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Hi Carla -

Digging a well may be dangerous, but people all over the world have had to do it, and I would vote that you keep hand digging info intact in case anyone ever needs it. Nathan Griffith's _Husbandry_ has good and more detailed descriptions on hand-dug wells, their benefits and dangers.

I was looking to see if there was anything (even just references) on permaculture in the 9th edition, and didn't notice anything. I'm not an expert at all, I'm sure there are others who know much more or who have taken the design courses, but permaculture is so important to sustainable living, particularly outside the US. I was wondering if (as I finish up my oddments chapter) it would be useful to add a paragraph on permaculture with book and web references for finding out more.

Re: Flatirons - my amish neighbors don't bother with old fashioned flatirons. They go to yard sales, buy an old regular iron, and just stick it on top of the woodstove. Works great, although wisely, with 9 children, they try not to iron much but sunday aprons and caps.

I love your, "how to pinch a penny" section, but I wanted to add two more things The thing I've done that has made me the most money as a homesteader is give stuff away - that extra chair I don't need, spare tomatoes, magazines after I'm done with them (often picked up for free at the library), daylily divisions. When you give someone something, it always comes back a thousand times, I think. I gave some catnip to a friends' aunt, and got back a yard's worth of perennials and shrubs from her garden. I drop some spare eggs by the neighbors and they come and fix my lawn mower. I offer a friend some extra baby clothes, and it turns out she has friends looking to get rid of 10 laying ducks. I help a neighbor put in a garden, and she builds our farm a website. Nobody is so poor they don't have anything to give away, even if it is just their time. And when you give stuff, people start looking out to see if there's anything they don't need that you might. You get friendships back, and material goods, and you have the joy of knowing that what you can't use is going to good use. I think the best way to start saving is to start giving.

The other thing that might be good for that section is this - if you have friends and neighbors you like and trust, remember, you don't need 2 of everything. Does it really take 2 tractors to care for their 15 acres and your 10? Do you need 2 vacuum cleaners? 2 ladders? Can you grow the zucchini and she grow the pumpkins so that you can both share and both save seed? This can be hard to get started, but my neighbors and I have shared a lawnmower, a car (both of us have a mostly stay-at-home parent and neither family needs 2 cars, but both families need more than 1), appliances, gardens, a washing machine (when hers was broken), babysitting, etc... You can get by with a lot fewer things if you have some of what they need and they have some of what you need.

Sharon
 

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There is definitely some nutritional information about vegetables, fruits and grains in the book, but more would certainly be welcome. My favorite source of nutritional info is _Nourishing Traditions_ by Sally Fallon. I second the recommendation of _Laurel's Kitchen_ although with all the debate about the value of grains in the diet, I don't know that everyone would agree.

You are absolutely right that if you are trying to feed your family, you need to know what foods are healthy, but the commonsense info that Carla gives - little or no white sugar, whole grains, natural fats in reasonable quantities, balanced meals - protein, whole grain starch, several vegetables, etc... seems like it would mostly cover it for most people. It would be useful (if it isn't there already, and I kind of think it might be) to note the cold climate Vitamin C sources, like cabbage and Aronia.

Just IMHO.

Sharon
 
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