|Some favorite books in "my room"|
With the ongoing and worsening drought in our area, I have been spending time in the garden watering and trying to keep the "cool weather" veggies hanging on just a little longer.
There is something about standing in just a few separate spots and holding a water hose... doing nothing but turning the dial from sprinkle to jet to mist and back... that gives one a chance to ponder.
I was thinking thing past week about a few garden related Truths...
One, that the garden is finally looking like I want, especially with the addition of flowers and "extras" here and there, which led me to...
Two, that the garden looks good because of everything I've learned from books and blogs... inspirations like my friends... Manuela (here) and Sharon Lovejoy (here) who has a blog and books.
I was so glad to have Sharon tell me I was not alone in the next Truth, which is...
Third, that most of what I've learned about gardening came from what did not work!
So, what does any of this have to do with the pantry? Everything! I truly believe God places on the heart of many of us to live a Pantry Lifestyle but few of us grew up with those skills. We can spend the rest of our lives learning something new each day and still have lots to learn!
Even with my mother having lived through the Depression, I have had to be a student of such things as cooking frugally, gardening, baking, stocking up, preserving food, preparing for emergency situations, simple repairs, kitty paws that have allergic reactions, drying herbs for winter tea parties, etc. etc. etc.
I suppose being a bookish type person, I naturally lean toward learning all I can about a subject. Except I am also a visual learner so my favorite learning tools are books with pictures, DVDs, PBS gardening shows, and having a real life person show me the "how to's" of what they are doing.
My original such books from the early years of marriage were a few of the famous Foxfire books (brand new back then) and books from Rodale. I liked Organic Gardening magazine because it had pictures.
These days there are so many wonderful books available for a home Pantry Lifestyle library. I thought I'd share the different kinds of books I keep in my library right now... with promises of more suggestions to come.
Intensive How-to Books
These are books which show me how to do whatever I am trying to learn. I have such books in gardening, cooking, sewing, living a simple life, homesteading, "back to basics", frugal living... just to mention a few. ;)
The example of such a book I thought I'd share is Dare to Prepare. People ask me all the time what books on emergency preparedness I would suggest (I guess these days one would call them prepper books.) Well, if you can buy only one book make it Dare to Prepare, now in it's 4th Edition... by Holly Deyo.
It's not an inexpensive book but it takes the place of so many, it will save you money in the long run. It is a huge book and for visual learners like me, Holly has filled it with pictures as well as "how to" instructions... from deepening the pantry to building a hand pump!
I read on their website that they recently got in a shipment after selling out (yet, again). It is sold directly by the Deyo's... here.
Books that teach and inspire
On the other end of the spectrum would be books that are more general in nature but I read them for inspiration as well as the occasional how-to instructions.
A great example of this type of book is MaryJane"s Ideasbook-Cookbook-Lifebook by MaryJane Butters. I used to check this book out of the library quite often for it was out of print (the three saddest words in the English language?) and it was selling for huge prices on Amazon used.
Thankfully, it finally got out of the stratosphere and back to a reasonable used price so I was able to get my own copy with credit. This book is the poster child of the kind of book I use for inspiration as well as teaching some basic skills.
I find it amusing that on Amazon it gets some pretty bad reviews along with the people who absolutely love it. I believe the people who give it such a bad review just don't "get it". For it is not a book like Dare to Prepare which is made mainly for instruction.
No, the purpose of this book is to inspire readers toward their dreams with a touch of good instruction here and there. These are the kinds of books I absolutely need to have on hand along with all the "how to" books. I also have her book called Mary Jane's Stitching Room, which my friend, Linda, found for me at a used book store!
I would put all of my decorating and lifestyle books in this category. Sometimes I will keep a stack of them on my coffee table just to peruse for encouragement... truly I read to know I am not alone. :)
Books that can be read a little at a time
I have a lot of these kind of books which I set aside and read a chapter when I get a chance. For instance, one such book I love to just read for fun is Sharon Lovejoy's little book called Trowel and Error.
Although Sharon has written more in-depth garden books, I love this book that has hundreds of individual "tips" and the most beautiful color illustrations (she is also an artist).
While books with pictures are my favorite, I also love books such as Frugal Luxuries by Tracey McBride or Living a Beautiful Life by Alexandra Stoddard, both are easily read a little at a time. They don't have pictures (a few illustrations here and there) but their words paint a picture.
I love cookbooks! I read them the way some people read novels!
These past few years, my favorite cookbooks are those which offer great recipes but also inspire me toward a more wholesome lifestyle and way of eating. The River Cottage books are from "across the pond" but they are delicious to read as well as eat the results.
I especially like to read such books when they are written for the entire family to use such as The River Cottage Family Cookbook. Maybe it's because these days I like simple? Anyway, this book is great because it personifies the Pantry Lifestyle by teaching how to do a lot of things "from scratch".
Did you know you can learn a lot about living the Pantry Lifestyle by reading fiction?
The first book which came to my mind for this subject was Laura Ingalls Wilder's book from the Little House series called The Long Winter. I have fond memories of this book, reading it aloud to Christopher one winter while he played with his Lego's... sigh... but I digress.
I love the way The Long Winter shows us how preparing the harvest to last through the winter was not only a good thing for people in past generations... it was necessary for their survival!
Titles which defy being typecast
Some books are in-depth while being easy to pick up and read while offering illustrations while being written in such a way you think it is fiction... but it is not.
The late Carla Emery's book is such a title, The Encyclopedia of Country Living. I have read that the earliest copies of this book were more conversational and she talked more about her Christian living... but the newer copies are easier to read.
I know there are dozens and dozens more titles of books that are my own favorites but I'd have to turn this into a 100% book and pantry blog to share all of them. I hope these give you some ideas.
Please feel free to share your favorites!