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    131.

    CHICKENS: THEIR NATURAL AND UNNATURAL HISTORIES

    Janet Lembke
    Hardcover

    Price: $24.95

    Framed by the author's personal experience with backyard hens, Chickens: Their Natural and Unnatural Histories explores the history of the chicken from its descent from the dinosaurs to the space-age …

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    Framed by the author's personal experience with backyard hens, Chickens: Their Natural and Unnatural Histories explores the history of the chicken from its descent from the dinosaurs to the space-age present. En route, author Janet Lembke surveys chickens in ancient Greece, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the 19th century, and modern times, including the role of chickens in Jewish and Muslim practices. She also investigates the birds' contributions to science and their jaunty appearances in literature. Eggs receive a chapter of their own, as does chicken cuisine, comprising recipes from the Roman Empire to today's favorites. Stories about chickens appear, too, often written by those who keep them, including the painter Grandma Moses, the man who holds Cleveland's Farm Animal Permit No. 17, and Brenda, who had to give her young roosters a talking-to for behaving like sheep.

    Chickens have only recently come to a sorry pass in the Western world, where broilers and laying hens are factory-farmed. Lembke investigates the fate of such birds and explores the sustainable, humane alternatives to raising birds for meat and eggs.

    A celebration of the chicken in its every aspect, Chickens is sure to delight the chicken fancier, the backyard chicken keeper, and everyone concerned about where our food comes from and how we can treat animals more compassionately.


    132.

    DAY RANGE POULTRY

    Pat Foreman, Andy Lee
    Paperback

    Price: $22.00

    This is the book that tells you just about everything you need to know to raise poultry on pasture, from the egg up through processing. Based on years of hands-on experiences -- both success and failu…

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    This is the book that tells you just about everything you need to know to raise poultry on pasture, from the egg up through processing. Based on years of hands-on experiences -- both success and failures -- the authors hold back nothing about the realities, advantages, disadvantages and rewards of small-scale poultry production systems for income and community food self-sufficiency. Offering hard to find information on raising turkeys, small-scale breeder flocks and incubation production, the book also includes a foreword by everybody's favorite contrary farmer, Gene Logsdon.


    133.

    LOCALLY GROWN

    Anna H. Blessing
    Paperback

    Price: $22.95

    This beautiful new book by 30-year-old writer and photographer Anna H. Blessing introduces readers to the story of the modern heartland farm. The book explores how sustainable practices--and close tie…

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    This beautiful new book by 30-year-old writer and photographer Anna H. Blessing introduces readers to the story of the modern heartland farm. The book explores how sustainable practices--and close ties to high-profile chefs and restauranteurs--have propelled the "locally grown" culinary movement into a central feature of life in major cities like Chicago. Blessing lays out the rich histories of 25 midwestern farms through beautiful photography, fascinating anecdotes from farmers and chefs, and up-close looks at what makes each farm so unique.

    Interest in sustainable farming has been growing rapidly across the country and around the world, emphasizing locally produced and grown foods in place of the mass-marketed offerings from corporate consortia. When inhabitants of major cities choose to purchase food raised in nearby farms, they not only support vital satellite economies, but also improve the social and ecological quality of life along with the environmental sustainability of the world around them.

    Now there are also innumerable top-tier dining establishments, led by esteemed chefs like Charlie Trotter and Paul Kahan, who scour farmers markets for natural ingredients and develop personal business relationships with small-time farmers to supply their restaurants with the best and most sustainable foods. Locally Grown shows how both long-standing and newly founded farms, along with urban farms and metropolitan nonprofit organizations like Growing Power and City Provisions, are boosting the sustainable food movement throughout Chicago and its neighborhoods.

    Each chapter profiles a different farm, outlining locale, scale, production, and inner workings while also revealing the captivating backgrounds of each farmer. Blessing shows how each farm and farmer are making efforts to improve sustainability, and describes the behind-the-scenes practices that have made locally grown food an increasingly important part of America's food culture.


    134.

    HOW TO NOT GO BROKE RANCHING

    Walt Davis
    Paperback

    Price: $30.00

    How to Not Go Broke Ranching is the irreverent, laugh-out-loud effort of a rancher to help people keep from committing all of the mistakes he made over the course of more than 50 years of ranching. Th…

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    How to Not Go Broke Ranching is the irreverent, laugh-out-loud effort of a rancher to help people keep from committing all of the mistakes he made over the course of more than 50 years of ranching. This is advice drawn from real life … but some names have been changed to protect the guilty.

    The vast majority of ranches in the United States, whether commercial or lifestyle operations, are neither profitable nor sustainable; author Walt Davis explains why this is so and what must be done to remedy the situation. The required changes in philosophy and management practices are spelled out in detail by a man who used them to turn a ranch teetering on the edge of bankruptcy into a consistently profitable and stable operation.

    This book is not a how-to cookbook. It's an attempt to get people to think of ranching (and agriculture in general) as the biological endeavors run on sunshine and rainfall that they once were and should be again … rather than the industrial enterprises that are common today. The methods described have been proven effective by people all over the world and their results can be duplicated by anyone who is willing to think through their own situation and not be afraid to be different. As Davis' father once told him, "You have two kinds of neighbors: Half of them think you are crazy and the other half knows you are crazy." The management described by Davis may not yet be universally accepted, but it works from all standpoints: it's financially and ecologically sound, and provides a good way to live and raise a family.

    Whether you're a would-be rancher, a greenhorn just starting out or an old hand, you'll find information and advice in this book that can be used to make your operation more profitable, less dependent on purchased inputs and markets, and a whole lot more fun.


    135.

    PARADISE LOT

    Eric Toensmeier, Jonathan Bate
    Paperback

    Price: $19.95

    When Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates moved into a duplex in a run-down part of Holyoke, Massachusetts, the tenth-of-an-acre lot was barren ground and bad soil, peppered with broken pieces of concre…

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    When Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates moved into a duplex in a run-down part of Holyoke, Massachusetts, the tenth-of-an-acre lot was barren ground and bad soil, peppered with broken pieces of concrete, asphalt, and brick. The two friends got to work designing what would become not just another urban farm, but a "permaculture paradise" replete with perennial broccoli, paw paws, bananas, and moringa—all told, more than two hundred low-maintenance edible plants in an innovative food forest on a small city lot. The garden—intended to function like a natural ecosystem with the plants themselves providing most of the garden's needs for fertility, pest control, and weed suppression—also features an edible water garden, a year-round unheated greenhouse, tropical crops, urban poultry, and even silkworms.

    In telling the story of Paradise Lot, Toensmeier explains the principles and practices of permaculture, the choice of exotic and unusual food plants, the techniques of design and cultivation, and, of course, the adventures, mistakes, and do-overs in the process. Packed full of detailed, useful information about designing a highly productive permaculture garden, Paradise Lot is also a funny and charming story of two single guys, both plant nerds, with a wild plan: to realize the garden of their dreams and meet women to share it with. Amazingly, on both counts, they succeed.


    136.

    BACK TO BASICS: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO TRADITIONAL SKILLS

    Abigail R. Gehring
    Hardcover

    Price: $24.95

    Anyone who wants to learn basic living skills, the kind employed by our forefathers, and adapt them for a better life in the 21st century need look no further than this eminently useful, full-color gu…

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    Anyone who wants to learn basic living skills, the kind employed by our forefathers, and adapt them for a better life in the 21st century need look no further than this eminently useful, full-color guide. Countless readers have turned to Back to Basics for inspiration and instruction, escaping to an era before power saws and fast-food restaurants and rediscovering the pleasures and challenges of a healthier, greener and more self-sufficient lifestyle.

    Now newly updated, the hundreds of projects, step-by-step sequences, photographs, charts and illustrations in Back to Basics will help you dye your own wool with plant pigments, graft trees, raise chickens, craft a hutch table with hand tools, and make treats such as blueberry peach jam and cheddar cheese. The truly ambitious will find instructions on how to build a log cabin or an adobe brick homestead. More than just practical advice, this is also a book for dreamers. Even if you live in a city apartment you will find your imagination sparked, and there's no reason why you can't, for example, make a loom and weave a rag rug. Complete with tips for old-fashioned fun (square dancing calls, homemade toys and kayaking tips), this may be the most thorough book on voluntary simplicity available.


    137.

    MOTHER EARTH NEWS GUIDE TO LIVING ON LESS, 4TH EDITION

    Mother Earth News
    Paperback

    Price: $6.99

    Live simply: save money, smile more. This theme runs through the Mother Earth NewsGuide to Living on Less special edition. In its 100 pages, you'll find expert advice, tips, instructions and more to h…

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    Live simply: save money, smile more. This theme runs through the Mother Earth News Guide to Living on Less special edition. In its 100 pages, you'll find expert advice, tips, instructions and more to help you live a more self-sufficient life. Its guidance covers everything from building better soil with free organic fertilizers to constructing tiny homes that are cozy, affordable and inspiring. The fourth edition of this handy guide will have you living on less and loving it!

    Read reliable information about building a compact cabin or simple shelter that's enjoyable and affordable. Grow your own healing garden and find good health just outside your front door. Discover simple tips for creating nutrient-rich, root-welcoming soil, and grow your most abundant garden yet. Learn where to find healthy, farm-fresh eggs. Follow delicious recipes for making your own homemade root beer, ginger ale, grape soda and more.

    Other articles include:

    • Adding Insulation Can Save You Money: Figure out whether you should add insulation to your home, and which pieces of the job you can do yourself.
    • Easy Ways to Preserve Fresh Food: Your guide to canning, freezing, dehydrating and other simple, seasonal storage methods.
    • Instant, No-Dig Garden Beds: Create or expand your food garden with this time-saving technique.
    • Want Milk? Get Goats: Dairy goats can supply your family with delicious milk, yogurt and cheese. The fun of raising these gregarious animals is just a bonus.
    • Disease Prevention Basics: These techniques can prevent many of the diseases that plague your vegetables. They include wide spacing, trellising and careful use of organic pesticides.


    138.

    COWS SAVE THE PLANET

    Judith D. Schwartz
    Paperback

    Price: $17.95

    Cows saving the planet? Why not? An idea that sounds preposterous begins to make sense when you take a soil's-eye view of our current ecological predicament.

    In Cows Save the Planet, journ…

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    Cows saving the planet? Why not? An idea that sounds preposterous begins to make sense when you take a soil's-eye view of our current ecological predicament.

    In Cows Save the Planet, journalist Judith D. Schwartz looks at soil as a crucible for our many overlapping environmental, economic and social crises. Schwartz reveals that for many of these problems-climate change, desertification, biodiversity loss, droughts, floods, wildfires, rural poverty, malnutrition and obesity-our ability to turn these crises into opportunities depends on how we treat the soil. Where do cows fit in?

    Cattle, like all grazing creatures, can, if appropriately managed, restore land and help build soil. Rebuilding soil is only one aspect of this important, paradigm-shifting book. Drawing on the work of thinkers and doers, renegade scientists and institutional whistleblowers from around the world, Schwartz challenges much of the conventional thinking about global warming and other problems. For example, land can suffer from undergrazing as well as overgrazing, because certain landscapes, such as grasslands, require the disturbance from livestock to thrive. Regarding climate, when we focus on carbon dioxide, we neglect the central role of water in soil-"green water"-in temperature regulation. And much of the carbon dioxide that burdens the atmosphere is not the result of fuel emissions, but from agriculture; returning carbon to the soil not only reduces carbon dioxide levels but also enhances soil fertility.

    Cows Save the Planet is at once a primer on soil's pivotal role in our ecology and economy and an antidote to those awash in despairing environmental news. It is also an important call to action on behalf of the soil-and, by extension, those of us who benefit from it.


    139.

    CHICKENS IN FIVE MINUTES A DAY

    Murray McMurray Hatchery
    Paperback

    Price: $19.99

    Having chickens has never been as easy and fun as with Murray McMurray Hatchery's Chickens in Five Minutes a Day.

    This from-zero-to-go guide to raising a flock of chickens in your backyard…

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    Having chickens has never been as easy and fun as with Murray McMurray Hatchery's Chickens in Five Minutes a Day.

    This from-zero-to-go guide to raising a flock of chickens in your backyard gives you the easiest route to amazing fresh eggs, as well as tried-and-true shortcuts. Tending chickens becomes a snap with this handy book's help.

    McMurray Hatchery has been sending out birds for home flocks for nearly 100 years and is one of the biggest names in the industry, shipping more than 2 million chickens and other fowl each year. With this experience comes knowledge: on how to raise fun and productive chickens the easy way, on simple feeding, the best coops, worry-free watering, hygiene, and pest control.

    Raising chickens is one of the most rewarding home farm activities you can share with your family. The great flavor of the eggs, as reflected by the bright orange color of the yokes, is unrivalled by those found in supermarkets. Chickens also make great pets, fun to watch and keep around. Now it's easier than ever with the smart techniques and approaches prescribed by one of America's most well-known hatcheries.


    140.

    GAINING GROUND

    Forrest Pritchard
    Paperback

    Price: $18.95

    In Gaining Ground, author Forrest Pritchard recounts his ambitious and often hilarious endeavors to save his family's seventh-generation Virginia farm in the Shenandoah Valley. Through much trial and …

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    In Gaining Ground, author Forrest Pritchard recounts his ambitious and often hilarious endeavors to save his family's seventh-generation Virginia farm in the Shenandoah Valley. Through much trial and error, he not only saves Smith Meadows from insolvency but turns it into a leading light in the sustainable, grass-fed, organic farm-to-market community.

    There is nothing young Farmer Pritchard won't try. Whether he's selling firewood and straw, raising free-range chickens and hogs, or acquiring a flock of Barbados Blackbelly sheep, his learning curve is steep and always entertaining. Pritchard's world crackles with colorful local characters-farmhands, butchers, market managers, customers, fellow vendors, pet goats, policemen-bringing the story to warm, communal life. His most important ally, however, is his renegade father, who initially questions his son's career choice and eschews organic foods for the generic kinds that wreak havoc on his health. Soon after his father's death, the farm becomes a recognized success and Pritchard must make a vital decision: to continue serving the local community or answer the exploding demand for his wares with lucrative Internet sales and shipping deals.

    More than a charming story of honest food cultivation and farmers markets, Gaining Ground tugs on the heartstrings. Written with humor and pathos, Pritchard's story reconnects us to the land and the many lives that feed us.

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