Erica Strauss is a self-proclaimed “edible plants hoarder.” The Northwest Edible Life blogger (nwedible.com) grows more than 100 fruits and vegetables; raises chickens and ducks; and makes beer, jam, and more in her Edmonds home.
Strauss is also a leading voice among urban homesteaders who eschew the “just buy it” philosophy in favor of DIY. That means she makes her own deodorant and laundry detergent. Toilet paper? Not there yet.
Strauss chronicles her homemade life in The Hands-On Home: A Seasonal Guide to Cooking, Preserving & Natural Homekeeping (Sasquatch Books; $35). The beginner-friendly book features 77 food recipes (think green herb lamb chops with preserved lemon oil) and 38 home and body-care recipes. If making your own grout cleaner sounds daunting, Strauss suggests easier projects, like body scrub (“literally sugar and oil and fragrance”) and salad dressing. Or, accept this challenge: Unplug your dryer. After your heater, fridge and freezer, it is the biggest energy-hogging appliance in your house. Who knew?