Carla Emery, the author of the bestselling Encyclopedia of Country Living, died on October 11, 2005, at the age of 66. She was on a speaking tour to promote her book and share her knowledge of homesteading and organic farming.
A Passion for Self-Sufficiency and Environmental Stewardship
Carla Emery was born on January 19, 1939, in Los Angeles, California. She grew up on a sheep ranch in Montana, where she developed a love for nature and animals. She studied at Columbia University, but later moved to a farm in northern Idaho with her husband Mike Emery and their seven children.
She started writing the Encyclopedia of Country Living in 1970, as a comprehensive guide to family food production and rural skills. She self-published the first edition on a mimeograph machine in her living room, and sold it by mail order to subscribers of Organic Gardening magazine. She updated and expanded the book over the years, adding new chapters and topics based on her own experience and research.
The Encyclopedia of Country Living became a classic of the back-to-the-land movement, and sold over 750,000 copies. It covers everything from gardening and animal husbandry, to cooking and preserving, to crafts and home remedies. It also reflects Carla’s philosophy of living in harmony with the earth, and respecting the wisdom of the older generations.
A Celebrity and an Inspiration
Carla Emery was not only a writer, but also a teacher and a speaker. She founded the School of Country Living in Idaho, where she taught homesteading courses and workshops. She also traveled across the country, giving lectures and demonstrations at fairs, festivals, and conferences. She appeared on several television shows, such as The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, and Donahue, where she even milked a goat on air.
She was admired and loved by many fans and followers, who saw her as a role model and a mentor. She was also criticized and challenged by some authorities and opponents, who questioned her methods and motives. She faced several hardships and obstacles in her life, such as floods, fires, divorces, lawsuits, and arrests. But she always persevered and continued her mission.
She married Donald DeLong, a constitutionalist legal scholar, in 2000, and moved to Arizona. She remained active and involved in the homesteading community until her death.
A Cultural Icon and a Legend
Carla Emery was a cultural icon and a legend in the homesteading world. She was a pioneer and a visionary, who anticipated the trends of organic food, sustainable living, and local economy. She was a prolific and influential author, who wrote not only the Encyclopedia of Country Living, but also several novels, memoirs, and poems. She was a charismatic and engaging personality, who touched the lives of many people with her humor, warmth, and generosity.
She left behind a legacy of knowledge, inspiration, and empowerment. Her book is still widely read and used by homesteaders, gardeners, preppers, and anyone who wants to live more independently and responsibly. Her spirit lives on in the countless people who follow her example and share her passion.