Walking along the book aisle in Costco the other day, I came to a rather sudden stop as a specific book caught my eye. With a name like The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers, can you blame me? This was obviously a book stocked for a local audience, so I hope our non-Utah readers can find a copy. Author Caleb Warnock is a local (Alpine, Utah) writer, year-round gardener, and teacher of “Forgotten Skills” classes. It also helped when I noticed one of the people listed in the special thanks section is a friend of mine, and local sci-fi author (how’s that for a tight-knit Utah Valley). Also at only $11 or so, any tidbit that might help will likely pay dividends well over the purchase price of the book.
This book also stood out to me, because I often wonder *how* my family managed to get enough food to live. My mom’s side of the family was that oft-discussed “hearty pioneer stock”. However I have noticed that while many farmed to live, I have a long history of blacksmiths and military. There is no hiding that this must be because I inherited a really lousy black-thumb, they took up other trades because of this family curse. I’m one of those people who has to work really hard to make part of his garden succeed. I enjoy blaming my heritage on this, as it cannot be some failing of my own, right? So I felt driven to read this book, and find out how they managed to live, despite my inability to grow enough of the right foods in the wasteland of Utah.