Prepping advice from books

I love books. Fiction, science fiction, biographies, all cross my reading pile. I’ve finished a few recently that have got me thinking SHTF thoughts. So I had to share.

Little Heathens – I loved this biography for Mildrid Kalish, “Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm in the Great Depression.”  She lived in similar location to where I’m living now. But, where I’m a relative new comer, she was born and raised here, with family back to the original settlers.   She detailed how a family working with man power and horse power was able to put away enough hay for our long winters.  It was a complicated arrangement of 3 teams of people, pulleys, rope, horses and some sort of murderous-scary hay hook, I shudder at the thought.   photo credit

She mentions that the children would get sent down to the cellar every year in February to pinch the sprouts off of the potatoes, so they would last longer.  She talks about the care her grandparents put into the planting of those potatoes, carefully placing the eyes pointing up before covering with soil.  Gleaning was discussed, as a standard practice, the whole family would go out soon before the first frosts were expected, to the garden/orchard and glean all remaining food, no matter how scrawny or ill formed. Her mother would make a hearty soup for everyone from the evening’s harvest. I loved the every-day details that get described, it’s peek back in time. I highly recommend biographies, when you can learn how people used to live in the places where you live now, it can give you some great ideas for how to plan to live in that place when conditions make things similar to the past.

ConquistadorS.M. Stirling wrote novels outside of the “Dies the Fire” universe. This is one of them.  The opening character is a discoverer of a portal to an alternate universe, one where the Americas were never discovered by Europeans.  He sets up a colony with ten of his closest friends, and their family and they start a settlement. This novel explores the dangers and challenges that face his family 2 generations later, as infighting and smuggling are threatening the whole colony. When you’re making a new and better world, it’s always a struggle about who’s vision the new world will mirror.

Plus, many of us will admit to a certain amount of disappointment with our modern trappings/busyness/pollution and wish for a simpler, cleaner life. Fantasies of surviving alone in a cabin in the middle of some large expanse of woodland while the world crashes are fun enough; and this book hits just that longing, with a portal to unspoiled America.  It’s not all pretty nature though, there are gun fights with Indians and incendiary bombs and large carrion birds and well, I shouldn’t spoil everything for you. :-) It’s pretty good.

American Apocalypse Wasteland – Nova’s second installment of the American Apocalypse is out in paperback, so of course I had to have one.  It will grab you by the short hairs from page one and keep you turning the pages long past bedtime.  It opens minutes after the attack on Gardner’s hotel by government forces angry over a botched weapons reclamation program. Everyone’s injured or worse, and most of the supplies and all of the plans are up in smoke.  They head for their fallback location, to regear and heal up and try to survive as things unravel quicker and quicker and winter approaches.  Nova introduces engaging new characters, and the survival-by-the-skin-of-your-teeth is exciting to read about, even if it’s far from what I want to see in real life.  I love his books for small group tactics, and a realistic view of the timescales involved in something as large as the USA unraveling. Gardener spends a lot of time poor and sporadically employed, trying to participate in what little  civilization remains limping along, before things take a sharp nosedive. Trying to get food, shelter, health care and practice time with his weapons take up more of his time than shootouts, but those do pop up, in true Gardener fashion. :-D Love it.

Have you read anything good lately? Anything that triggered a thought about your preps, or a change to how you prep? Interesting information gleaned from old stories? Do share!

– Calamity Jane