I picked up Catherine Parr Traill's "The Canadian Settler's Guide" because, after the zombies bring down our entire fragile infrastructure, I want to lend a helping hand when the time comes to reconstruct the world. I want to offer more practical knowledge than just how to boil Kraft Dinner and accentuate a lip-line.
The fact that you can't grow insulin in a garden sort of makes my whole plan moot anyway, but I want to AT LEAST build a whipsaw and plant some cabbage before I die.
So Traill's book -- written for the new 1855 Canadian immigrant -- has proved helpful. I now understand the importance building a veranda around even the meanest hovel, and I know one should keep the chickens in a coop while one is planting the crops. I have learned the best way to prepare fried corn (boil it first) and how to make a tasty beer out of beets. I could, if pressed, make a rag rug or a candle or a delightful pigeon pie, and I could tell you how many bricks a yard of clay will make (460), and I could even recite a verse of "The Scottish Immigrant Song":
The little gowans tipped wi dewWhen Mrs. Traill devoted a section of the book to "the ague," however, I had to chuckle. "Oh those simple Victorian people, mistaking food poisoning or a tight corset for some mysterious vapor-disease." Little did I know that -- holy cow! -- malaria was a serious problem in Ontario throughout the 1800's. No wonder a spoonful of Epsom salts didn't help.
That 'mang the grass shone brightly;
The harebell waving in the breeze
That bowed its head sae lightly.
So when the world comes crashing down, feel free to stay with me for a little while. We'll have a quilting bee, clear some land, and dig a pit to put the potatoes in. But now that I know where rennet comes from, YOU can make the cheese.