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The Tree House Diaries: How to live wild in the woods Hardcover – 24 May 2010
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About the Author
Self-styled survival expert Nick appeared in Channel4's Shipwrecked - a loosely survival-based programme based in the Cook Islands. Come November he will be banished to a remote cottage (with electricity) to complete the writing up of his treehouse diaries before embarking on his next project - Visit Nick's blog on huntergathercook.typepad.com
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Top customer reviews
Though food is a big part of Mr Weston's life, I can't say I exactly enjoyed some of the culinary adventures he got up to. Though elderflower champagne and nettle beer sound like something I might happily try if someone I trusted to make it right offered it to me, the thought of badger burgers made from tick infested roadkill turned my stomach.
But full praise to Mr Weston for realising that this sort of thing does not require the complete removal of all his home comforts. There's no holier than thou attitude in his writing, and that makes him a lot more approachable than most writers of this type. He's a man surrounded by friends enjoying an adventure more typically reserved for a hermit, and for that you have to admire him. I can't see that this book would hold everyone's interest, but it's a good read if this is the type of pursuit you daydream about when taking the crowded commute into work.
Try one of these Hedgerow (River Cottage Handbook) Edible Seashore: River Cottage Handbook No.5 Mushrooms: River Cottage Handbook No.1
The descriptions, photographs and instructions on building a treehouse and furnishing it are detailed enough for anyone wishing to emulate him to be able to give it a go.
Nick was able to make 'Bertha' his very serviceable indoor stove from an oildrum. Forget expensive chimneas, Bertha would grace any patio and bake you a loaf in 40 minutes too.
Nick comes across as an engaging and resourceful chap but refreshingly candid too - before he got properly established up in his house, he did rely on the support of family and friends. He also had a publishing contract for the book before the whole adventure started, which must have provided some impetus.
Much of the information presented in books like "Food for Free" is re-presented here but with illuminating additions - how to skin, gut and joint a rabbit correctly, for example.
A super addition to the green lifestyles / recycling canon - and one that is a very enjoyable read.
This book is an account in diary format of how he spent six months hunting, fishing and foraging, containing pictures, both colour and strangely brown and white, of which the majority of the book was printed. He shares his methods for not only building the tree house and other essentials like the toilet and oven, but also how he cooked some amazingly delicious looking meals (some that made me squirm with disgust) and beverages from the most natural sources. From basic bread, rabbit stew and roast pigeon to nettle pesto, wine and sloe gin.
It was a fun book, and although I wouldn't try replicating his experience, this would be a great guide for anyone lucky (or perhaps silly) enough to follow in his footsteps. For Nick Weston, this experience has proved to be a liberating period in his life, and even if there were tough times where things didn't always go as planned the highs definitely outweighed the lows and by the end he seemed genuinely sad to leave. If you are going to live out a childhood dream of roughing it on your own, you may as well do it with Nick Weston's help. After all, he's done all the hard work for you.
It's amazing what you can do in Sussex with a stack of wooden planks and some family friends with a large amount of surplus land.
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