Friday, May 16, 2014

Old Books and Iffy Wisdom

Books can take a lot of the hit and miss out of Homesteading and save a lot of time. In my search for a recipe to create my own chick-starter feed, I found a fantastic online resource which has cataloged and digitized old farming books, including this great old book on chickens and eggs. Although it is in a writing style that is a tad bit outdated, I found it very informative and fun to read.

I am supplying a link to this Journey To Forever website with one caveat, read these old books with some modern discretion.

I have personally experienced the fallacy of a few of my Grandpa's kernels of wisdom.

Most recently debunked is his recipe for a can of "snuff" (chewing tobacco) soaked in a bucket of soapy water to make a "pesticide", which turns out to kill bugs but is also extremely TOXIC TO EVERYONE!

I will be double checking on the nutritional information given in this book. New science trumps all, in my mind.

I think it's very important to verify any old knowledge before implementing it. Just remember that in the "old days" they also thought Opium was an excellent medicine for everything from intestinal gas to a babies cough.

I was once allowed to peruse the personal effects of a Doctor who practiced in one of the local settlements circa 1900. Among them was a book of recipes for medicines. I was doing research at the time for herbal remedies and was thrilled to glimpse back into time and see what the pioneers were using for their ailments. I was astounded to find that over 90 percent of the concoctions in the notebook contained "Tincture of Poppy".

Don't buy the healing effects of Snake Oil just because it's written in a book.

Your local extension office is an excellent resource for science based information to help you with Homesteading activities and dilemmas and, just to get you started, here are a few of the Extension web sites I use often for everything from managing livestock and erosion to identifying a disease in my beans:

Oregon State University Extension
Oklahoma Cooperative Extension
University of Minnesota Extension 
Washington State University Extension

1 comment:

  1. I would avoid that "Tincture of Poppy." I have found old books before that have the strangest things in them.
    recently sold one that was THE HANDBOOK FOR SHORE LEAVE from WW1. interesting.


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