Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Earth Home Garden Library

Click on photo to enlarge

Even with all the thought & effort we've directed toward simple living, and reducing our consumerism, I'm still addicted to books & music, so here you see the results of a lifetime of reading & listening.
This composite of two photos shows about 2/3 of the library.

The books cover a wide range of interests including organic gardening, small scale farming, the raising & caretaking of poultry & livestock, composting, permaculture, self-sufficiency, sustainabilty, ecology, species diversity, native-plant gardening, simple living, alternative lifestyles, alternative transportation (pedal-power), human powered tools, arts & crafts, classic & contemporary literature & poetry (especially that related to ecology and a sustainable future), histories of empire building, colonization, imperialism, globalization, fascism and the corporate state, the military-industrial complex, democracy & dissent, political history, socio-economic classism, racism, religion, genocide, anarchy & survival, and practical guides on everything from primitive skills like basket weaving, acorn preparation or hand tanning hides to more contemporary manuals on carpentry, earth-friendly houses & their construction, alternative energy (such as solar & wind power) and several titles on watershed and habitat restoration.

There are also many books on healthful cooking, holistic medicine, medicinal plants & herbs, grammar & writing skills, philosophy, human sexuality, a large assortment of books on natural history, evolution, geology, biology, botany and related technical manuals, journals and field guides, Beacham's 6 volume reference guide to endangered species of North America, a 10 year collection of World Watch Institute's 'State Of The World' reports, dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases, music books and more...

All in all, probably close to 1,000 hand-picked volumes which are an invaluable resource, and will be even more so if "civilization" continues on its present course, which seems highly likely.

On the music side there are over 2,000 CDs spanning nearly a century of recorded music.
A large collection of early American mountain & folk music (fiddle, banjo, classic ballads, hillbilly & cowboy music) as well as hundreds of historical folk recordings from vanishing cultures of every continent on earth, and there's country blues, delta blues, blues, r&b, cajun, reggae, jazz, big band, swing, country, western & western swing, pop, doo-wop, rock, modern jazz, classical, contemporary folk, alternative, hip-hop and contemporary world music.

Again, all hand selected during a lifetime of fascination with music (& dancing) and its historical & contemporary significance to people's lives & times.

I'm often rather self-conscious about possessing this large library of stuff, but to me it represents a lifetime of research and self-education (I'm an unrepentant high school dropout), and I like to think it might someday be treasured by a small community of like-minded folks as part of a library for their own research, education and (hopefully) home-schooling.

By the way, the couch is a second-hand freebie, the lamps were bought at a yard sale for 3 bucks each (we had to buy shades), the curtains were home-made from remnants, our musical instruments were all purchased used (except for the ukelele which we got from the local music store that was going out of business), many of the books & CDs were purchased used, the signs on the wall to the right were also freebies (found art junk Americana from defunct gas stations of the terminally ill petroleum age), the fan that cools the room in summer is 100 years old and our little cabin was hand built in 1969 by the old guy we bought it from.

There, I feel better now! ;~)

See what stuff does to you?
Sometimes I feel like Frodo with that damned ring!

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Blogger tansy said...


good thing i'm not christian cuz i'm coveting your book collection right now.

i'm a sucker for books too. (and cd's but more so the books). i buy all my books used (although greg still goes to the bookstore and buys himself new books). this year when i got my last 'real job' tax return, i spent a good portion of it on books...it was a splurge but all was non-fiction books that are most likely sitting on your shelves!

i consider it an investment for my future and my child's education (my youngest will be homeschooled).

too bad we didn't live closer! i'd be first in line to check out books from your awesome library!

3:51 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Hi Stella-

And you'd be quite welcome at the library too!

So many friends already "check out" books & CDs from our library that I may have to start keeping records or hand out library cards or something.

I'm happy that you're beyond your last "real job"

4:28 PM  
Blogger Walter Jeffries said...

*hee-hee!* Your walls look like ours. There is nary a square inch available. Someone once gave us several framed photographs for christmas. Holly and I looked at each other and the common thought was, "where!?!" But, we are glad of our choice. Books are a wonderful thing to have in life. Especially as we don't get in town for weeks at a time and even then just briefly.

7:12 PM  
Blogger Jim said...


How awesome is that, to only get to town briefly every few weeks?
Do I detect a bit of green around my gills?

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my! I'd be happy as a pig in mud to be shut in your library with all those books, Jim! What a wonderful legacy you are building.
Sadly I have stopped lending books now, as I am so frequently disappointed that so many people place no priority or importance on returning them. I just don't understand that! * sigh.

11:53 PM  
Blogger Madcap said...

Oh, that's my kind of room! I could be lost in there for months!

(Hey Kiwi - I'm going to turn off my no anon comments now that the word verification will take care of the spam, I never thought of it til I stopped in here.)

3:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I were in that room right now. You certainly know how to live and what priorities are important in life.

4:04 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

I am drooling...if you ever invited me to your house, I'm afraid I wouldn't be very good company because I'd be browsing those shelves instead of conversing! I haven't bought many books lately, I've mostly been using the library, but The Hermit and I have boxes and boxes of books in our storage shed, waiting for a place to keep and display them proudly.

The music collection sounds great too!

7:07 AM  
Blogger Crowe said...

Thank you for visiting my blog earlier today, Jim. I've followed you back to yours and what a wonderful place it is! I love your book-lined room. I'm a terrible collector of books myself and currently have more books than I have shelving to hold them - I need to emulate your "total shelving" solution so I can move the towers of books stacked on the floor of my study.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, to find myself in such good company. I have an extra house on my property that has become my library. I do loan books to friends, we write down together what it is that they are taking, and that seems to help them return home. Thanks for sharing!

7:31 PM  
Blogger sonia a. mascaro said...

Hello Jim! First of all, I just find you through "Sugar Mountain Farm" and I love "Earth Home Garden"!
Second, I would like if you make me a visit on my Blog, "Leaves of Grass". Regards from
Sonia, São Paulo, Brazil.

9:39 AM  
Blogger sonia a. mascaro said...

Hi Jim, thank you so much for visiting my "Leaves of Grass" today. I am glad you like the photos and our place. I like so much your Blog, too! I bookmark you and I will return many times a week!

11:52 AM  
Blogger Jim said...


My pleasure, and thanks for sharing your wondrous home in Brazil with us.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Kiwi & MadCapMum-

It always puts a smile on my face when I see you girls here, you're two of my first blog buddies!
I hope everything is good with both of you.
I wish I were keeping up with everyone a bit more but it's a bit busy around here these days and right this minute I'm supposed to be painting the house.

1:59 PM  

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