Six books you will want for reference

I am a dedicated “researcher”.  Before we make any decisions or buy anything that is a  big ticket item, I research until I am comfortable making a decision and spending our hard-earned money.  You name it and I have researched it.  Likewise, before I invest in a reference book for the bookshelf , I want to make sure I get exactly what I need.  I read reviews and comments first.  I may check it out at the library first, or borrow it from an acquaintance. 

And so, in our pursuit of country living, alpaca/livestock husbandry, and poultry raising, I found these books so far that have helped answer lots of questions.  I shop at a nearby Half-Price Books or Hastings for good values; otherwise, I get great deals on Amazon.  You can set yourself up with a “wish list” and check it often to find any of your wish-list books that might be on sale at that time. Take a look  and search by topic, or author,  for an easier search. http://www.amazon.com/gp/homepage.html

Here are my 6 “go-to” books right now, in order by topic.  Some of the “country” will also have sections on poultry.

Country living:

1.  Storey,John and Martha Storey. 1999.  STOREY’S BASIC COUNTRY SKILLS.  Massachusetts: Storey Publishing, 564 p. 

2. Emery, Carla.  2008.  THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF COUNTRY LIVING, the original manual for living off the land & doing it yourself.  Seattle: Sasquatch Publishing, 922 p.

3.  Ekarius, Carol. 1999.  SMALL-SCALE LIVESTOCK FARMING, a grass-based approach for health, sustainability, and profit.  Massachusetts: Storey Publishing, 217 p.

Poultry:

4.  Damerow, Gail. 1995.  STOREY’S GUIDE TO RAISING CHICKENS, care, feeding, facilities.  Massachusetts: Storey Publishing, 341 p.

Alpacas:

5.  Hoffman, Clare and Asmus, Ingrid.  2nd ed. 2005.  CARING FOR LLAMAS AND ALPACAS, a health and management guide.   Wyoming: Pioneer Printing, 176 p.

6.  Bennett, Marty McGee, THE CAMELID COMPANION, handling and training your alpacas & llamas.  New York: Raccoon Press, 386 p.

A Handmade Christmas: Success

We got a very nice thank you from my husband-the-architect’s boss and wife, who appreciated very much the “food basket” we gave them for Christmas.  We decided to be very observant of the economy and focus on gifting from local suppliers. 

We found (accidentally stumbled upon) a little country store in Farmersville, TX,  that actually has rented  space in a storage facility. The facility is not fenced so it is easy to enter, and their space faces out to the fairly busy Highway 78.  They have made nice signs and the big roll-up door is open all the way where they have set up simple tables and shelves inside to display the  many wares.  They have a commercial refrigerator like the stores, with clear doors and have some fresh produce and milk,locally supplied  eggs,  etc., to choose from.  But mostly it is jams, jellies,  honey, salsas, nuts,  that is supplied from area farmers, and fruits like oranges and apples that are much larger and nicer than the stores. 

We endorsed and supported our area farmers this Christmas with our purchases.  Then to get such raving appreciation was a good feeling.   Plus, they like the products so much they are going to get some products by the case to gift to their friends.  How about that?  You never know how one action will affect someone, and in this case, it was several people: the boss and their friends, the store, and the farmers.

We packaged up the products in a very nice sturdy basket with a strong handle to adequately support all the jars. The baskets were unused in our attic, so we recycled them. I made some very nice hanging kitchen handtowels 

My handmade Christmas themed hanging kitchen towel

My handmade Christmas themed hanging kitchen towel

 to include in the gift as a cover over all, kind of like Little Red Riding Hood’s basket of goodies for grandma.

It was nice of them to let us know how much they loved the gift and we will be sure to do more of the same gifting in the future. 

Be sure to look up products for sale in your area under Local Harvest, the link is in the left column.  When inside, enter your zip or city,state, etc. You can see all the products categorized and sign up for regular updates too.

Recycling and composting

It doesn’t take much for any of us to do something to reduce, reuse, recycle.  No matter how small of a step to you, it can only lead to bigger and better things and teach awareness of our environment to our younger people.

Junk mail is the first thing to start with.  Set up a narrow  kitchen plastic trash can in a corner of the laundry room or garage. Find them cheaply at one of the “dollar” stores or better yet, recycle one found at a garage sale or on Craigslist.  Then toss everything into it, even empty boxes from processed foods, the cards that fall out of magazines, then the magazines after they are read, the empty envelopes from the bills, the daily newspaper after reading, etc., etc.  You will be surprised how quickly this container fills up.

Under my kitchen sink I have 3 small trash cans and nothing else.  One is for plastics, one is for glass, and one is for cans.  In the garage I have larger plastic containers I empty these into.  Once a week on my weekly trip into town, I load up the plastic containers in the back of the Explorer and stop at the recycling center and empty everything.  I don’t waste gas as this is on my way to where I am going.  Take gloves and some hand wipes to stay germ free. I don’t have to really touch anything when I am there; all the doors are open to empty into.  It is very painless and it will make you feel good in the process.  Look into taking some of your metals to the local metal recycler; they pay you cash. 

I found a great website.  Try earth911.com for some good info.  Read the blog and sign up for the weekly newsletter too.

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