Monday, January 30, 2012

from the prairie's edge - our life as told by our stack of books

This recent stack of books gives a pretty good indication of what we've been doing, discussing, and preparing to do...

the hymnal our church uses; I've taken up playing piano for worship about once a month

- Nourishing Traditions: food history, recipes, and inspiration to eat well

- Good Montana Morning: a cook book from my folks, written by the owners of a B&B in Whitefish, in the same home where I used to take piano lessons!! (some really fun recipes)

- Sepp Holzer's Permaculture - he is THE GURU on permaculture, which is possibly the most earth-shattering concept we have run into in the last five years. That seems like an extreme statement, so I might have to see if Jason agrees, but seriously, so many of the world's ills as it relates to health, food production, water and soil contamination, hunger, drought, concerns over big business, an individual's ability to care for themselves at the most basic level and not rely on any entity (including government) could be addressed by permaculture. But wait; there's more! Each family learning how to grow or raise even a little fraction of their own food (and doing it smartly, as nature does) can prepare themselves for all manner of life's unexpected curve balls. Power outages, natural disasters, and sudden income loss are some we've seen a lot of recently, right? We can thereby free ourselves from the "need" for such steady income and can choose to live how we want to live - using our time for pursuits that are meaningful to us individually and as families. Sorry I keep mentioning this, but I just think it is a rad concept that has all kinds of beneficial ramifications. And it is attainable. Even just doing a couple of raised beds in the lawn or some container gardens in the house, hey, it's a start! That's where we are.

Gaia's Garden - not sure about this one, another of Jason's. Probably permaculture related...

Last Child in the Woods - a plea to get our kids outside, interacting with nature, for their health and well-being

Family-Friendly Farming and Everything I Want to Do is Illegal - two books by Joel Salatin. This guy is another permaculture / local food guru, who strives to go beyond organic in everything he raises. Salatin describes himself as a "Christian Libertarian Environmentalist Capitalist Lunatic Farmer," and he is interesting! You might have seen him featured in the documentary, Food, Inc. He appears in all kinds of youtube clips too.

Entering The Stone - Recommend! Recommend! Barbara Hurd writes beautifully about caving, like going into actual physical caves under the earth, but also plumbing the depths of one's own emotions and experiences, dealing with loss in life, and change. The feel of this book sticks with me through the day; it's one of those.

Nurtureshock - This is the third time I've borrowed the same book from a library (twice in MT and once here), mostly because it's thick and hearty, and I was borrowing it at inopportune times. It has ten chapters about ten totally different aspects of parenting, based on solid research that looks at hundreds of studies across cultures, economic status, etc. The topics were chosen because they most strongly fly in the face of modern, conventional wisdom. There are some sobering looks at several aspects of public education, including why "gifted and talented" programs are dead wrong in who is admitted into them as much as 73% of the time. The first chapter of the book, "The Inverse Power of Praise," grabbed my attention, because the conclusion is very much in line with Montessori-inspired thought and what I've read in other books like Unconditional Parenting: that needless praise is often just the flip side of needless criticism. Nowadays, it's assumed that children need to hear how awesome they are at everything, but the truth is they need us to be engaged with them about their accomplishments and failures and to encourage them to keep trying. Kids who are told they're naturally smart give up on difficult tasks much sooner than kids who are congratulated on trying hard. Other topics in the book are why children lie, how we can help siblings to get along (though almost all of them bicker and quarrel - in fact, if they are distant and disengaged from each other, chances are that's how their adult relationship will be too), whether or not self-control can be taught and a look at a revolutionary program in schools called "Tools of the Mind", and the startling negative effects that our culture of sleep deprivation (early high school start time) has on teenagers.

Native American Ethnobotany - welllll, this lugger of a book is an amazing resource of plants used for food and medicine by native groups, but it's not a sit down and mull over type. It must be in high demand within the ND library system, because we were only allowed to have it out a week, which is barely enough time to read the introduction. Jason was wanting to get ideas about things to plant on our land.

- I forgot to add in a plumbing how-to of Jason's, which he has been reading like an action thriller. Hopefully within a week, he can really start work on the new house. Meanwhile, we will be here at the old one for another couple of months.


Christi said...

So funny...I keep glancing at our current stack of books that are stacked just like yours. I take a little picture in my head, thinking they represent so much of our normal life right now. I never finished Last Child in the Woods, but definitely got the point engrained into my head. I am very interested in Nurture Shock, I'll have to check it out.

Also, I want a sing a hymn with you.

Christi said...

And in response to your comment on my blog, OH MY GOSH, you were crazy at Sandy Beach. That was freaky.

Rena said...

I love these little snippets of your daily lives, and I'm in awe that you can even find time to read with Zoralee and Ziah around 24/7. You make me want to try some of those food farming concepts just from reading your descriptions.

lori said...

Christi - that'd be great to sing together again. We would no doubt have to add a few lines of scatting to How Great Thou Art. I think you would enjoy Nurtureshock, yes! I have also thought of you while reading Entering the Stone, because as she writes, her best childhood friend is dying of cancer. Many of the emotions you've expressed on your blog I think you would find beautifully written about in the book. Also, wasn't everybody being crazy at Sandy Beach? I thought so. I hope it wasn't just me. :o/

Mom - ha ha. Well, I wouldn't say I get much reading in, since Nurtureshock has taken me a couple months, even having it the 3rd time. But I'm reading a chapter each night of Entering The Stone. I really want to make more time for reading during the day. I remember it was always very calming to see you do that. And the gardening thing, yeah, for somebody like you who already knows how to garden, you could pick up this variation so easily.