Thursday, June 12, 2008

Questions & Answers

I have received so many questions in the Comment section. Since I have all comments sent to the Coffee Tea Books & Me e-mail address (given on the side bar), I can answer each one easily when there is a corresponding e-mail address given.

However, many comments do not have an e-mail address so if you have asked me a question and I haven't responded, that is why.

So... here are a few questions from the past week.

1) Where do you get your pictures?

I get asked that a lot. I get about 95% of my pictures from perusing and I will type in a category (ie: tea time), or a favorite artist (Robert Duncan), or something rather general like "vintage". Then I spend hours looking through for favorites, right clicking with the mouse and saving to "My Pictures" where I have a folder just for "Blog Pics".

Yes, this does take a great deal of time but I only do it once in awhile. It's great for long Winter afternoons and very difficult to do if one has toddlers around (which I don't). :)

I try to always give the name of the picture or artist and where it was found (ie: most often at the bottom of a post as I believe it is the appropriate thing to do. Unfortunately, there are a few that I have which I no longer know where they came from. These are the pictures I saved from those used on the blog before I had the computer crash last autumn. Unfortunately, I lost a lot of great pictures with that hard drive crash.

If you like the artwork on any blog, check to see if the name of the artist is given and then see if the poster of the artwork is at either of the places I mentioned. I know there are other places to find pictures but these happen to work well for me. Always give credit where credit is due. That is good manners as well as making it legal.

2) Should I sell my existing house and downsize?

Well, that is something you must pray about for only God knows the future. However, just giving my own experience... it would be a very good idea for most people (of course, mine was a rather forced downsizing). There are many people whose financial opinions I trust saying that the economic future looks bleak. Given the opportunity, downsizing would be an excellent way to need less income for daily living but I'd do so only after seeking if it is God's will.

I would never disregard downsizing because I'm concerned what affect it will have on kids. I've come to realize that both of my kids were given a gift by having to learn to economize and not having money for every want (both started working at age sixteen for their clothing and "extras"). It wasn't easy for them but they were learning skills that were going to be very beneficial! :)

We live in the country but only a few miles out from town. If we were younger and stronger, we'd be farther out and have animals (other than an elderly cat) and a huge garden. Okay, so my three veggie plants don't qualify as a garden but something is better than nothing... right? :)

3) Can you suggest more books with ideas for deepening the pantry?

I like the Deyo's book because, frankly, I like pictures. I use it as a reference manual for all kinds of subjects... like composting as mentioned in a previous post. I have the Deyo's website on the side bar with other links. They also have lots and lots of free information.

The Urban Homemaker is still selling one of my all time favorites, Karey Swan's Hearth & Home. Karey's book is subtitled "Recipes for Life". While it is full of great healthy recipes, she also has a lot of prose where she chats about homeschooling, keeping a deep pantry, healthy cooking, and life in general. It was out of print so I don't know how long it will be available. I suggest ordering this through The Urban Homemaker, which is where the link will take you if you click the title of the book.

Perhaps the best known book about food storage is Making the Best of Basics; Family Preparedness Handbook by James Talmage Stevens. It is very in depth and there is a reason it is a best seller on the subject. He deals with food storage rather than just deepening the pantry so you also will get advice (and recipes) on using foods prepared especially for long term storage. I have added it to the Amazon widget but it is probably available at the library.

Reader's Digest has a great book called Back to Basics; How to Learn and Enjoy Traditional American Skills. I LOVE this book even though it doesn't give you anything in depth, it covers a lot of material and it does give enough information to help you in many subjects. Kids enjoy this book, too. I checked Amazon and there are a lot of their original edition of this book available used at a great price. Used copies of the newer version starts around $35.00. To be honest, you'll get everything you need from the older, cheaper version. I still haven't figured out what was revised a few years ago (probably places where one can order items and their addresses). This is also probably available at the library.

The grandmother of all books relating to "back to the land" (with more info than you'll ever want to know about deepening the pantry) is Carla Emery's An Encyclopedia of Country Living; Old Fashioned Recipe Book. I have added it to the Amazon widget, too. If you are fortunate enough to find a really, really old version (as I have) at a book sale... buy it. Mine cost $1.00 because no one knew what it was.

Her old versions are chatty and much like sitting down with a neighbor over a cup of coffee and a piece of pie than reading a book. The later version, which is available at Amazon (printed by a publisher) is MUCH easier to read but not as chatty. I was quite sad to find out she passed away a few year's ago. She was a special person.

Speaking of used books and library sales, any "how to prepare for y2k" book should have excellent information for deepening the pantry. Just because the problem was fixed and the world didn't fall apart didn't make those books have bad info in them. Well, except the part about expecting the world to fall apart.

The latest issue of Backwoods Home Magazine is on the stands, if it hasn't sold out by now. The topic is "Gearing Up for an Economic Squeeze" and it is all about things like "deepening the pantry". I like this magazine as it is published for people who have "gone back to the land" in reality or perhaps want to incorporate such a lifestyle into city life. It has good information for people like me (who need just a little info) as well as those who live off the grid and love it.

I found my copy at Barnes & Noble (it will be on the same shelf Mother Earth News is sold, which isn't a bad option, either). Click here for Backwoods Home website, which has enough archives to keep you busy for a long summer's afternoon.

Don't be afraid of Mormon sites about food storage. I have yet to find one that pushes any theology but their sites are where I started doing research in the 1990s. Their sites and survivalists sites were all I could find at the time and frankly, I'd take the Mormons any day.

I have other books I'll suggest at a later time but these titles should give you plenty to think about.

4. Raewyn, regarding your question.

I answered it above (regarding where I get my pictures). I thought I'd tell you Mocha Frappuccinos are my favorite, too. I crave them. Thanks to a $10.00 Starbuck's gift card from a very, very special friend... I was able to split one with my hubby last week. Yummy... Otherwise, they are not in the budget these days.


Kim said...

Thank you Brenda for the book recomendations! I look forward to adding them to my home library. BTW, you can order the single issue of BWH magazine you mentioned for 5.95. I just ordered one myself! Blessings, Kim

Niki RuralWritings said...

are you sure you're not reading the titles off my book shelves?? :)

Once again, you've mentioned one of my favourites, Hearth and Home. We were blessed to meet them and listen to them speak at a homeschooling conference. I actually had my copy bound into a hard cover so that it would stand up over the years.


cheri said...

Me too, me too. I just made Karey Swan's macaroni salad the other day. Perfect for a hot, hot, hot summer day.

Another magazine I would recommend is Countryside Magazine. It is much like Backwoods Home without the guns :)

Thanks for commenting on my blog Brenda. We'll be praying about your car situation.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

What a wealth of information your blog is...hope that lots of folks are finding you!

smilnsigh said...

Thank you much for answering my question of... Has anyone seen 'Romantic Country' magazine, in a store? We do have a WalMart around here, so I should look there.

I only subscribe to 'Victoria,' and don't even look at all the other decorating magazines. But people who write lovely blogs, which I love to visit, contribute to it. And it has me wanting to see a copy. :-)

A "Qestions & Answers" entry! Seems like the simplest way to answer. Simplest way, all round. :-) Maybe you could do one, every so often. People could learn to look for these. And answering questions would be smoother, for you and for them.

Again, thank you for the suggestion of where to look...

'Smilnsigh' blog

Maggie Ann said...

Brenda, this is so gracious of you to open up yourself for questions. Interesting too! Oh if there was only time to read everything one would like too. Books are like pots of gold at the end of the rainbow....well, the truly good ones anyway!