We're still on the hunt for that forever property, so I'm focusing on preparing for the day we find it. One of those things is building up the ol' library. Sure, there's the internet, but storms and outages aren't uncommon in our region and we could be cut off up to 18 months if the Cascadia fault slips, so I would like a decent library.
So far, I still have from our last stint of being landowners:
- Carla Emery's Country Encyclopedia
- A growing guide specific to my region
- The Permaculture Handbook
- Where There Is No Doctor
- Where There Is No Dentist
What I would like:
- A good book for small animals in the vein of the Where There is No Doctor books, aimed at goats, chickens, and pets like dogs and cats.
- A good general DIY repair/maintenance guide, like the old Reader's Digest books used to provide.
- Any other books that Permies feel should be on their bookshelf!
Seems more survivalist, if talking the "cascadia fault" ... every region has such a beast, in one form or another. If this is your inner survivalist speaking to you, and I'm all about being prepared, get both a kindle and a hard copy of any books ...
Everything in my library is on my kindle, and in most cases, a pdf exists where I'm still hunting down a hard copy of the book ...
On the books, don't forget the foxfire series ... it's like being able to talk with your great-grandparents ... only now, we need and want their knowledge (vs homemade cookies and such, as kids)!
In thinking over the books I reach for most, they are usually books related to herbal medicine, natural livestock care, or food production and preservation.
Some of my favorites:
- The Herbal Medicine-Maker's Handbook by James Green
- The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penolope Ody
- The New Encyclopedia of Herbs & Their Uses by The Herb Society of America
- Native American Medicinal Plants by Daniel E. Moerman
- Native American Food Plants by Daniel E. Moerman
- Natural Goat Care by Pat Coleby
- Goat Husbandry by David Mackenzie
- Alternative Treatments for Ruminant Animals by Paul Dettloff D.V.M.
- The Art of Natural Cheesemaking by David Asher
- Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn
- Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning by The Gardeners & Farmers of Terre Vivante
- Ball Blue Book - A Soil Owner's Manual by Jon Stika
- Landerace Gardening by Joseph Lofthouse - Permaculture Design Handbook by Bill Mollison
I also have to mention that I keep a hard copy homestead library. I've had too many computers and devices die, to trust being able to have ongoing access to resources on them. Ditto, if the electricity goes down for any length of time. eBooks are a good way to check things out, but if it's a keeper, then I make sure I get a physical copy.
The above comment about "devices dying, electricity going out" ...
... is a good segue into what can be easily done about these issues. Note that it *is a good thing* to both have a physical copy and electronic copy (ebook, pdf, etc.) of something that is worthy of sticking in your library. In my case, the kindle just makes it so easy to pull out and have the reference at my fingertips, while in the field (this is daylight readable, like a book).
To *avoid* the issues of devices dying, and electricity going out, is very easy. As suggested in plenty of other threads, have multiple layers of security (devices), and multiple backups, and even backups of backups. It isn't really all that technical ... although it may sound like it.
If you have a kindle, there is no "electricity is down, can't power up my computer, therefore can't read a book", as the kindle is a standalone device. The daylight readable aspect makes this the perfect vehicle for reading a book, at any time, at any place. If I drop my paper book in the toilet, while reading it (not that that ever happens to me), it's toast. If I drop my kindle in there, it's also toast, but not a total loss, because it is super easy to have my *entire* kindle library on my pc. With a new kindle, or a dried out one, I just reload the entire library.
Same thing on a phone ... get one with an SD card slot, and keep a copy of the entire library on there. Plug it in, and instant library at your (phone) fingertips. If the computer dies (not that that ever happens to me), just reload my valuable library from the SD card (or computer backup ... right?)
But wait, who wants to fiddle with all those file extensions and acronyms, like .pdf, .epub, .whatever ... not me! Which is why I always recommend open source and free software for everything (very doable), and in this specific case ... CALIBRE! (yes, I was shouting ... it's that good of a *free* product). This software package will let you stick in any electronic copy of a book that you might have, buy, or otherwise come across (and there are more free books out there than I can shake a ... stick ... at). Then, the magic occurs ... it lets you push a button and transform that book into any other format, for any other device. No longer are you held captive to some device or format. No extension madness ...
Again, have your cake, and eat it too! Always get the paper version of a book (if you can, as some are out of print or wayyy expensive), and an electronic version! Oh, and get a kindle or similar to read it anywhere, anytime.
Just not on the toilet ... not that I've ever done that.