Blog: My Little Farm in Town

Living a rich country life in a small Midwestern town.

Showing 3 posts in the Books category for this blog.
Free Books and Sheet Music Online
Monday, February 21, 2011

I moderate a teen book discussion group for our local homeschool group once a month. This month we are discussing G.K. Chesterton and mysteries as a genre. We have an excellent public library system with over 30 linked libraries, but it is surprisingly thin on G. K. Chesterton!

We are reading the Best of Father Brown, a series of short mysteries starring the unassuming man of the cloth sleuth. (Don’t you love that word “sleuth”?) When one of the families that are participating let me know that they weren’t able to get the book from the library, I started poking around online looking for sites that might have a readable or downloadable version of the stories. I found a “fan” site that specialized in all of G. K. Chesterton’s works and e-mailed the URL to that family so they could have their reading and research done by the group would meet ( ).

In the process of searching for this information, I found some sites that I thought might be of interest to anyone who has web access by doesn’t have to a big library system or who might live in a state that requires fees for library use. If you are a homeschooler, you have probably sacrificed an income to be at home with your children and these sites could enrich your homeschool hugely.

If you are a homesteader or have embraced “voluntary” or “involuntary” simplicity, a lot of these older, public domain books (published before 1923 with unrenewed copyrights) may help you to learn basic living skills affordably. Here is a short list:

·  Librivox: Acoustical Liberation of Books in the Public Domain

·  List of public domain sites with nice descriptions of how the materials can be used.

·  Public domain sheet music!

(Public Domain Sherpa also gives important information on copyright and how the materials can be used.)

The sun goes down early at this time of year. Settle down somewhere comfortable with a hot drink and enjoy a good FREE read! Begonia


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Book Report: Instant Bargains
Friday, July 09, 2010

I don’t remember what string of research led me to this book and the website. I read a lot of self-sufficiency magazines, books, and blogs. One thing leads to another. . . .

 The full title is Instant Bargains: 600+ Ways to Shrink Your Grocery Bills and Eat Well for Less (got to love those subtitles) by Kimberly Danger. This little book is crammed with tips on shopping strategies; stocking your kitchen and pantry; storing, cooking, and using food efficiently; and even feeding babies affordably and economical cooking for people who “don’t cook.”

I especially enjoyed the section on making your own mixes and other products like yogurt. I tried the instructions for making yogurt in a slow cooker. (We use a lot of yogurt making smoothies in the summer when fruit is cheap and abundant.) It turned out pretty well. Good enough for smoothies and making yogurt cheese.

The “Eat Healthy for Less” chapter was also very good. This can be a real challenge when you are watching your pennies. The section on stocking your pantry was also excellent.

Even if you have been in the frugal business for years, you will learn something from this book. If you don’t get any new ideas from reading it, you should be blogging and sharing with the rest of us mere mortals!  ;-) Begonia


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Continuous Learning: Baskets O' Summer Reading
Wednesday, June 02, 2010

We are almost done with formal schooling for this home school year—the kind with paper or oral tests. That doesn’t mean that learning has to stop. I like to offer us all opportunities for continuous learning, either hands-on or from books.

As a kid, my most enjoyable learning happened by reading books from various libraries—I had four library cards at one point! When I found a subject interesting, I would read every book in the library on that topic.

You don’t have to be a home schooler to try out this activity, but you should adapt the books or materials you choose to fit your family’s interests and abilities. For example, if you have young children, you might fill one basket with books to read to them and another with picture story books and DK or Eyewitness books with photographs and drawings for them to "read" on their own. If you are unsure of what materials to choose, the friendly folks at your local public library can help you!

 I have a big stash of books to choose from that I’ve picked up at garage, estate, and library sales. We will have three baskets. One will contain poetry because reading it helps you to be a better writer of it; a second will be filled with classic science fiction because my daughter has been writing a lot of sci fi for the past year and is constantly asking me about plot lines; and a third will hold classics by Twain, Dickens,  Steinbeck, and other greats.

Put the baskets where ever you relax or gather as a family, and encourage everyone to dip in and explore the offerings, read to each other, and share what they are discovering. You won’t lack for good conversation all summer! Begonia



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