Thursday, February 16, 2012

Winter Reading

We finally have snow! This has been a very unusual winter here in the mountains of California, but winter has finally arrived albeit a bit late. I'm hoping that doesn't mean it will overstay it's welcome! For now, it gives me a grand excuse to catch up on some reading that I've been wanting to dive into! There's never enough time to read all that I want to absorb, and unfortunately, I'm a terribly slow reader. I need a week of snow days to get through my stack!

My daughter gave me the two beekeeping books for Valentine's Day along with a lovely breakfast she prepared for the entire family. What a sweetie!! She knows what I like! I started Bill Turnbull's book Confessions of a Bad Beekeeper last night and caught myself laughing out loud. Oh, my! He's too funny. I'm sure Horn's book Bees in America won't be nearly as light hearted, but fascinating, I'm sure.

Free Range Chicken Gardens by Jessi Bloom is such a beautiful book! And I love the idea of incorporating my chickens in my garden landscape without doing too much damage. I've thought about this before, but to have the wisdom of an experienced chicken keeper and landscape designer is way more than I had hoped. I'm not very far into it, but thumbing through the pages looks promising. I promise a review when I'm done. (Don't forget the give-away at Timber Press ends this Friday, so be sure to get in the drawing by clicking the link on the book title!)

Chaya of Pantry Paratus highly recommended Gaia's Garden for ideas on home permaculture gardening, but with the warning that there's some evolution stuff woven in. The goal of the book is to help readers create a backyard ecosystem that is self sustaining. I checked this one out of the library and I doubt I'll finish before it's due, but hopefully I can recheck it out if it's not being requested elsewhere.

I'm loving the Plan To Eat site that is helping me organize my menu planning and shopping, but I felt like we needed some fresh new meals that were not extremely involved. So after visiting a bookstore, I ordered about three that caught my eye from our local library. This way I can really look through them at my leisure and decide if they're really worth purchasing or if I can just copy down a recipe or two.

Since we don't have TV service, I have not seen the Food Network show Five Ingredient Fix with Claire Robinson, but when I found the book based on her show, I loved what I saw! Easy recipes with only 5 ingredients or less (not counting salt, pepper, and water); meals that looked like real food just like we eat. Cooking Light had a couple of similar books that seemed to fit the bill, but not all their recipes are 5 ingredients or less. Five Ingredient Fix just looked simple and beautiful. What can I say? I'm a visual learner and the spread of pictures sold me.

Before I move on past the cookbooks, I must mention Linda Watson's book Wildly Affordable Organic. The premise of the book is to prepare mostly organic, healthy meals for under $5 a day per person. When I went in the bookstore, I was looking for cookbooks, not a cooking budget book, but then again, I didn't know one like this existed. I bought it on the spot. I figure the $17 I put down on it will pay for itself over time. I've read about 5-6 chapters and her ideas are excellent. Only problem... I'm already doing 95% of them at some level. Still, all that information has been an excellent reminder and has challenged me to make sure I'm practicing them all (because I really do need to bring down my food budget expenditures). Next I should get to her menu planning section. Perhaps I'll learn a bit more there. (This would make an excellent wedding gift along with another kitchen gift; any new bride would certainly appreciate knowing how to prepare meals on $5 a day per person!)

Finally, I'm reading Stormie Omartian's book The Prayer That Changes Everything, which is a book about the hidden power of praising God in prayer. Let's just say, I could grow in this area and I'm always encouraged when I read one of Stormie's books. I'm also reading Matthew Henry's commentary on Matthew. Love how that man writes!

So, after this wonderful skillet breakfast (recipe to follow another day), homeschool, and some chores...

I'm going to curl up by this...

and listen to my favorite station right now on Pandora, Ashokan Farewell...

and read, and read, and read until...

Dance Hall Girl needs to be milked again (my new life) and the kids remind me it's time for dinner!

Can you believe the library just emailed me another book I requested is in? Joel Salatin's Folks, This Ain't Normal! Oh, I need a month of snow!!

What are you reading this winter?


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