We have bought ebooks. We bought all of the past issues of Mother Earth News on CD and downloaded them on our computers - a great wealth of information. Even if we had a solar panel system that would keep our computers running, it would be a waste of energy to do so. Printed material is a necessity for information preservation.
This is a wall in our living room. It is my favorite wall. Frank built this bookshelf just for me and I love it. After we put most of our books on it there was a lot of extra space. I told him, "You know what that means? We need more books!" Then after a while, we had to have the floor reinforced - a worthwhile investment.
A friend of mine - I have mentioned her several times - I told her the next time I mentioned her I was going to give her a pseudonym
- Grace - for by the grace of God we met and have become friends. So back to books. Grace has laughed and told me I am her only friend that has a 'bug book'. We have talked many times about needing to know how to do things for ourselves in the case of a collapse or downturn in the quality of life in our country. When she has asked me about a variety of topics, my answer is often, get a book about it. I have been trying to stock my library with many useful reference books over the past few years.
Patrice Lewis at Rural Revolution recently reminded us that having our important information on an electronic device may not always be a dependable medium. She has printed out and organized her important information so it will not be lost if she can no longer access it on her computer or online. It is a great idea.
I would like to share a few of the many books I use regularly. I will also share a few new ones that I have not had the chance to read yet. Here are a few of my favorites by category.
The Vegetable Gardener's Bible - great general information
The Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening - We have a very old version that is literally falling apart at the seams. Tons of great, fairly detailed information.
Rodale's Vegetable Garden Problem Solver - Good book. All kinds of plant and pest information.
Carrots Love Tomatoes has taught me a great deal about companion planting. I have changed my garden planting patterns with the help of this book.
The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control - My favorite bug book. The one Grace was talking about.
The Seed-Starter's Handbook is not only good at helping me get my seeds started, I use it for information on how to save seeds as well. It is an old book (1978), but one of my favorites.
The Gardener's A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Food is one of the new books I just got from Backwoods Home and I haven't had a chance to look through it yet.
I have several new and old reference books I use as well. I have begun keeping my annual garden 'map' of where I plant things in a binder to make sure I rotate crops and don't plant a new crop where it will not thrive because of the last occupant.
Stocking Up - the old and new version. This is a great book. It covers canning, freezing, drying and storing.
Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is a book I use every time I can something.
I have half a dozen other canning books including Jackie Clay's book Growing and Canning Your Own Food. It is a great book and full of a lot of information besides canning and preserving.
Another book I have had for a while and just started using with my dehydrator is Making and Using Dried Foods. After I bought the dehydrator, I was surprised that it didn't come with more instructions. Then I got to thinking...... don't I have a book about that? Sure enough, I did.
Enola Gay's new book The Prepared Family Cookbook is another one of my new books I have not had the chance to read through yet.
I have several books, but the only one I have ever used is Mary Jane Toth's Goats Produce Too! The Udder Real Thing.
Our book collection about herbs for cooking and medicinal purposes started many years ago. This is a mixture of old and new that I use most often now. The Herbal Antibiotics book is another new one from Backwoods Home that I have not had a chance to read yet.
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants and The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Healing Remedies both have a great deal of information about how to use plants medicinally, but little to none about how to grow and harvest them.
One of my older books Growing and Using Healing Herbs has great information about planting, harvesting, preserving and using herbs.
But the best one I found for information about growing and harvesting herbs is Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs.
When I was researching sources of perennial vegetables that I could get established here I ran across Perennial Vegetables, which has proven to be a good resource.
When we got our first Great Pyrenees to guard our goats, we wanted to make sure it was a successful venture. We had read enough to know that training a livestock guardian is not like training the Labrador Retrievers we used to raise. We found that Livestock Protection Dogs gave us very valuable information. Otherwise we probably wouldn't have kept Pearl. She has turned out to be an excellent dog.
I have a good selection of books about goats - my goat book collection. If something comes up, like an abscess, I look in all of my books and compare the information I find. I feel much better informed this way because not all authors have the same opinions or give the same advice for a particular situation.
All About Goats has some good basic information.
Storey's Guide to Raising Dairy Goats is a good beginners book with fairly thorough information.
Raising Milk Goats Successfully and How To Raise Dairy Goats are very similar and have good basic information.
Natural Goat Care is by far my favorite book. It raised my learning curve on the natural needs and health of goats. I would highly recommend it.
We have other reference books for animals which include The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable and The First Aid Companion for Dogs and Cats.
We have a variety of books that we have not and may not ever use. They are for references when and if the need ever arises for the topics they cover, such as, establishing a black smith shop, how to train oxen, small scale grain raising, cooking on a wood stove, building small tools or equipment, and more.
Grace and I have been doing some bartering for eggs. One of the things she brought was this Chicken Health Handbook which is another good reference book. Books that will add to your peace of mind are also an important part of a good library. The Simplicity Primer from Patrice Lewis is one of many. We read the Little House on the Prairie series last summer. They are a great resource of information for living without electricity and growing or raising what you eat, or how to do without.
So, to go back to the title - I truly do believe you can never have too many books. Printed information may one day be in very short supply. Electronic media may one day be a thing of the past. As memories age, they don't keep details stored as well either. I have felt a strong need to include a plethora of books as a very important part of my 'preps'.
We have even stored more than one copy of some books to share with others if the opportunity arises. Books such as James Wesley Rawles How To Survive The End Of The World As We Know It and The Ball Book of Complete Home Preserving. James Wesley Rawles' book is what got Frank started in radio. It was the first place he read about MURS radio frequencies. You never know when that little bit of information can revolutionize a person's perspective and greatly increase their ability to be self-sufficient and provide for their families.
I will continue to encourage to you learn something new each and every day. It will bless you and yours in untold ways for years to come.
Until next time - Fern