Thursday, June 7, 2012

Home Front: Book Learning - homesteading

Taking a step back from all the boo-yah, of military style packs, pouches and things that go "stab" in the night, I thought it would be useful to do a quick review of some of the literature that I've read and plan to or have been utilising, both in preparedness, and also in recovery from a potential society-changing disaster. Not only that though, these are things that can improve your day-to-day life, if you're into that kind of thing. I have some other friends of similar ilk, Mr Not an Urban Hippie for one, who like to get into this kind of thing: growing, preparing and preserving ones own food, for fun, economy and satisfaction. The fact that he and I share common interests such as adventuring, Japanese martial arts, and raising families is encouraging, if for no other reason, that I know I'm not the only one.

I digress. The kinds of knowledge and skills that are called for to do this kind of thing, seem to be the kinds of things that many of us urbanites either ignore, have never considered, or assume that "someone else will do that for me". Take a visceral example: Meat. Where does meat come from? The story goes that a school kid asked that question innocently answers "the supermarket", and when pressed as to -where- the meat, the actual flesh comes from, answers, "umm, a cow? on a farm?" The same could be said for "bread" or "your shoes".

Well, I like to know how to do this kind of thing myself. Because it's fun to know how, to make things, and it might just be hands some day. I've previously talked about preserving (canning, mostly) and growing our own food items as well as training and practicing "survivalism" and "useful skills" which leads me to the main focus of this post: Where do you go to learn "homesteading"? I myself have turned to books! Four of the book I have used to teach myself how to do some things are pictured here; Guide, Canning, Freezing, Curing & Smoking for meat keeping, Tan Your Hide! for turning skins into leather, The Urban Homestead for its down-home DIY ideas and Toolbox for Sustainable City Living for more of the same.

Perhaps these are "too simple", "too hippy" or "too out there" for your needs, but I want to have an understanding of not only what I don't know, what I do know, but also to have tools at hand to educate those around me. Electricity is a tenuous resource, those of you who have visited third world nations can attest to that. Books, whilst delicate in their own way, are power-independent. I'll be sad, come the EMP, the power station/lines being out or apocalypse, if you are unable to read my blog, and that I won't be able to continue my postings, but having a stash of books with valuable knowledge at hand will be a comfort. Sitting back at home whilst everything is fine, reading up on "how things are made" or planning out my next urban homestead improvement, making delicious and lasting foods.

So, for those of you who didn't grow up on farms, or had parents, or grandparents who taught you all "the old tricks" but still want to be able to do all the "old timey" for when you can no longer just order a pizza delivery online, or duck to the 7-Eleven for that whatsit, I heartily recommend finding yourself a selection of "how-to" book, comparing, contrasting, and trialing out their techniques, suggestions and finding what works for you, and your situation, before there is no choice. It's fun, informative and very satisfying.

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