A Householder’s Guide to the Universe-Book Review

A Householders Guide to the Universe: A Calendar of Basics for the Home and Beyond

A Householders Guide to the Universe: A Calendar of Basics for the Home and Beyond

Harriet Fasenfest offers a page-turning seasonal monthly breakdown in her book “A Householder’s Guide to the Universe: A Calendar of Basics for the Home and Beyond.”

With apologies to Douglas Adams and his “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything many modern galactic households are looking for is not 42. Instead, Fasenfest’s “Householder’s Guide” explores and promotes householding as “… the revival of a personal system of resource management, founded on principles of equity, thrift, and stewardship.”

Does that answer resonate with you?

The author’s rising consciousness about global development opened a “new lens” to view how she was living and how she wanted to live in the world. Her “Newton moment” was watching an old Bartlett pear tree drop fruit into her backyard. Fasenfest wondered, “How had I come to take them for granted and leave them to rot? What had turned them into valueless objects?”

Looking at her life through that “new lens,” this self-described “writer, cook, gardener, food preserver and backyard economist” saw a better approach. She became the change she wanted to see, rooted in valuing the growing home-based economy and “reclaiming (once common) skills.”

“A Householder’s Guide to the Universe” invites readers to share the journey. With wit, warmth and down to earth wisdom, the calendar book highlights each season and month’s to-dos and to-think-abouts for The Home, The Garden and The Kitchen.

Part philosophy book, part adventure tale, “Householder’s Guide” covers the basics of householding and also includes terrific resources like planting lists, recipes, information about preserving food, and how to make the tastiest jam in the world – the kind you pick, cook and can at home.

Dedicated to the memory of her paternal grandmother – “Oh, what you could have taught me!” Fasenfest writes – “Householder’s Guide” is heavy on hope and good humor, sustaining and nurturing along the never-easy paths we may walk. Fasenfest shares her family’s personal growth through everyday human “breakage and redemption” with inspiring, heartfelt (and often hilarious) details on every page.

This is a very real human story that clarifies “the odd history we have all inherited and the way the greed of the market has defined prosperity, success, and ‘the good life.’”

What kind of life sounds good to you? What does “home” really mean? In “The Householder’s Guide to the Universe,” “… home is not the place where lazy minds go to die, but rather where the active mind, heart and soul can find their resurrection. That we can practice much of householding in our bathrobes is an added plus.”

Are you interested in honing your householding skills? Fasenfest invites you to turn frustration into action and problems into solutions. Just DON’T PANIC*.

* “The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” features DON’T PANIC on its cover in “large, friendly letters.” Writer and futurist Sir Arthur C. Clarke said Douglas Adams’ use of “Don’t panic” was perhaps the best advice that could be given to humanity.

Lynn Torrance Redlin

With family roots in the fertile Red River Valley of North Dakota, Lynn Torrance Redlin has been part of the Cooking Up a Story team for a number of years. An avid gardener and home cook, Redlin is also a voracious reader, and enjoys exploring new information and ideas about our food system.

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