Living From the Land

Living From the Land coverA Living From the Land

Submitter: I work at a small high school in Ontario, Canada (approx 120 students) and they have not had a proper library since the school opened in 2000. I have been continuously weeding the collection in order to have a functional library and I found this book about living off the land from 1934! While it is really neat to handle a book 80 years old, it really has no use in a small high school library and is incredibly outdated (this book regards electricity as a luxury!). Thus I decided to weed it.

Holly: I have recently become obsessed with all the shows on the Discovery Channel about homesteading in Alaska. I can’t explain the appeal, but I will watch and read anything about homesteading.

Except for this.

It is a nice tribute to its time and place, but belongs in a museum or archive now  – definitely not a public high school library! Wrong audience, wrong time, and wrong place. Weed this and buy something that shows the difference between the lifestyle of a homesteader today and that of someone connected to society. There are so many different considerations for those interested in this lifestyle today!

Living From the Land Preface

Servicing the Home

Servicing the Home


  1. I don’t know… These old books often have a lot of useful advice. I was part of the “back-to-the-land” movement in the ’70s, and reprints of books from the ’30s and even older were prized. And as a ‘non-traditional’ graduate student I am now meeting young people whose life plan includes living off the grid.

    (Living that way does require at least one person to be devoted to home work while at least one other deals with the farm. I have no idea how those Norwegian bachelor farmers do it!)

    tl;dr — This book may not belong in this specific library, but it does belong somewhere other than the scrap heap!

    1. I’m with you. Access to information like this needs to be maintained – and no, the Internet is not a sufficient back-up. The information needs to be accessible off-line as well.

    2. Exactly what I was thinking. As Barbara Kingsolver recounts in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: she discovered when she tried to breed turkeys naturally that this knowledge had nearly been lost.

    3. I agree with this comment too. I see a future of deindustrialism and technological regression, and more of us will be forced back into the domestic economy and have to be more self-sufficient. Some of these old books contain very important knowledge. I think in the future, a book about video gaming or smartphones will be considered more outdated and least relevant than an old book about slide rules or gardening.

    1. Agreed, plus how many high school students are going to turn to a book (potentially) older than their grandparents for this information when they do have the Internet available?

  2. The writer talks about electricity the way I feel about the Internet – like it’s a wonderful luxury. In 80 years, people will be gobsmacked anyone could consider Internet access a luxury.

    1. For many people, the internet is not a luxury. I do classes online, and a large portion of my job is reliant on the internet. When I didn’t have it brielfy this spring, it was very nearly impossible, and the quality of my work suffered. Job-hunting, social programs, school, jobs – many things make internet a necessity, not a luxury.

    2. I’m not sure the Internet will be around for most people in 80 years. It is very heavily dependent on fossil fuels and nonrenewable resources, which at current depletion rates will be severely depleted by that time. While some people 80 years from now will probably still have electricity, my guess many less will. You are assuming technological progress of the industrial age will continue on indefinitely, when it is very much a function of energy availability

  3. Useless in a high school library, but probably an interesting resource for life in the 30’s. I hope it finds a good home in an archive.

  4. Get in touch with the Internet Archive — they actively want really old books like this, as they scan them and then post them on the web. I actually spent the other night reading a very interesting book from the 1920s or 1930s all about lucid dreaming and the author’s experiences experimenting with them! 🙂

    1. It would depend on the copyright status of this work. If it was renewed before expiration then I don’t know if they want it. But please check with them!

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