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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Learning Old Fashioned Skills

In 1983, I bought a copy of this book...



The name can be bit misleading unless you take in the small print - "An Encyclopedia of Country Living".   It's kind of hard to describe, so I'll let the Wikipedia do it for me:

"The Encyclopedia of Country Living presents an exhaustive overview of virtually every topic relevant to homesteading and self-sufficiency.

Carla Emery self-published the first mimeographed edition of the Encyclopedia under the title An Old-Fashioned Recipe Book. Although she began intending to write a book, she published it in installments starting in 1970 as she wrote it, as if it were a newsletter. The first complete book was finished in March 1974. By the end of 1975 she had sold 13,000 copies. Around that time the book was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the "largest mimeographed volume in general circulation" (700 pages) and was listed as having sold the most copies of a self-published guide: 45,000 mimeographed copies as of 1977."

My 1981 edition has survived every book culling I've ever done.  Didn't need to lay my hands on it during the KonMari to know it brings me joy.  So my 'Old Fashioned Recipe Book' has stayed.  In fact, it's not unusual to hear me answer a question with "Let's see what Carla said about that."

I'm not interested in the "homesteading" thing as a life style.  But I do love the information about how to raise a garden and how to preserve what I've grown (or bought at the Amish produce auction).   I want to learn how to compost.  I want to know about about water conservation.  And other such things.

As you know, I've started the Facebook group 'Food In Jars' food preservation challenge.  And Facebook is always trying to get you to look at other 'similar' groups.  If you preserve food, then according to Facebook you must like goats, chickens, and living off the power grid.  I usually just give them a glance just to look at the beautiful chickens.  

Then there in the "suggested groups" was Homestead Skill of the Month Club.  

Alright... you know how I am about challenges!  LOL  So I checked it out.  And when it opened to the group members/admin, I saw a face that was somewhat familiar.  Hmmm.  A closer look was needed...person, how do I know you?  Then I read the name - Esther Emery.  Ah, that lovely face belongs to the daughter of Carla Emery.  She has enough of her mama's looks that there would be no denying the relationship.  No wonder she looked familiar to me, I've been looking at her mother's face for thirty-four years.

A quick look around the group's info told me that this would be something I'd enjoy.  Each month they focus on a skill needed to successfully homestead... be it in the big woods of Idaho (where Esther lives) or a New York City apartment ~ or five acres in Tennessee.

January skill was basically to make a plan for whatever it is you want to do.  Pretty uncomplicated for me: herb & veggie gardens, composting, food preservation, and so on.

February skill was a get-over for me; cooking from scratch.  Check.

March.  Garden, Soil, and Seeds.  Yes, please...I need help... badly... 

So now you know where my new challenge projects are coming from.  It's going to be fun!



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