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April 3, 2017

Preparedness Gardening: How to Grow Real Sustenance and Naturally Build Soil Fertility in Troubled Times by Jeff Fry

Preparedness Gardening: How to Grow Real Sustenance and Naturally Build Soil Fertility in Troubled TimesPreparedness Gardening: How to Grow Real Sustenance and Naturally Build Soil Fertility in Troubled Times by Jeff Fry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is a great read for someone thinking of starting a garden or who has a garden which I will get into later. It doesn't matter the size of the garden as the tips are for gardens less than 500 sq. ft. to farm size. It explains different gardens, such as lasagna garden, keyhole garden, and raised beds, to name a few. It also goes into optimizing water by use of swales and shaping the garden and what to plant on the sunnier, hotter side vs. the cooler moister side. There is also irrigation, yields, and so much more.

I found the chapters on the soil most interesting. After all, if the soil isn't right then it doesn't much matter how your garden is shaped or what you planted, it won't grow strong or produce well. Many different materials are covered that can be added to the soil to obtain the proper macronutrients level and it also covers how to keep it that way by use of cover crops.

A lot of useful information is given in the book on a wide variety of gardening right down to the plants. And although it is for someone starting a garden since it starts with breaking the ground, I just ignored the first chapter and found very useful information in it even though my garden is an existing one that works well for me. If my garden didn't work well, I would have found the different types of gardens in the first chapter just as interesting as well.

The book is short (65 pages on my kindle) and doesn't go into everything in a step by step explanation. In other words, it doesn't tell you that when you plant a potato to dig a hole, place the plant in the hole, cover around the plant with dirt, however it does tell you spacing, even dry spacing and what the plants should yield. So it does take into account you do know something instead of wasting time and space on unnecessary directions. It tell you enough that you know what to do, materials or tools needed, and the concept of how to do it. Also included are pros and cons of different techniques.

Something I haven't seen before in the other gardening books that this one covers is nutritional needs and diet which would really be useful for Preppers. Ideals on what to do with the produce once harvested and what to watch out for to avoid swing in your sugar levels. Although they are not true recipes explaining every cup or teaspoon, telling me that the author boils it and then adds butter is pretty much all that is needed for anyone with any kind of experience in the kitchen to be able to re-create. Another welcoming and unusual thing I found is the rather lengthy Bibliography at the end.

Although this book doesn't cover every type of garden possible and every aspect for gardening, it is full of useful information for anyone thinking of or having a garden and I do highly recommend it.

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The Blood Moon by Thomas Hill

The Blood MoonThe Blood Moon by Thomas Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blood Moon by Thomas Hill is what I would classify as a science fiction and fantasy. It has supernatural, mystical, adventure, and lots of action throughout it as well. It is rather a long story and not one I would call a quick read since it is over 350 pages that kept me reading it to see what twist was revealed on the next page.

The innocence of the story at the beginning really had me fooled. It starts by describing this village called Hepta and the people in it. The village was started because the people left the big city of the Empire so they can practice their own choice of religion instead of worshiping the Kings and Emperors as gods. The people themselves were simple people, mostly farmers, who didn't bother with politics, instead they had Elders that were the authority for the village. It reminded me of history and the puritans and pilgrims coming to America for religious freedom although the people themselves reminded me much of the Amish in their simple ways but that all quickly changed as I kept reading because some of these people had a secret that they guarded with their lives. Then when the moon bled and stayed in the sky, they knew it was an omen and had to keep their secret safe for if it fell into the wrong hands, it could be the end so they left Hepta, taking their secret with them.

Speaking of that part of the story reminding me of history and the Amish, there were several parts in the book that reminded me of either history or other cultures and beliefs throughout history. The severed heads on sticks stuck in the ground which was used by many in the past and may still used by ISIS today. There was also crucifixions on crosses, which of course reminds me of the biblical times and Christian belief. The women given black veils and told to cover their faces with them and wear long dresses reminds me of Muslim woman who wear burkas. Although it doesn't fit into history or even reality, there was also the scene where they came to a castle and the way it was described with the big wooden door and the little sliding panel that opened so the guard could look out, all I could think of was The Wizard of Oz. All these instances gives the story some creditably and grounds the story to reality, except for The Wizard of Oz part, which was a nice touch since this fiction is so far from reality.

Unlike most books, this book doesn't really have a true defined main character. Instead there are many characters that are essential to the story. Some characters do stand out and can be argued to be the main characters such as Adrian, who kept the secret hidden and Kaspar, who was struck by lightning as a child along side of his father but Kaspar lived so he was accused of being possessed by the devil. Either way, they along with many others are essential for the story, some of whom are being being introduced as the story progresses. However none of them are really developed deep enough where I can connect with any of them.

I don't want to write any spoilers so all I am going to say is there is a lot of magic, witchcraft, and mythical creatures along with some that existed in only the author's imagination. They are worked into the story to make it more terrifying and dangerous for the people of Hepta and the other villagers in the land.

The book is full of action, bloodshed, and magic. Once past the first chapter, I would call it fast paced with lots of twists and turns that I did enjoy, I only wished there was a bit less characters and bloodshed with more development of the remaining characters. Then when trying to progress the story with multiple groups of people in the same chapter, all at the same time, I was bouncing back and forth between them and that set me up for moments of confusion and was a bit tricky to read. I also wish the ending was a little more drawn out as it did seem rushed however even with that being said, it is definitely worth reading.

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