The Road Home

The Road Home
There is no place like home.

Friday, September 20, 2013

You Can NEVER Have Too Many Books

It's true. You can never, never have too many books. I know, I know. What about your Kindle, or Nook, or iPhone, or laptop, or computer, or....or....or.....What about when the power goes down - and stays down. What if.....

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.

Food Preservation

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. 

Cheese Making

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.

Resource Books

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


  1. Hey Fern! We are the same way about books, and your living room looks like our study. I have spent a lot of my life in libraries, largely due to my father’s influence, and I have a deep love for printed material books. We have quite of few of the same books that you do (Carrots Love Tomatoes is great!), and I wanted to suggest a couple you might want to consider. So Easy to Preserve is a canning book published by the University of Georgia that is absolutely fantastic. Eliot Coleman’s books, The Small Scale Poultry Flock by Ussery, Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery, The New Complete Great Pyrenees, Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth (my go to book for vegetable seed saving), Root Cellaring by Mika and Nancy Bubel, The Holistic Orchard by Michael Phillips (this book is excellent!), and A Rich Spot of Earth by Peter Hatch are some of my top favorites. For anyone in the Appalachians, Medicinal Plants of the Southern Appalachians is great. I have not read yet Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies, Herbal Remedies from the Wild, and Medicinal Herbs: A Complete Guide for the North American Herb Gardeners.

    1. Hi Stephany,

      We have several of the books you mentioned including Root Cellaring and Encyclopedia of Country Living. There are so many others that there is just not room to mention.

      Thank you for sharing your list and love of books. Happy reading!


  2. "It's true. You can never, never have too many books."

    My sentiments exactly. I have a Kindle, but prefer a book I can hold in my hands. I like to flag pages, flip to whatever page I want without wasting time scrolling, and I just like the look of rows and rows of books I can pick up at any time I want to reference something or read it. I find the physical presence of books comforting.

    1. Hi Glenda,

      I would much rather read a book than on my computer even though I use it a great deal.

      Thanks for sharing,


  3. Hello Fern. I just wanted to tell you what a great comfort you are.
    I always know that I can come to your blog and learn something. This time I've learned that someone just might,(probably not - but just might) have more books than me.
    You encourage me daily.
    Thank you, Cheryl

    1. Cheryl,

      I am happy to know there are other folks out there that have a good book collection. If you are like me you will keep collecting!

      Thank you for the kind words of encouragement.

      Blessings to you,


  4. I couldn't agree more about books. And I love the feel of a book in my hands. My eyes tire of looking at a screen. I read on another blog, recently, that without the battery or electricity to operate it, all those fancy electronic gizmos are little more than overprices pieces of plastic!

    I love your bookshelf and what's on it. I have an amazing number of the same books on our bookshelves!

    1. Hi Leigh,

      I know you have a good collection of books from the research you have shared with us on your blog. Frank calls old, dead computers good boat anchors. I'm afraid they all may be just that one day.

      You and I have many things in common and it is refreshing to learn from each other.

      Take care,