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physical books?

 
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Hello all, I have been lurking these forums for a while and learned a few things, mostly learned that I have so much more to learn.

I recently purchased 80 acres undeveloped land and hope to start an off grid homestead there.

While the internet is full of information, I am concerned about future access to the internet and would like to build a library of physical books that cover everything a person needs to know to build and maintain
a self sufficient homestead.

By "self sufficient" I mean be able to raise and breed animals as well as gardening/farming where I breed the plants on my own with the idea that in worst case scenarios I do not need access to retail stores for seeds, fertilizers, baby animals, etc.

This is probably a very difficult goal to achieve, but I believe a worthy goal to strive for.

My question to the experienced and knowledgeable permies here is what books would you recommend I stock my library with?

Thank you so much in advance for any suggestions.

Brian.

** EDIT:  If it matters, the location of my homestead is in Eureka County Nevada, flat land, I desire to grow year round in green houses, as many as needed.
 
pollinator
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Hey Brian, welcome to permies :)

Physical books have the disadvantage of no longer being published or very few copies are available. They can sometimes be very expensive for this reason - here's an example.

If the only option is physical books, and you want the most detailed information possible, my recommendations would be: Permaculture: A Designer's Manual(PDM) and Edible Forest Gardens(EFG) Volume 1 and 2. The PDM is the best overall for permaculture strategies that can be implemented anywhere, while EFG is filled with similar strategies, but is also a psuedo-encyclopedia specific to North America and has detailed information such as which plants accumulate which resources, how to handle winter/dry climates, etc. I can't think of a reference off-hand, but having a homestead-skills book would probably fill in some missing gaps.

Gaia's garden and many other popular permaculture/gardening books are more theory-oriented or echo parts of the PDM. I also feel they aren't equipped with enough knowledge to turn 80 acres into a thriving homestead, but my standards are different from the norm.

---

As for raising animals, there isn't a book I've read that has the same quality as the PDM/EFG (though I haven't looked hard), so you might have to look around and buy a few different ones to get a good overall view of the subject. There are plenty of resources out there for free aimed at ranchers on government/state sites though.

Greenhouses would probably be something along the lines of Eliot Coleman, but Citrus in the Snow is a much better example of greenhouse usage in my opinion. Last I recall it's only $2-5 or something for 80 pages.

---

Much like yourself, I'm also quite concerned about access to meaningful information in the future. While I could go into the reasoning and causes, that'd probably be an off-topic, so I'll leave it at all.

With that in mind, in the last year I've really started to ramp up the time I spend building my own digital library. For online webpages, the keyboard shortcut crtl + s saves a webpage in HTML format. Sometimes the saved information doesn't look as pretty as the original, but it's still there on your hard drive. You can also use tools like youtube-dl to save important videos you've watched. There are Windows versions available half way down the page.
 
master pollinator
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I love books, but my library is increasingly thinned to volumes I cannot find anywhere else. And while I share some concerns about the transient nature of the Internet ("we can forget it for you wholesale") it is also a tremendous resource.

Do you forsee having the ability to view offline data in your situation? It may be worthwhile to consider archiving information from the Internet for future use.
 
master steward
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Brian, we have some great resources for finding books that you might like.

First, we have some forum members who are authors and some have written books you might like:

https://permies.com/wiki/147992/Acres-Dream-Sequel-Leigh-Tate

And this book is in the process of being published and Kate is having a Kickstarter:

https://permies.com/t/151017/kitchen/Kate-choose-cover-cookbook

Our Book Review Grid will have several recommendations:

https://permies.com/w/book-reviews

And then we have our Books Forum where you can search for books you might like:

https://permies.com/f/83/books

And also check out our past book promotions:

https://permies.com/wiki/55766/Permies-Book-Dvd-Promotion-complete

Over years I have read so many great homestead books that it is hard to recommend just one.
 
Brian Peters
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Thank you for the great responses, I was so focused on physical books that I did not consider archiving information from the web.

My homestead will have solar power and I have many computers and a beast of a file server, I was also thinking DVD format might be a good idea.

Regarding the high prices of books, I have seen that already and don't mind paying for valuable information... if I know it is valuable information


EDIT** Anne, thank you for that book review link, I thought there might be something like that here but did not see it, thank you!!!
 
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The book that first woke me up to the whole idea of self sufficiency was The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency by John Seymour.  He also wrote a more focused volume on the Self Sufficient Gardener, which I gave away (or rather lent without any real expectation of getting it back, to a homeless project).  It maybe that when I leaf through this book the thrill of inspiration I get is largely nostalgic though!

Another book I would like to recommend is A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander et al.  It's not about permaculture as such, being primarily about architcture and town planning, but it does have some beautiful insights into designing living spaces at many scales that allow human beings to thrive.  
 
gardener
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Anything involving your interests that's published by (in no particular order): Rodale, Storey, New Society and Skyhorse.

Used bookstores are great for finding out of print books. Less pricey that the same on Amazon.
 
gardener
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I would highly recommend Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond by Brad Lancaster. These books are incredibly helpful for understanding how to work with water and your land in ways that grow abundance for you and your watershed.
A solid field guide to plants, preferably specific to your bioregion, would probably be good to have. One with a key system of some sort is ideal. A plant field guide is one my most often used books.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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FWIW, I came across a Flea Market thread with books for sale:

https://permies.com/t/154102/flea-market/ungarbage/Books-sale
 
pollinator
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I'll second Permaculture; A Designers Manual. It is a great text on the basics of land stewardship planning and the tools and techniques needed to find your best plan. It also has some great detailed info about specific techniques
 
pollinator
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Maybe no one reads them anymore but I and a lot of other people started out reading the Foxfire books.  For folks just starting out they’re an interesting resource,
 
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Finding books cheaply you want to keep? There’s a method or two. Look them up on

bookfinder.com.

Be SURE you select the option which shows the price including shipping, that’s in the preferences.

Be willing to get an ex-library book or one that’s less than perfect. Look at the dates, if it has been reprinted, the earlier editions maybe much more expensive or much cheaper. Only you know if you need the most up to date info or not.

Buying books from charities is sometimes a lot cheaper.

If you want more, let me know

Here’s a link to Mollisons intro. To permaculture.

This https://www.bookfinder.com/search/?author=Mollison%2C+Bill&title=Introduction+to+Permaculture&lang=any&st=xl&ac=qr

 
pollinator
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If we get to the point to lose the internet, then we are a few years at most to lose computers too. So having a few good manuals written in paper is still a great idea.

I wish there were some public guides, following the same philosophy than the Wikipedia (public license, community driven, fool proof, accurate). The only good public guides I know are from the FAO.

Maybe we could start writing some community guides free for printing, permie style. The problem with that is what to include and what not. For example, if I were to make a guide on cooking, should I include bakering, should I include things that require electric tools, should I discuss ferments (or better leave it for a food preserving guide), if I talk about cooking on open fires should I discuss how to rise and maintain the fire, if I talk about frying should I discuss every type of pan and fat temperatures, etc? More information might be useful, yes, but too much information can be clutter and it results in a harder to handle bigger book. Being written by a community means that everyone wants to add his grain of sand, so it risks being too much information. A useful guide should have just the bare minimum content to success at the tasks. With a good cooking guide any unskilled person should be able to prepare an edible omelette even if it is not fancy.

With the added difficulty that English is not my first language, so I might struggle with such specific vocabulary.
 
Jennie Little
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There was a website, whose name I've forgotten, unfortunately, that had posts about old tech from people who knew how to do old tech. Like backing up data in a PDP-11 computer, or punching punch cards, or...

That would have been a perfect site for what you're talking about. But, as I said, I've lost track of the site's name.

Anyone remember this?
 
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every good homestead has a place for the elders who have the knowledge from years of experience and pass down generations of understanding.
 
pollinator
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Books are the way to go.

How to Grow More Vegetables... by John Jeavons. It's not rocket science but I haven't found a better way than the biointensive method to make new garden beds.
The Sunset Guide to Edible Plants (this might not be the exact name) is a great resource too.

Almost forgot: I got both of these together, used for less than $15 shipped. Small price to pay to have to keep from lugging my desktop into the bathroom, hahaha.
 
gardener
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I love physical books. I have however purchased one Kindle for nothing but putting my homestead library on. I can carry it outside in a cargo pocket as a reference guide and with a journal app I can take notes and pictures. A bit bigger than a phone but it allows me to share my books with other family members.
 
Jennie Little
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Because of several things, I expect to move my library to electronics at some point. 1) My eyes will get so bad i won't be able to read them otherwise. 2) I will only have so much room in the nursing home/bedroom I'm given. 3)I will need the money that selling them brings, although many aren't worth much o' nothin'.

Good news: books have been making a comeback. My personal take on why is because people are stuck at home and work from their computer. It's a relief to look at something else for a while and somewhere the pictures are driven by the reader's imagination, not someone else. It's different than online, which is now work, life, and play.
 
pollinator
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From more of a prepper standpoint you may wish to load up a phone or tablet with ebooks, then just store it in one or two faraday bags or a faraday cage to defend against EMP threats destroying the electronics i.e. a nuke detonated in the sky will take out electronics, internet infrastructure in a wide area. This way if you even need to leave your homestead in a hurry you can take your library with you. It is also cheaper.
 
pioneer
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Start with the hydrology. You might just find that retaining and building key areas of soil biology, you might just find that didn't quite need as many greenhouses as you originally thought. Keep the water on the land. Plant like crazy. propagate what thrives.
 
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Edible Forest Gardens

https://www.amazon.com/Edible-Forest-Gardens-2-set/dp/1890132608
 
pollinator
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 My fist book on homesteading was by readers digest, Back to basics. I cover most aspects of building and growing everything on a homestead. Building log homes and cisterns, power from wind or creeks, growing produce and raising/skinning animals.
 I got it in the early 80s and still refer to it occasionally.  I have a very extensive library now and many years of practice but thats the book that I would carry into the forest and start a homestead with.
 
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Hi,

I purchase old books from a library. I also buy new books from the bookshop. The bookstore will order the book for me and I pick it up from them. I don't mind paying a couple of dollars more to support local. Having people in my life I can physically speak with sometimes helps as they have more information than I can get on my own from the net. Finally if a book is only available in electronic form I buy it and print it out on my printer. Sometimes I scan a book and print it out in larger font.

Happy browsing.
 
pollinator
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Although old books are hard to come by you can still check second hand stores and Salvation Armory and Deseret Industries, and other second hand stores and donation places because old people die every day and their kids and grand kids do not want anything to do with old books, or any books for that matter.  I have even found good, old books at The Restore Store (Habitat For Humanity) for prices under $10.00.  

I like this idea.  I think you can find a wide variety of old, and new, garden and self sufficient books for very reasonable prices.  Actually, whether the book is 100 years old or 10 years old you can find good information in the used books.

I think it is great that you have this land and this opportunity.  Do you have water rights?  Do you have a well?  And, having lived in Nevada, and now in Utah, I would look into creating as much shade as possible, any where possible, on your property.  If you are considering solar, make the solar panels about 8" tall so you can have shade under them.  I am familiar with the area where you bought property, and odds are there are no trees and no shade and limited sources of water.  If you can make your own shade and if you have a source for water you can make a good go of this.  But, also know that your winters are rather chilly so you may need to plan on some green houses and some sheds/barns for the animals, and some good insulation for your home to keep out the cold and the high summer heat.
 
Michael Fundaro
pollinator
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I posted a bit of information on another forum about another not far from you.  Maybe this will be some helpful intormation fo ryou.
https://www.homesteadingforum.org/threads/question-nevada-how-to-make-money.12199/#post-333918

I would like to know what you decide and what you do as it will help me in my area of Utah.  I wish you the best.  
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Ralph Sluder wrote:  My fist book on homesteading was by readers digest, Back to basics. I cover most aspects of building and growing everything on a homestead. Building log homes and cisterns, power from wind or creeks, growing produce and raising/skinning animals.
 I got it in the early 80s and still refer to it occasionally.  I have a very extensive library now and many years of practice but thats the book that I would carry into the forest and start a homestead with.


Interesting! Can you post a photo of the copyright page, ISBN number if any, etc?
 
Ralph Sluder
pollinator
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Interesting! Can you post a photo of the copyright page, ISBN number if any, etc?

 ISBN: 0895770865
ISBN-13: 9780895770868
Pages: 456
Publisher: Reader's Digest Association
Published: 1981
Language: English
Alibris ID: 16535308962
 
pollinator
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I also recommend the Foxfire Books especially 1-3 as this was my first read which I discovered in our high school library while I was supposed to be writing a paper on The Cask of Amontillado.  The librarian was enthusiastically telling students about it and of course I had to check it out which led to many discussions with my grandmother about the "old ways" of doing things.  

I also recommend Carla Emery's Encyclopedia of Country Living though I was disappointed with it after my first read.  I acquired it from an inter library loan as I wanted to see if I liked it before spending $20 on it.  I was a bit turned off a bit by all the personal stuff that was interjected but I eventually bought a copy for myself and it's chock-full of info on farming, gardening and homesteading.  
 
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