That was the intrepid Janiel, reporting from Caleb Warnock's chicken coop. The Gnome Slayers owe a lot to Caleb, not the least being that we first met each other in his writing class. To celebrate the publication of his first book, FORGOTTEN SKILLS OF SELF-SUFFICIENCY USED BY THE MORMON PIONEERS, the three of us invaded his back yard with a video camera. We discovered that not only does he know a whole heck of a lot about writing, he also knows a whole heck of a lot about gardening. And Eqyptian walking onions. And exploding eggs.
We're so excited for Caleb's book to come out, we're going to be celebrating all week! Oh yeah, and we're also giving away a free copy, signed by the author. We each got our own signed copies too, so we can honestly say that the book is awesome! And user-friendly. And full of pretty, pretty pictures that Caleb took himself.
We learned in that last video that Caleb has 33 chickens. That's a lot of chickens, folks. And they all need names. Russo and I named three of them, as you will see in a later episode, but there's still 30 left. So if you would like your very own, signed copy of THE FORGOTTEN SKILLS OF SELF-SUFFICIENCY USED BY THE MORMON PIONEERS, just leave a name for one of Caleb's chickens in the comments on any post this week. Leaving a comment on more than one post means you have more than one chance to win. But you must leave a chicken name in your comment in order for it to count as an entry. We will announce a winner via random drawing next Monday. Easy enough, right?
Here's more about the book from Caleb's blog:
7/25/11– Provo, Utah -- Journalist Caleb Warnock announces the Aug. 8 2011 release of his book, “Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers,” on pre-sale now at Amazon.com.
Many people dream of becoming self-reliant during these times of fluctuating prices and uncertain job security. Using truly simple techniques, you can cultivate the pioneer's independence to provide safety against lost wages, harsh weather, economic recession, and commercial contamination and shortages. Strengthen your family's self-reliance as you discover anew the joy of homegrown food, thrift, and self-sufficient living.
Using truly simple techniques, homestead families harvested sweet, crisp carrots out of the snow-blanketed garden soil in December. They raised robust summer vegetables without expensive seed catalogs or nurseries. They created spectacular flower gardens at no cost. They ate fresh out of the garden twelve months a year, a skill that has now all but vanished. Their self-sufficiency provided security against lost wages, harsh weather, economic depression and recession, and commercial contamination and shortages.
Today, that kind of family security and self-reliance has never been more appealing. Many of the pioneer techniques are now lost to the general population. I was lucky enough to grow up in the kitchens and gardens of the last generation to provide family meals without relying on the grocery store. They managed their family budgets by putting to work centuries of received wisdom about food and self-sufficient living. My book teaches the reader just how simple and fulfilling the path to increased self-reliance can be, along with the pleasure of eating fresh garden produce with robust, homegrown flavor twelve months of the year.
This is not a book about bottling peaches or digging a root cellar. This book begins to overcome the myth that self-reliant living is practical only for up-before-dawn farmers or green-thumb gardeners with huge yards and no social life. The reality is that self-sufficiency need not be elaborate, time-consuming, or back-breaking. Any modern family can be strengthened by discovering these forgotten skills:
Growing Hardy and Perennial Vegetables: From Egyptian walking onions to self-seeding lettuce and spinach which thrives in below-freezing temperatures, our ancestors knew how to benefit their families with vigorous strains of garden goods. The early homesteaders ate fresh corn on the cob long after snow covered the ground and homegrown tomatoes at Thanksgiving -- with flavor beyond anything offered in today’s grocery stores.
Home-Grown Garden Seed: How did the pioneers garden without relying on seed catalogs and nurseries? Open-pollinated seed in the garden is the vegetable equivalent of wheat in food storage. My book explains the pioneer seed bank, the pros and cons of open-pollinated and hybrid garden seed, and a new effort now underway to revive it.
Eat Fresh in Winter: Following in the footsteps of the settlers, savvy modern gardeners can store their carrots, onions, parsnips, turnips, and beets over winter by leaving them exactly where they grew in the garden, or by using their garage!
Fresh Eggs: Taking a Second Look: Eggs were among the most valued homegrown pioneer foods. My book discusses how the backyard chicken coop disappeared, and why many cities, petitioned by residents, are allowing them once again. What every family should know when considering whether a few backyard hens might be right for them.
Baking with Pioneer Yeast: Learn about the health and nutrition benefits of baking with pioneer yeast instead of commercial quick-rise yeasts. Learn how bread was made for thousands of years before yeast was every sold in a grocery store.
Forgotten Recipes : Delicious hunger-gap omelets, roast vegetables, winter pioneer treats, family-pleasing meals entirely from the garden and storeroom, heritage recipes, and more.
Caleb Warnock is a full-time journalist and have been working for a central Utah daily newspaper for the past ten years. He has won more than 20 awards for journalism and creative writing, including the Utah Arts Council Original Writing Contest, the David O. McKay Essay Contest, and voted top reporter in Utah. His freelance publications range from articles on wolf-watching in Yellowstone to backyard poultry-keeping to perennial gardening. He has published several true stories about his ancestors in the Friend magazine. Caleb is a full-time journalist for Provo's Daily Herald.
"Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers" is available at bookstores everywhere, in addition to Walmart and Costco stores, and Amazon.com. Caleb Warnock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers" by Caleb Warnock
Cedar Fort Publishers
$16.99, available Aug. 8 2011