Friday, 23 October 2015

08:30 – The bread we baked yesterday turned out fine, actually better than our earlier efforts. The bread was noticeably drier this time. If I didn’t know we’d made it ourselves, I would have thought Barbara bought it at a bakery.

We’re rapidly getting through watching the BBC Historical Farm series. We’ve finished Tudor Monastery Farm and Secrets of the Castle, and are 3/4 of the way through the 12-episode Green Valley series. Next up is either Victorian Farm or Victorian Pharmacy. We finished watching series one of Little House on the Prairie, and will start series two shortly. It’s kind of hokey, with inferior writing and some truly bad acting, but it’s interesting nonetheless for a reasonably accurate representation of rural life in the 1870’s. It maintains a strong focus on self-reliance and getting the job done no matter what.

Here’s what I did to prep this week:

  • Although the offer we made on the house up in Sparta is still hung up in paperwork, we’ve started packing up stuff on the assumption that it will go through. If not, that’s fine, because we will eventually be relocating, whether it’s to Sparta or somewhere else in the western North Carolina mountains, and the stuff we’re packing up can sit in boxes for a long time without us needing it.
  • I continued work on the open-pollinated seed kits. We’re currently awaiting the outcome of the germination testing after a freeze/thaw cycle. I’m still working on the planting guide.
  • I started work on organizing reference books for the Kindles. Step One is to use Calibre with the de-DRM plug-in to produce portable copies of each book. Step Two is to organize those books into Kindle categories in an on-disk directory structure on my PC. Step Three is to use the on-line tool at this web site to create the Kindle category structure on disk and then transfer it to our Kindles.

We won’t depend entirely on Kindle ebooks. They require power and aren’t ideal for displaying PDFs and other graphics-heavy titles. I don’t believe that a Kindle would be damaged by an EMP, but it’s possible they would if they hadn’t been stored in a Faraday cage. But overall, Kindles are an excellent and inexpensive way to store literally thousands of books in a very small space. Many more books than we’d have space to store in pbook form. And of course those ebooks can also be backed up to USB flash drives for later transfer to a surviving Kindle or tablet. In fact, I’ll probably convert each of them to epub format just to maximize their potential usefulness.

All of that said, your library should also include as many useful pbooks as possible. Disregarding fiction, our library currently contains probably 1,000+ useful or potentially useful pbooks, many of which we picked up for nothing or next to nothing at library booksales or used bookstores, and all of those will definitely be going with us when we relocate. When she was packing up books in the living-room/library the other day, Barbara was about to put a full print version of Encyclopedia Britannica in the Goodwill pile. I immediately reclaimed it, not because we have any current use for it, but because it’s a potentially priceless collection of knowledge.

So, what precisely did you do to prepare this week? Tell me about it in the comments.