It’s getting closer to the first day of summer…it’s time for weeding, chores, long days, those projects that couldn’t be done in other months…and yes, everyone’s busy!
Despite the pace, somehow our house is still draped with a rotating detritus of books some would call surface clutter, but what we find enjoyable about anytime we can catch time for a good read. Some of them have been deliberate purchases, and many others are snagged from the library, often requested in inter-library loans after doing fun searches on different subjects.
Here are a few that are being enjoyed by us at the moment.
1. Water Storage: Tanks, Cisterns, Aquifers, and Ponds – for domestic supply, fire, and emergency use — Includes how to make Ferrocement Water Tanks (by Art Ludwig)
This one is Jack’s find, and I know what the draw was…anything having to do with water supply and ferrocement. He loves loves loves building things and has a lot of ideas going for uses for ferrocement. And yes, I enjoy reading through this one, if I can ever lure it away from him long enough :)
Some chapter headings for sampling:
Thinking About Water — Why Store Water? Design Principles. How Water Quality Changes in Storage
Ways to Store Water — Source Direct (No Storage). Store Water in Soil. Store Water in Aquifers. Store Water in Ponds. Store Water in Open Tanks, Swimming Pools. Store Water in Tanks.
Examples of Storage Systems For Different Contexts: Poor Surface Water Quality, Limited Groundwater. Only Stored Water in Dry Season, Hydroelectric in Wet Season. Creek Direct with Remote Storage and Sand Filtration. Very, Very Low Pressure. Simple Jungle Eden. Rural House with Well. Urban Apartment. Swank Suburban House.
2. Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Venegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation (by the Gardeners & Farmers of Terre Vivante)
I’d seen mention of this book in a lot of blogs and other sites, with many people weighing in with pros and cons of what by some is considered potentially “iffy” types of food preservation. However, I value the collective wisdom of folks whose methods have been passed down by their past generations, or who’ve found ways to sustain themselves with foods preserved in traditional ways unfamiliar to me. For those uncomfortable with any of the methods, it’s still an interesting read, and for others like myself who love to search out further alternatives, it’s a great book.
Some sample chapter titles:
Preservation Without Nutrient Loss
Preserving in the Ground or in a Root Cellar
Preserving by Drying
Preserving by Lactic Fermentation
Preserving With Salt
Preserving in Alcohol
3. Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, Second Edition (By Toby Hemenway)
This is a book I’m thoroughly enjoying, and that’s been on my wish list for some time. When it arrived in the mail a month ago, I was so excited! It’s a pretty thorough yet straightforward and understandable book on permaculture, easy enough for beginners to understand. I’ve learned a lot so far by taking this book a chapter at a time and giving myself time to read a section and chew on it a bit. What I enjoy so much about reading about permaculture, once it’s demystified, is that it “feels right” for what we hope to accomplish with our plan for our own surroundings, be it right here in the sorta-suburbs, or later with some more land. I’ve heard this book recommended before, and I’m glad I listened.
Some sample section headings:
The Garden as Ecosystem
The Pieces of the Ecological Garden — Bringing the Soil to Life. Catching, Conserving, and Using Water. Plants for Many Uses. Bringing in the Bees, Birds, and Other Helpful Animals.
Assembling the Ecological Garden — Creating Communities for the Garden. Designing Garden Guilds. Growing a Food Forest. Permaculture Gardening in the City. Pop Goes the Garden.
4. Geodesic Domes (by Borin Van Loon)
This is another of Jack’s picks…he loves to play with design. And I love when he is happy playing with designs! I have absolutely no idea what most of the terms in this book mean, seeing how geometry and I never were best friends, but the patterns are fascinating.
Some sample chapter headings:
Divisions of the Spheres
Domes by Truncation
Domes by Subdivision
5. Successful Small-Scale Farming: An Organic Approach (by Karl Schwenke)
This is the book I won in a giveaway, woo! (Thanks, Lacy!) When I have re-emerged from Gaia’s Garden chapters, it will command my full attention. I’ve already cheated and begun reading different parts of it because I can’t help it, and it has some pretty terrific charts and resource lists throughout and at the back of the book I know we’ll enjoy using.
Some sample chapter headings:
Other Cash and Specialty Crops
The Whole Farm
As your summer approaches faster by the day, what books do you find yourself picking up as references, resources, or inspiration?