Wild Gourd Farm

Organic Gardening in St. Louis City

Winter Reading: Possum Living

This winter- thanks to our unemployment- we’ve had the time to tackle projects we’d been putting off and plan new projects for the spring. We’re also reading and researching as much as we can to prepare us for the future.

Becca's favorite book so far

Possum Living was published in 1978 by eighteen-year-old Dolly Freed. She had dropped out of school in 7th grade and detailed the life she and her unemployed father lived outside of the “money economy.” They already owned a house and land outside of Philadelphia, and spent money only on essentials and taxes. Without jobs, they happily spent their days gardening, fishing, raising chickens and rabbits, bird watching, running, cooking and preserving, and doing other jobs around the homestead (including making wine and distilling their own whiskey). In the book Dolly provides helpful step-by-step instructions and recipes that are still relevant to homesteaders and survivalists today.

The new edition of the book includes an afterward from Dolly over 30 years later.  She joined the “money economy”– to become an aerospace engineer at NASA. No kidding! Soon after the original book was published, she earned her GED, studied for and aced the SATs, put herself through college, and ultimately was awarded her dream job at NASA. (It turned out not to be her dream job, and she now works as an environmental educator at a nature center.) Though her true homesteading lifestyle lasted only about 5 years, she still incorporates a lot of it into her life.

For more info, check out PossumLiving.net or this thorough review. There’s also a delightful 3-part documentary made after the book’s publication, which can be found on YouTube here.


2 responses to “Winter Reading: Possum Living

  1. joanna January 19, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Have you read anything by blogger Annie Brewer? When she’s not ranting about online piracy or the government she has a lot of great stories to tell about how she’s lived contently below the poverty line for years. I can’t wait to try her dishsoap recipe. http://annienygma.com/

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