I’m so excited to be finally getting to read the second half of Ashley Adams English’s Homemade Living Series, Keeping Bees and Home Dairy. The first half of the series were the books Canning & Preserving and Keeping Chickens, remember? I admire Ashley; her blog Small Measure is fantastic, she has an informative and fun regular column on Design Sponge, and she is all around a sweet generous person. I like that in an author!

What I love about her books is, well, everything. The design is great – from the deceptively simple covers, to the colors inside the books to the excellent photos. There is a consistency in these books that lends a supportive feel to the newbie embarking on bee keeping for the first time, or  to the city dweller about to make their first batch of ricotta cheese. There’s something about Ashley’s work that just makes you feel like she gets it. She gets how to present information so you actually feel like you can pull off whatever project you are reading about. The photos are clear, instructive and well styled – a hard triptych to find!

The books are the perfect blend of super nerd (and I say that with high regard) with a great and somehow not boring at all comprehensive history of beekeeping and dairy farming, and extremely practical salt of the earth type advice and instruction. If you just want to read about these topics you’ll be happy. And likewise if you are wanting to buy the book (here) and then immediately begin building hives or making your own yogurt that day, well you will be happy as well!  Each book in the series also has a bunch of recipes that are drool worthy in the back. Lovely. Another feature that I love is that each book has profiles of beekeepers or dairy makers scattered throughout, and their stories and advice are well worth reading. It’s hard for me to keep this review concise because I feel like these books are so dense and thoughtful that ultimately I would like to point out all the little details. But I’ll let you explore!

The series is published by Sterling Publishing and Lark Press, are hard cover and are extremely reasonable priced. They will be well used, I assure you.