(Remember: G.U.S. is our new Gardening, Urban Farming, and Sustainable Living Shelf. We will be featuring books from G.U.S. from time to time on this blog.)
G.U.S. is featuring The Backyard Homestead: Guide to Raising Farm Animals
Edited by Gail Damerow
-reviewed by Tom
This book is simple and straightforward. It offers a great introduction to different animal breeds and how to care for them. Rabbits, Chickens, Ducks, Turkeys, Sheep, Pigs, Cattle, and Bees are all covered. The book includes clear drawings on how to build hives, pens, fences, and how to handle animals properly. The book is a good way to both familiarize oneself with potential homesteading animals and to take the first step in their raising and care.
The Food Lover's Garden: Amazing Edibles You Will Love to Grow and Eat
by Mark Diacono
This wonderful book came across my desk yesterday. It's currently on display on our new Gardening, Urban Farming, and Sustainable Living shelf. (This shelf's name is too long, so I'm going to use the acronym G.U.S. from now on. As in, "It's over there, on G.U.S.'s shelf.)
I really appreciate Diacono's approach to gardening: basically, don't spend time and money planting and harvesting what you can get cheaply and easily, rather, spend your time cultivating and nurturing exotic, unfamiliar, or indeed better fruits, vegetables, and trees. For example: don't plant potatoes when they are so cheaply found at the store and local farms, plant Oca, a versatile tuber that acts partly like a carrot, and partly like a potato or radish, depending on how you prepare it.
If the novelty of growing something unusual isn't enough for you, Diacono describes each fruit and vegetable's use in simple and varied recipes from all over the world. He really wants us to try different foods. "Make Your Garden Unbuyable," he says, meaning grow things you can't find anywhere else, or else grow things that you can harvest when they are naturally ready. Instead of rock hard peaches at the grocery store, plant a peach tree and harvest them at their prime.
I know I'm not going to stop going to the grocery store and farmer's market. And these places have all the essentials. Why grow an onion when you can grow this beautiful monster?
Or these fantastic peppercorns. (I currently pay a premium for these at specialty shop down the street.)
Why grow the basics when they're so readily available and cheap? Why not be adventurous and grow something new and interesting?
I just can't argue with his logic.
We've had lots of fun lately buying a lot of new stuff - books, magazines, journals and cards. And more books and more books. Some of this new stuff makes up our new section on Urban Farming, Sustainability, Do It Yourself House and Home, and Gardening. We've got books on raising chickens and building coops. Actually, we have books on raising all kinds of animals in urban and non-urban settings; goats, ducks, and pigs included. We have book on honeybees, magazines on organic gardening, books on starting small plot gardens, and a classic book on container gardening. We also have books and magazines on beer and beer making - everything to get you started in your adventures in alcohol! Come in or give us a call if you have questions or would like a book on a specific topic. We'd be happy to try and order whatever you you're looking for.