If you intend to use all modern methods, including fertilizers and pest control items that you need to wear a space suit to put down, and GMO crops and stock that are scarier than a Stephen King book, then what I am about to talk about really is not for you.
What we all seem to be looking for, and what this blog is about is doing it the old way: farming and living in a way that has kept us healthy and sane for hundreds of years. This would indicate that we would need information about how to live and farm like our ancestors did.
Of course, the internet can provide you with much of what you need to know for free. We do not ignore that resource, but there is a real possibility that we may end up not just wanting to do it “old school”, but having to do things that way because the “new school” has let class out. It is not that farfetched that the day might come when the internet and all the modern methods go away. In such a case, you would need your information in book form.
There are many sources for this information, and we have begun to accumulate a fairly credible library. This includes everything from military Field Manuals about survival, through herbal medicines, to how to build a chicken coop. Perhaps it is the bias of a born and raised Smokey Mountain hillbilly, but my acquisition for the library was a set of the Fox Fire books.
The Fox Fire series started as a school project in a northwestern Georgia High School, designed to preserve some of the stories, recollections and skills of the Appalachian ancestors of the young people involved. Since then it has grown into a cottage industry.
As I stated, we have already acquired a number of other books on self-sufficient living, but were I limited to only a baker’s dozen, it would be FM 21-76: The Army Survival Manual and the Fox Fire Books.
The survival manual speaks for itself. As for the Foxfire series, would you need to know how to build a cabin, build a buckboard type wagon, weave baskets from various materials, make a quilt, make barrels and make a water-powered sawmill? Would you like to know how to make a banjo out of a cigar box or a gourd? Do you enjoy a good ghost story? That is a sample of the things found in the Fox Fire books. Basic plain living, for simple people is the theme of the books; how it was done and how it can be done again. You can find a full set of the Fox Fire books here.
I got my set of the books as a birthday present from Connie but they arrived piecemeal. The Fox Fire volumes are available both new and used individually through Amazon.com or you can buy them as a set new from the internet address above. A new set runs 216.00 plus shipping. Used copies are considerably cheaper, and the kinds of folks that these books are written about would be proud of you for saving the money.
You buy books that tell you how to live off the grid so you can do what you want to now, and maybe what you have to in the worst case scenario. Fox Fire is a great asset with that, but it is also a wonderful source of wisdom, wit and creativity when you just might need all of those things most.