A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be chosen as a winner of a Design*Sponge contest giving away copies of Ashley English’s awesome new books: Canning + Preserving, and Keeping Chickens. (links take you to Left Bank Books, my favorite local bookseller :-))

Last Friday, they arrived on my doorstep.  And then I squee’d.  And then I squee’d some more.  And then the dog cowered because she thought I was yelling.

Roxie is not smart.

But you already knew that.

Let’s look at Canning + Preserving first, ok?

I’ve already read this one cover to cover, and have marked several pages and recipes.  It’s the one that’s more relevant and applicable to my life rightnow, since I plan on canning this summer.  Jeff (and our landlord) won’t let me have chickens yet.  It’s a Anti-Fun Conspiracy, I think.

The book is really well laid out, and Ashley’s writing style is friendly, straightforward, and funny.  It is absolutely chock-full of information, including step-by-step instructions (with great photos!) on both canning methods:

Ashely includes really in-depth information about the process – including why you can’t re-use lids, why she prefers certain shapes of jars, and information on where you can and can’t experiment.

There’s also this great “Portrait of a Canner” feature – a great occasional respite amongst all the more serious do’s and don’ts.

This thing is *really* super in-depth – everything you could possibly want to know about canning!

And the recipes?


I’ll have to get back to ya on those 😉

One thing is for sure – I’d better get a bumper crop from my little tomato plant, and I’ll definitely be hitting up the U City farmer’s market* this summer!


Keeping Chickens is also great, and has only made me wish I were able to start nownownow!

It’s a great companion book to Canning + Preserving; the two fit together real well (though I don’t seem to recall a recipe in Canning + Preserving for canned chicken :-P)

From my viewpoint of a *total* novice, it is absolutely wonderful.

(How long would it have taken me to Google all that information?  Seriously!)

But it’s not just helpful for newbies like myself – this book covers everything from coop construction, to chicken selection, to care, to treating illnesses.  It’s a one-stop shop, guys.

And of course there are recipes 😀

Mmmm….  Would it be OK to try these with storebought eggs, until such time as I can use proper homegrown?

I’m so glad to have won these awesome books, and would heartily recommend them to anyone interested in taking up canning or chicken-keeping.   A great reference, and a great investment.  Ashely’s passion really shines through – it’s contagious! 🙂

PS>Don’t miss out on Ashley’s blog!

PPS>Maybe the landlord wouldn’t notice just a small chicken coop, next to the garage? Maybe?  Possibly?

*Yes I know I just linked to a placeholder.  But I can’t just…not link, can I?

3 responses to “Ready…set…go!

  1. I want to get those books for a friend of mine who moved to alaska, planted a garden and now is building a chicken coop.

  2. Grandma’s canner, some jars, her canning book and the jar lifter and stuff like that is in our garage just waiting for you to use to blow off your kitchen ceiling. Check your lease and renters’s insurance.

    And, uh, I saw your chicken at Price Chopper last night and he, uh, wasn’t moving much.

  3. I know I am really behind on blog reading. These books are totally and completely awesome. I might just have to have them, although what I’ll do with a book on raising chickens I do not know.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s