My brother sent me this book review; and while I’m pretty sure he wrote it, I don’t know so. As he is currently overseas and not readily available for calls due to his current military posting I’m gonna run it and assume he is the author until he confirms or corrects me. I love this book from the first addition to the third that my wife got me for Christmas. If you don’t have this, you need it.
Back to Basics
written by: outdoor hippies for outdoor hippies, enjoyed by gun toting bible thumping preppers.
Preppers: 1, Hippies: 0
This book first drew me in when I was a kid for one thing and only one thing, the moccasin pattern. This book was put out by Readers Digest, which unless your older you have no clue what Reader Digest even was. There are many new revisions that you can find. This book is unique to many people because this is a book that was around back in the day when you had to go to the library to get information on different topics. This is a book of many different topics on surviving and living self sufficiently. This book predates just about any prepping guide or most survival guides that were not put out by either the Boy Scouts or Military.
This book is broken down into six parts. Part one being Land: Buying it-building on it. It starts out talking about how piratical it is for someone to realize their dream of living a life in the country. It starts out giving you great advise on interpreting an advertisement to what the property really processes. It advises that a on sight visit is always best. The first thing to look into is the water availability. If it already has existing water system or a well. Is there sufficient pressure has the well been tested for potability. If it already has an existing structure how to interpret what you have and how old it is.
It discusses if you are taking a completely plain piece of land and developing it your self what things to look for and how you can use the lay of the land to your advantage. It has a good section on the architecture of what goes into building a house. Everything from floor plans to understanding the where the load of a structure will rest. It dives right in on preparing the land and has a great abundance of information on building houses from top to bottom on your own. Weather your building a log cabin or any other kind of structure. It has all the information you could need to know and then some. If your a big fan like me on building your own cabin it goes over understanding timber and how to prepare it for building. It goes over techniques and tools to build your dream house or structure. This whole book has a great source of illustration and references for more in dept information on any of the techniques covered in this book. It covers on everything from structures to building stone fences. If you cannot start a great plan for your land from this book then you my friend are a Californian.
The next section in this book goes over energy from wood, water, wind, and sun. It first goes over how you can take your already existing structure and make it more energy efficient. There are also lots of good information on using nature to your advantage, through such tactics as wind blocks from tree and using good old earth as insulation. It proceeds to discuss buying, collecting, and storing your own wood to get the most use out of it. You would be surprised at how many versions of wood burning heat sources there are discussed in this section. As well as how to properly install and build your own. Water if available is a very viable resource for energy. In this energy section it discusses homemade as well as manufacture devises to harvest water power. Wind and solar energy personally for me has become a great interest of mine recently. Doing some side research I have discover how cheap wind and solar can be, but at the same time it can be very pricy. With helpful diagrams from this section I was better able to understand the life cycle of harnessing your own energy and what is need to complete your own system.
It follows up the energy system section with one of my favorite topics as well as one of the most important, raising your own vegetables, fruit, and livestock. Any prepper that is worth anything has given this a great deal of thought. If you have ever worked in a modern grocery store you know that a truck comes in every night and that if something does not show up on the truck then the store is out of it. When I worked for a grocery store many moons ago I was amazed to find out that the whole back stock for non refrigerated goods of a large grocery store could fit in a average bedroom. I remember watching a special on TV that talked about hurricanes. This special discussed the simple fact that if grocery stores stop receiving new goods then on average they would be out of food in just three days. Stop and think about this, this is in normal circumstances. Now throw in the factor of a emergency, how long will it take for people who are trying to horde food, to empty store shelves? Will you kill to feed your family, or will you be killed so someone else can feed theirs? I take option three, hide in my house with my stash of food. Even if it may consist of MRE’s and bland dehydrated food. Well now that I got that tangent out of my system in this section of the book it covers everything from raising and growing your own food to how to collect what you have sowed.
The next section falls right in place. What do you do with everything that you have grown or raised. In this section, enjoying your harvest the year round. It covers everything on how to store your food long term. If you are like me growing up on a farm you find yourself eating a lot of self canned food as well as cold storage food. If you have no idea what cold storage is, that the fruit seller that they hide in from the Wizard of Oz. Never fear it has a large section on drying and smoking your food if your the type of person that does not happen to have hundreds of Mason jars lying around. It proceeds to discuss the many ways you can prepare your harvest into meals that everyone can enjoy.
The next section in Back to Basics is the skills and crafts for the house and homestead. It starts out with disusing everything from making your rugs to clothes. You ever wonder how to make your own coon skin hat, well they have that as well as everything else you need to know on preparing hides for your personal use. This is followed by wood working by hand as well as metal working. If your like me then nothing is better than see something come to life made by your own hands.
The final part is recreation at home and in the wild. It has some fun activities to do at home, much like something you would read in a Little House on the Prairie book. The real meat and potatoes of this section is the vast amount of information it has on outback woods adventure. This section reads much like you would find in any survival guide. Information from building fires to foraging for food. It has great information on shelter building in all types of environments. What you thought that nobody publish material on this before Bear Grylls came into the scene? You my friend are wrong.
This book covers so much information from cover to cover that it is definitely a valid tool to have in your arsenal. Like many people have expressed none of us are smart enough to remember everything there is to know about preparing for the worse. If you were smart enough to not have to reference material then you would not be sitting in front of your computer right now trying to expand your knowledge base. You can take advantage of great material like Back to Basics by studying up on great forms of text. If you want get your hands on texts of this value, throw them on a shelf for a rainy day. Information is power and if all else fails you can always burn a book to keep you warm. Start with those vampire books first of course.