Runboard.com
You're welcome.
The Pagan Porch - a forum for Pagan Homesteaders and their friends

This board is now closed and read only. No new membership can be gained. Thank you for your interest.

runboard.com       Sign up (learn about it) | Sign in (lost password?)


Page:  1  2  3 ... 5  6  7 

 
TexasMadness Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Administrator
Global user

Registered: 03-2007
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 3972
Reply | Quote
Books in 2013


Maybe this year I will keep this up-to-date!

Like usual, I'll keep a thread for the books I read. Lately, It's been 3 or 4 a month so I don't want to clutter the whole forum with a separate topic for each.

I missed a bunch of books in late 2012 and can't remember which ones I officially finished this year, so there may be some overlap.

I'll tell you what the title, author, publication date and the format I read it in (I read paper books, ebooks and listen to audio books - sometimes the format matters!).

Feel free to comment or ask questions about any of the books, even if they are posted earlier in the thread than the most recent one.

And also, I encourage everyone to start their own "books in 2013" thread!

Last edited by TexasMadness, 2/19/2013, 2:37 am
2/19/2013, 2:36 am Link to this post Send Email to TexasMadness   Send PM to TexasMadness
 
TexasMadness Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Administrator
Global user

Registered: 03-2007
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 3972
Reply | Quote
Re: Books in 2013


The Dirty Life: A memoir of farming, food and love by Kristin Kimball, 2011 (paper)

WOW. Let me say it again. WOW. One of the more inspiring homesteading/farming books I've read in a long time. Let me catch my breath.

Kristin is a New York journalist assigned to do a piece on the new movement of local, organic foods. She goes to a Pennsylvania farm to meet a man who is crazy, confounding and brilliant. They quickly develop a relationship and eventually start a place called Essex Farm. I've heard of Essex Farm before and have been fascinated by it.

Essex Farm takes the CSA concept from a few veggies a week, to providing nearly an entire diet for it's customers. Members pay a set fee for the year (currently it's around $3000 for the first family member, $2500 for the second, each kid is $100 per year of age, etc). Once you pay the fee, you go to the farm each Friday and TAKE WHATEVER YOU WANT. They provide meat, eggs, dairy, vegetables, maple syrup, grains, fruit and even firewood. I couldn't find much information online about them besides this, so I was excited to read the book. And WOW.

She describes her husband Mark as having ideas that are so far outside of our normal way of thinking that he is either insane or RIGHT. I love it. So far, he is right - they are providing a whole organic diet to hundreds of members and doing it successfully.

I could go on and on about this book. But it has made me more excited and motivated to get the spring garden in than anything else I've thought about this year. Pick it up - it's a great and quick read!
2/19/2013, 2:46 am Link to this post Send Email to TexasMadness   Send PM to TexasMadness
 
TexasMadness Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Administrator
Global user

Registered: 03-2007
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 3972
Reply | Quote
Re: Books in 2013


Sheepish: Two Women, Fifty Sheep, and Enough Wool to Save the Planet by Catherine Friend, 2011 (paper)

The first chapter of this book is hilarious. My mom laughed out loud, I snorted and hooted (trying to be quiet since I usually get my reading done while nursing Mexia to sleep). But when my dad read it? He didn’t think it was funny. It’s about a male visitor to the farm who just *has* to touch the electric fence. Must only be funny to women…

The rest of the book follows suit. It’s funny, while including sobering events and worries to paint a picture of real life on a farm. Cath and her partner Melissa and have been farming for 15 years. I think that right there is actually one of the unique aspects of this book. So many farm memoirs are written about the first year or two and then end right when you think something interesting is about to happen. Goat Song really drove me nuts with that…did the dairy work?!?!

The book focuses on a time when the farm had reached a point of maturity – a “middle” as the author puts it – and there was the possibility of the adventure ending. While our farm is nowhere near as mature as theirs, we’ve had several periods of wondering if it would end soon. We’ve had our share of trials and tribulations. The setbacks sometimes don’t seem worth it. But we are still trucking along. It was nice to read another person’s perspective about making the decision to farm or not farm.

Sheepish is also written in a very approachable style. I feel like if I ever run into the author, it will be like bumping into an old friend.

This is a great book for anyone interested in raising livestock, or for those that are “fiber freaks” as the author calls them.


Last edited by TexasMadness, 2/19/2013, 5:45 pm
2/19/2013, 5:28 pm Link to this post Send Email to TexasMadness   Send PM to TexasMadness
 
TexasMadness Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Administrator
Global user

Registered: 03-2007
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 3972
Reply | Quote
Re: Books in 2013


The Cheese Chronicles: A Journey Through the Making and Selling of Cheese in America, From Field to Farm to Table by Liz Thorpe, 2009 (paper)

This is a compendium about American cheese. Europe has a long cheese tradition. America has "American cheese" (that stuff made with oil and dyed a near florescent orange). But over time we have made progress. In the last 20 years, American cheeses have really come in to their own, and are even turning heads around the world.

But since we don't have a long cheese history, we don't have recognizable names. For instance the names Gruyere and Brie bring to mind very specific cheeses because they have been made in the same style for hundreds of years. But in the US, each cheese maker has their own name - 'Hopelessly Blue', 'Seahive', 'Humbolt Fog', etc. Some can be indicative of their style, but others you are at a complete loss for what they might be.

So it's always an adventure. This book goes through many of the cheesemakers the author has had contact with as a buyer at one of New York's premier cheese shops. I learned a lot from this book. If you are interested in cheese making (and selling!) this is a must read. Or even if you just like eating American cheese, this will provide you with more insight than you thought there could be into the subject!
2/19/2013, 5:34 pm Link to this post Send Email to TexasMadness   Send PM to TexasMadness
 
TexasMadness Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Administrator
Global user

Registered: 03-2007
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 3972
Reply | Quote
Re: Books in 2013


Goat Song: A Seasonal Life, A Short History of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese by Brad Kessler, 2010 (paper)

Another writer takes the plunge to living the country life. This couple goes for goats instead of the more usual gardens and chickens. Its about the first year of the adventure, learning about goats and their eccentricities and how to make cheese. It's all very romantic and relaxing sounding. Makes running a goat dairy sound like a dream come true.

At the end of the book there are plans for a commercial dairy operation. It sound like there is no other possible outcome but for it to be a smashing success. I wish I knew what happened! Things have been so different for our dairy, that I can't imagine it could be as easy as he portrays.

So while I enjoyed the book, it left me feeling like either we are doing everything wrong, or a lot was left out of the story! Or perhaps the first year really is that easy and I just can't remember anymore!
2/19/2013, 5:38 pm Link to this post Send Email to TexasMadness   Send PM to TexasMadness
 
TexasMadness Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Administrator
Global user

Registered: 03-2007
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 3972
Reply | Quote
Re: Books in 2013


Kitchen Literacy: How We Lost Knowledge of Where Food Comes from and Why We Need to Get It Back by Ann Vileisis, 2010 (paper)

(I finished this late last year, but wanted to share it with everyone. I plan to re-read it soon. It was AMAZING.)

It’s been a while since I’ve read any “foodie” type book that really presents something entirely new to me. But this book blew me away. I have so much to say about it, I’m having trouble collecting my thoughts.

The book travels through food history in America starting in the 18th century with a firsthand account of the gardening and cooking of a miller’s wife. Through the 19th century, more and more people moved to cities and our food knowledge began to change from growing to choosing at the market. Soon city dwellers were “ignorant” of their food – something I know modern writers tend to complain about. But in the 1830s – that’s right, not a typo! – a survey showed that city schoolchildren were ignorant of the origins of food. I laughed when I read in Barbara Kingsolver’s Small Wonder about the neighborhood children who marveled at her husband pulling carrots from their garden and offered that maybe spaghetti also grew underground. Ha – kids these days. Well, “these days” has been nearly 200 years!

I can recall a conversation once over dinner with my grandmother. We were discussing some current issue that involved organic produce. My grandmother chimed in that she didn’t know what all the hype was about – she had been eating regular vegetables her whole life and it hadn’t done her any harm. My father responded that in fact she had likely been eating organic vegetables for the majority of her life (she was born in 1919) as regular use of herbicides and pesticides was a new problem. I heartily agreed. Turns out we were wrong. I had always thought these chemicals really came into play after WWII but it turns out they have been a regular component on farms since the 1800s. People died from acute pesticide poisoning. Wow. So the Michael Pollan saying of ‘eat what your grandmother would eat’ needs to be taken with a grain of salt!* We’ve been polluting food for far longer than I thought!

I could go on and on about the book. I’m sure tidbits will show up in other posts. And for the first time in a while, a “foodie” book has me changing my diet. I am striving to cut out as much processed food as possible. I eat very little as it is, but even the amount I do eat seems like too much.

Get the book. Read it. Learn a lot and be inspired to change!


*I actually think this is mostly great advice. And of course, it depends on your generation and I should probably be looking at my great-grandmother.
2/19/2013, 5:50 pm Link to this post Send Email to TexasMadness   Send PM to TexasMadness
 
TexasMadness Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Administrator
Global user

Registered: 03-2007
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 3972
Reply | Quote
Re: Books in 2013


Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, 2008 (paper)

Another I know I finished in 2011 but wanted to include.

This is about a family's move from Arizona to the Appalachians and their year of eating local food. They don't go "extreme" - avoiding absolutely any ingredient that doesn't fall within the prescribed boundaries. Instead, they decide to source all of their produce and as much of their other goods as possible from nearby. As the author put it, they didn't even consider giving up coffee for the year!

Kingsolver has been involved in the local food issues for a long time so this wasn't a complete beginners approach to the subject. She also includes a lot of information in the book so it's not just a straight memoir.

I've thought about a lot of the things in the book over and over and need to reread it. It was so prominent in my thoughts for the first month or two but I've forgotten many points by now. This might be one of those books you just have to read once a year. I do recommend it!
2/19/2013, 9:37 pm Link to this post Send Email to TexasMadness   Send PM to TexasMadness
 
TexasMadness Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Administrator
Global user

Registered: 03-2007
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 3972
Reply | Quote
Re: Books in 2013


Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit by Barry Estabrook, 2012 (paper)

Another WOW book. I started reading it and figured it was going to be a crazy, over-the-top exaggeration of the state of the industrial farming in the US. A few chapters in, I had decided to put the book down when I just couldn't stop thinking about it. So I did some research. Everything the guy talks about is true. Not even "dig around" to find it true, but out there for anyone who cares to read the facts. It's just that most people don't care, or don't want to hear the sad state of affairs.

I've long felt that industrial farming was bad for the environment and for the resulting vegetables its produces. I hadn't given all that much thought to the people that produce the food.

The book focuses on tomato farming in Florida. Virtually all of the workers are illegal hispanic immigrants. Some of them are in slavery. Not a slavery-like situation, but actual, locked up at night slavery. It was insane to read about it. Workers are routinely sprayed with pesticides. Not that they go into the fields shortly after the plants are sprayed - the actual people are sprayed, while not wearing any protective equipment. None of the white superiors will go anywhere near the fields after spraying.

The book also talked about how the tomato has been bred for shipping, packing and looking pretty - and NOT for taste. Winter tomatoes taste like [sign in to see URL] they are not bruised and bright red when they get to your house! It's sad what industrial farming has done to taste as well.

This book was scary. This was another that changed the way I eat. I went from 90% local vegetables to 100% overnight. I very very much wish I could wean my family off of out-of-season fruits but it's hard. I demand that everything is at least organic.

If you haven't been motivated to buy organic produce because of environmental reasons, economic reasons, or even your own health reasons, think about the welfare of the people produce the industrial foods at the grocery store. Buy organic for them!
2/19/2013, 9:47 pm Link to this post Send Email to TexasMadness   Send PM to TexasMadness
 
TexasMadness Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Administrator
Global user

Registered: 03-2007
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 3972
Reply | Quote
Re: Books in 2013


I think that catches me up to what I'm reading now...
2/19/2013, 9:47 pm Link to this post Send Email to TexasMadness   Send PM to TexasMadness
 
Firlefanz Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Administrator
Global user (premium)

Registered: 05-2003
Location: Germany
Posts: 5712
Reply | Quote
Re: Books in 2013


Wow, that's a lot. I have to think back - was reading mostly novels on the Kindle. I often look in the bestseller lists and get free ones. Sometimes, they are rather crummy (I delete those), but sometimes, I've found real gems.

  emoticon emoticon emoticon

---
- Firlefanz

Mystical Adventures
Hannah - Bilingual
The Pagan Porch
2/20/2013, 9:10 am Link to this post Send Email to Firlefanz   Send PM to Firlefanz Blog
 


Add a reply

Page:  1  2  3 ... 5  6  7 





You are not logged in (login)