bar hives this winter. I am having more trouble waiting for spring than for Christmas when I was a kiddo. I’ve wanted bees for many years.

  8. My husband and I are planning on getting goats and chickens to add to our 3 acres that we have started gardening and are adding fruit trees and grape vines.

  9. jennifer morris says:

    I would like to increase the size of our chicken run & build a composter for the chicken poop, hay & chips we ise on the pen.

  10. Mary Lee Moeny says:

    I am planning to add beekeeping to our semi-rural 1/2 acre ‘farm’ this spring. The bees have been ordered and will arrive mid-April. The only thing that is missing is the Top Bar Hives (2). I have basic woodworking skills and am planning on building the Top Bar Hives myself (it didn’t look to difficult – just straight cuts, Right?!). It’s a good thing I have a very tolerant husband who’s not too surprised when his wife comes in with a new project for the ‘farm’. : -}

  11. Going to dig a small pond to help dry out an area I would like to use for gardening. So I would
    like to introduce ducks and/or geese to our small homestead. And I want to research what kinds of nuts I may be able to grow here in the mountains of Western NC.

  12. Erinn Byers says:

    I plan to plant heirlooms exclusively, and to retain new seed from every harvest from now on. There is something so important to me about maintaining the old varieties. I also am smitten with the often unrefined yet charming appearance of the yield. Corn will be my main focus this year.

  13. More fruit trees. I have one established apple tree and one I planted last year. I would like to add peaches or pears.

  14. Pretty basic, I just want a garden, but I need to prep the soil first and it is so hard to be patient!

  15. Janice Mathews says:

    I want to learn more about the fruit trees I have and how to prune more effectively. I also want to start doing more fall vege planting for winter/spring harvest.

  16. My next project is to learn how to can meat. I have a pressure-canner now. I’m thinking it would lead to easy-peasy one pot meals during the winter (stews, meaty soups, and such.)

    Thanks for the give away,

  17. I have been growing tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, herbs, and salad greens for a few years now and plan to plant some fruit trees next. I am also going to add strawberries,

  18. The project I’m most interested in is meat rabbits. I had fiber rabbits for years but with two little ones underfoot the handspinning is no longer happening much, so I’m excited to take this next step in being a responsible meat eater. The project I think I will get to next is soap making. The lye is in the basement, just waiting!

    I would love to read this book! It looks wonderful. Thank you for hosting this giveaway.

  19. Meat rabbits are the next phase for us! I’ve spent a good deal of time reading/researching and thinking about the best location and how to create a great environment. We now have “The Plan” to execute (pardon the pun!) in the spring.

  20. Exciting to see how many people are interested in bees and in TBHs! One of my goals for this spring is to refine my hive division and queen ‘rearing’ skills. I want to transition our colony acquisition process from swarm catching (lots of fun–but so much work and uncertainty!) to dividing our strong colonies at the point when they are prepared to raise their own queen (walk away splits).

    Also planning to finally make the acquaintance of my new pressure canner.

  21. I’d really like to plant more berry bushes and maximize my gardens. Then I’d like to start canning my extra produce. We don’t grow enough to can or preserve but we could if we added a few more gardens.

  22. To be able listen to others who have trend the path already would be awesome… PLEASE consider me for one of the books. I have taken the first step of growing my own veggies but I need some wisdom of the next step.. Animals and their care..a scary next step for me.. As I am not sure what animals to start with. Thank you.

  23. Melissa C. says:

    I’m in the process of planning for an edible landscape in our front yard — my husband won’t let me dig it up and plant potatoes, so this is the next best thing! :)

  24. Mary P Hall says:

    Although I’ve been talking about it for years (ask any of my friends or family members!), I want to try chickens…just a few, maybe three or four. There’s just something so appealing about the idea of having a few hens and fresh eggs and all that comes with chickens. Maybe this spring…

  25. Laura Roys says:

    There is always so much I want to add to the old suburban homestead! I want to add both meat rabbits and meat chickens next year, but I think I will have to just go with the meat chickens since we can reuse the chicken tractors we already used for raising our laying hens.

  26. I would love to keep a few chickens! I also have to start over on my raised beds because my husband, our baby twins and I are moving again this December. Someday, we will live the dream and own a home where we can really put down roots! Until then, I will keep on dabbling and practicing.

  27. I so want to get bees, but will probably wait until my toddlers are a bit older. Kids do make great chicken hearders and love counting eggs. My next big project should be trying to keep the }@#% moose and deer from destroying our smallish fruit trees. Would love to grow enough stuff to can up a bunch of salsa, we eat a ton of it. I also want to try growing more of the chickens winter food, maybe fodder beets or squash.

  28. Jennifer G says:

    Though I’ve tackled raising chickens and growing veggies via raised beds, my next project really ought to be incorporating edibles into the landscape. I’m hoping to grow berries on a sloped area, citrus as a hedge, and someone vining up a trellis and on an arbor–grapes and/or curcurbits. Also, I want herbs growing along the front of planting beds or some such thing.

  29. So many project to choose from. Our little homestead, which we call HUG Farm (being 3 generations of Hugginses), is situated in Pleasant Hill, with a little less than 20 inches of rain annually. The water district provides a small subsidy for converting front lawns over to drought tolerant plantings, so we’ve just ripped out the 50+ year old lawn and are doing some earth-shaping and contouring before sheet mulching right now. But the idea is an edible xeriscape, and we’ve been gathering our plants together: three varieties of Jujubes, some seedling pineapple guavas, a pomegranite, chaste berry, lemon verbena, yucca, aloe, agave, mahonia, manzanita, ceanothus, some bunchgrasses, and – the cherry on the top, for me – a grafted Santa Fe carob tree. Hopefully, it’ll be a beautiful, low maintenance, quasi-native garden with low-to-no water needs throughout the year. Wish us luck!

  30. Kristin M says:

    I would really like to start beekeeping. I have been trying to talky husband into it.

  31. Jennifer Camacho says:

    My most desired homestead project would have to be dairy goats. Space and time are the big hindrances to making it happen. I am still hopeful.

  32. I am gathering the materials to make a chicken yard and coop. Will have to learn more to feel really comfortable with it and yet it feels so good to have live creatures walking around this 1/4 acre yard.

  33. Clare Harmon says:

    The next homesteading project I would like to tackle is fermenting. Hot sauce, krout, kombocha, and mead. I grow my own peppers and cabbage as well as started honey bees this year. Time to move to the next step.

  34. Living in an apartment in the bay area I am very lucky to have a 2000sq ft yard. We have several 4×4 garden beds and this summer added an ibc tote aquaponic system our next project is a window garden made from recycled water bottles.

  35. We already keep chickens, but I’d like to extend our run and move over to keeping some traditional breeds instead of our current hybrids. I’d also like to have a go at hatching our own eggs.

  36. Sounds like a great book

  37. We (mother and daughter team)would love a copy of this book! We don’t have as much land as most however we have enough! We live in a townhouse with a small yard and this year we planted out first garden, a raised bed 3X3 and it produced so much for us our next journey will be adding one more raised bed! Eventually we would to have a total of 4 raised beds but we wanted to start off slow and steady! Your blog about one year without groceries really inspired us and we spent months reading through all you posts and reading all the books and blogs you mention! We already adventured into canning and dehydrating our bounty and we hope to get as much use out of our small areas as possible!

  38. I’d love to read the book Backyard Roots. Can I get it from Skipstone Press? We’re in our sixties with some physical limitations now but still have three (prohibited in our city shhhhhhh) chickens for eggs. They eat our scraps, weeds and help make compost quicker. Grow some berries and as many veges as we can. Rainwater barrels, washlines and as much passive heating and cooling as we can get. All this in a city that thinks it’s too sophisticated to allow most of these activities in its city.

  39. Sounds like you’re doing great Nicole. It doesn’t take much space to feed yourself. Use whatever vertical space you have. I grow snow peas – I love snow peas – so quick and so easy and they grow up and up.

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