JAZ Farm Library

This post is a lengthy listing of Books, Movies, Documentaries and Articles that have influenced our worldview and led to the creation of JAZ Farm.  It is kind of unwieldy.  If you are interested in any of them you can simply copy the title and paste it into Google.   It is a great library and has kept me busy in my Kindle and iPad and, lest we forget, real honest by goodness print for several years.  I hope you find some of them informative, challenging and thought provoking.  I will post new titles and links as I discover them so this post will be updated and edited from time to time.  Simply click on the Bibliography category link on the home page and it should bring it up instead of having to scroll through all of the other posts.

I’ve seen or read them all – The * symbol indicates highly recommended

Books about Food and the Food System:

* >The China Study – T. Colin Campbell

>The American Way of Eating – Tracy McMillan

* >Animal Factory – David Kirby

>The Vegetarian Myth – Lierre Keith

>The Botany of Desire – Michael Pollan

* >The End of Food – Paul Roberts

>Farm City – Novella Carpenter

* >Fast Food Nation – Eric Schlosser

* > The Omnivore’s Dilemma – Michael Pollan

* >In Defense of Food – Michael Pollan

* >Salt, Sugar, Fat – Michael Moss

>Tomatoland – Barry Estabrook

>Empires of Food – Evan D.G. Fraser and Andrew Rimas

* >Pandora’s Lunchbox – Melanie Warner

>Eating Animals – Jonathan Safran Foer

>The Accidental Farmer – Tim Young

>Beautiful and Abundant – Bryan Welch

>Bringing It To The Table – Wendell Berry

>The Chicken Chronicles – Alice Walker

* >Diet For A Hot Planet – Anna Lappe’

>The Dirty Life – Kristen Kimball

>Folks, This Ain’t Normal – Joel Salatin

* >Everything I want To Do Is Illegal – Joel Salatin

* >Food Inc. – Karl Weber

>The Good Food Revolution – Will Allen

>Growing a Farmer – Kurt Timmermeister

>Its a Long Road To A Tomato – Keith Stewart

>Life is a Miracle – Wendell Berry

>Living In The Land of Enough – Courtney Carver

>No Happy Cows – John Robbins

>Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life – Joshua Fields Milburn

>Organic Manifesto – Maria Rodale

>Son of a Farmer Child of the Earth – Eric Herm

* >Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle For The World Food System – Raj Patel

>Food Politics – Marian Nestle

>The Way of Ignorance – Wendell Berry

Political, Philosophical, Ethical

>Cooking Solves Everything – Mark Bittman

>The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future of Our Economy, Energy and Environment – Chris Martenson

* >The Culture of Make Believe – Derrick Jensen

* >Dreams – Derrick Jensen

>Eaarth: Making a Life On a Tough New Planet – Bill McKibben

>Empire of Illusion – Chris Hedges

* >The End of Growth – Richard Heinberg

>End Game Vol 1. and Vol. 2 – Derrick Jensen

* >The Fall: The Insanity of the Ego In Human History and the Dawning of a New Era – Steve Taylor

* >Confessions of an Economic Hit Man – John Perkins

>Hoodwinked – John Perkins

* >Limits To Growth – The 30 Year Update – Donella Meadows and Jorgan Randers

>Confronting Collapse – Michael C. Ruppert

>Crossing the Rubicon – Michael C. Ruppert

* >The Long Emergency – James Howard Kunstler

* >Peak Everything: Waking Up To The Century of Declines – Richard Heinberg

>The Race for What’s Left – Michael T. Clare

* >Resistance Against Empire – Derrick Jensen

>Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit From The Nest Eggs of American Workers – Ellen E Schultz

>Snakes in Suits:  When Psychopaths Go to Work – Paul Babiak

>The Third Industrial Revolution – Jeremy Rifkin

>Vulture’s Picnic – Greg Palast

>Oil and Finance:  The Epic Corruption – Raymond J. Learsey

>The Oil Depletion Protocol – Richard Heinberg

>Powerdown – Richard Heinberg

>Too Much Magic – James Howard Kunstler

* >American Facists – Chris Hedges

>Born To Be Good – Dacher Keltner

>Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture – Ellen Ruppel Shell

>the Death of the Liberal Class – Chris Hedges

* >Deer Hunting With Jesus – Joe Bageant

* >The End of Growth – Richard Heinberg

>The Great Disruption – Paul Gilding

* >Here We All Are – Ram Dass

* >Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That is Breaking America

>The New Golden Age: The Coming Revolution Against Political Corruption and Economic Chaos – Ravi Batra

>A People’s History of The United States – Howard Zinn

>The Political Mind – George Lakoff

>The Psychopath Test – Jon Ronson

* >Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain

>The Science of Fear – Daniel Gardner

* >Screwed: The Undeclared War Agains the Middle Class – Thom Hartmann

>Self-Reliance – Ralph Waldo Emerson

* >The Shock Doctrine and the Rise of Disaster Capitalism – Naomi Klein

>The Uprising – David Sirota

>Virus of the Mind – Richard Brodie

* >When Corporations Rule The World – David C. Korten

>Winner Take All Politics – Jacob S. Hacker

* >The World Made By Hand – James Howard Kunstler

* >The Witch of Hebron – James Howard Kunstler

Movies and Documentaries

*>Critical Mass

*>Genetic Roullette

* >Crazy, Sexy Cancer

* >Dirt! The Movie


* >Farmaggedon

>Fast Food Nation

* >Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead

* >Flow: How do a Handful of Corporations Steal Our Water

* >Food Fight

>Forks Over Knives

* >Fresh

>The Future of Food


>The Harvest

>Hungry for Change

* >I Am

>Killer At Large: Why Obesity Is America’s Greatest Threat

* >King Corn – You Are What You Eat


>The Perfect Human Diet


* >Surviving Progress


* >The World According To Monsanto

>The Consequences of Suburbanization

>A River Of Waste

>Manufactured Landscapes

>Meat The Truth


* >What A Way To Go: Life at the End of Empire

>Blind Spot


>No Impact Man

>The 11th Hour

>Poison On The Platter

>A World Without Water

>The Slow Poisoning of India

* >Natural World: A Farm For The Future

* >Patent For a Pig: The Big Business Of Genetics

* >Life Running Out of Control

* >The Story of Stuff

>Way Beyond Weight

>Seeds of Freedom

>Fast Food, Fast Profits: Obesity In America

* >Food Matters

* >Super Size Me


* >Ingredients

>Food Beware

* >Why We Fight

>Our Daily Bread


* >Bananas!

* > Vanishing Of The Bees
















Books About Things That Make You Go HMMM…..

>The Believing Brain – Michael Shermer

* >Bio-Centrism: How Life and Consciousness Are The Keys to the True Nature of the Universe – Robert Lanza

>Be Love Now – Ram Dass

* >Becoming Enlightened – The Dalai Lama

>Emotional Freedom – Judith Orloff

* >The End of Your World – Adyashanti

>Emptiness Dancing – Adyashanti

* >God Is Not Great – Christopher Hitchens

* >The Greatest Show On Earth – Richard Dawkins

* >Forged: Writing In The Name of God – Why The Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are – Bart D. Ehrman

* >The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy – William Strauss

>The Jewel Tree of Tibet – Robert Thurman

* >Last Words – George Carlin

>A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle

* >The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle

>The Republican Brain – Chris Mooney

>1984 – George Orwell

>Back to Sanity – Steve Taylor

>Being Gay is Disgusting – Edward Falcon

* >Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing The Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them) – Bart D. Ehrman

* >Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed The Bible and Why – Bart D. Ehrman

>Outliers: The Story of Success

>The Power of Your Subconscious Mind – Joseph Murphy

>Total Freedom:  The Essential Krishnamurti – Jiddu Krishnamurti

How To Instructional Books

>Aquaponic Gardening – Sylvia Bernstein

>Country Wisdom and Know-How, Everything You Need to Know to Live Off the Land, From the editors of Storey Books

>The Organic Farming Manual -Ann Larkin Hansen

*>The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible – Edward C. Smith

*>The Beekeeper’s Bible – Stewart Tabori and Chang

>The Backyard Homestead – Edited by Carleen Madigan

*>Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens – Gail Damerow

>Homesteading in the 21st Century – George Nash and Jane Waterman

>Storey’s Guide to Raising Meat Goats – Maggie Sayer

>Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats – Jerry Belanger and Sara Thomson Bredesen

*>Guide to Rocky Mountain Vegetable Gardening – Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough

*>The Self-Sufficient Life and How To Live It, The Complete Back To The Basics Guide – John Seymour

*>Mother Earth News

The Chicken Hilton

The big project other than the farmhouse remodeling projects has been turning an old horse shed into the future JAZ Farm chicken coop.  This is an attempt to use what is already here rather than build something new.  The shed was essentially a structure that the animals could come into in order to escape the elements.  You’ve probably seen them on any trip to the country.  The front is open and has a sloped roof to channel water from when it rains or snows and can house a manger and water trough out of the baking sun or the severe elements of winter.  The shed on the farm also had, on its southern end, an enclosed tack room.  While the whole thing was well worn and used, the tack room had a professionally poured cement floor!  Perfect for a coop.  The big issue with any chicken keeping operation is to keep predators out of your coop and chicken run.  It seems that not only does everything taste like chicken, EVERYTHING likes the taste of chicken.  I believe in sharing, but coyotes, foxes, badgers, falcons, owls and hawks, tend to take more than their fair share!  The cement floor provided the space for a roosting and laying coop that can’t be burrowed into or flown into by said critters.

This is what it looked like:

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The big plus, of course, is that there is water right at the coop.  The big negative is that the horses had kicked in the paneling and chewed most of the rafters and stringers that hold the paneling.  While the cement floor is solid, it wasn’t too terribly critter proof with all of the holes in the walls.  Also, the shelter part of the building did not meet the ground solidly all the way around.  So while it is an existing structure with support posts and a solid roof, the entire thing needed to be rebuilt.  This is a very BIG Chickie Hilton!  Also, you might have noticed that there is no fence around it to keep the birds in and the other diners out!

So as Zina took over the interior painting jobs and with the dog run finished, I have set to transforming the old horse facility into the JAZ Farm chicken coop.  We plan on raising 15 to 25 egg layers (probably a combination of Rhode Island Reds, Buff Orpingtons, and Barred Plymouth Rocks).  We know this will give us far more eggs than we could use, but I have also had indications from clients and neighbors that they would happily receive fresh eggs from us!  The layers will get the cement floored coop.  On the other side, because they don’t need nearly as complex a coop, we are going to raise 25 – 50 meat birds a year.  If one goes with the Cornish X hybrid, they grow to slaughter weight in about 8 to 10 weeks (its almost like somebody blows them up with an air pump they grow so fast) so they won’t be around long.  They also don’t need laying boxes, insulation, electricity, or all of the creature comforts the more spoiled layer women require.

As of this writing, I have replaced the old horse chewed stringers and replaced the paneling all the way around.  Zina has finished the interior farmhouse painting and came out yesterday to help prime the plywood.  As you can see below we had a fencer come in and build a 25 x25 foot chain link fence for the chicken run.  If we really wanted to go all out it would be possible to house up to 100 chickens in this setup.  Considering how much bedding and feed that would take, don’t hold your breath – unless we find a lot of eager customers!

There are several tasks yet to complete.  The fence needs to be covered with hawk proof material, the entire perimeter needs to be made burrow proof to keep out the four legged hunters. The feeders, waterers, chicken doors, roosts and laying boxes need to be installed.  There will also be windows and screen vents for proper air circulation.  This will take some time but the pictures below show the stark contrast of what was and now what is.

Chicken coop face lift

Chicken coop face lift

Chicken coop

Chicken coop


We are anxious for the day that the construction comes to an end and the squawks, cooing and crowing replace the noises of the air-compressor and circular saw.


Gotta have one of these on a farm!

When we decided that buying our homestead was something we wanted to pursue, I told Zina, “I built the urban farm by hand.  I wheel barrow-ed all the top soil in and I man-handled all the landscaping stone needed to Xeriscape the front yard.  If we are going to do this and it is going to be on the scale that it has the potential for, then I must have some machinery to help out.”

Of course I didn’t want to have one of those ginormous tractors with the eight wheels that are 6 feet tall, pulling a huge disc, seeder or sprayer behind it, but a little putz around tractor to haul inconveniently shaped or heavy objects would sure be handy.

Wishes fulfilled.  A couple of weeks back the local dealership dropped off a compact John Deere tractor.  It was too late for one blizzard and just in time for another.  So far it has a front loader (already coming in handy) and a 4 foot wide rototiller to help with the garden.  On order is a middle buster and a 1 blade mold board plow (the gizmo you often see in pictures being pulled by a horse and a thread bare farmer sweating in the summer sun.).  The middle buster is a piece of steel with kind of a heart shaped blade on the bottom designed to “bust the middle” of a row in order to plant things like potatoes.  It can also be used to help harvest them.  All I can say is thank goodness for some forms of technology.  The farm was never intended to make us a family of luddites.  It is simply healthier, better for the soil, and for the environment to engage in locally grown food production.  Starting this whole production in our 50’s demands a certain amount of convenience.

Here she be:

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Of course, you can see from the images that my son – the mechanical engineer wanna be who starts college in the fall, thinks all of the hydraulics and moving gizmos are just all that!  Who-da thunk you get a teenager to WANT to come and help out with farm chores?  Just give em a nifty toy to mess with and you’re good for at least a few days!

A few days after these photos were taken we got hit with a typical Colorado spring blizzard.  The drifting would have had us all but snowed in save for the new tractor.  Here is what Aaron did for two hours the next day:

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The humor in this story now begins.  While digging the family a trench out to the main road, our neighbor, whom we had never met, drove down to meet us……..in one of those very same ginormous tractors (I am six feet tall {the guy in the hat and overalls}) – you can get an idea of the size simply because the tires are almost as tall as me!.  He decided that it would be nice to come down and help out and finally meet the new neighbors.  He had a snow plow blade on the front that was as wide as my pickup is long.  Aaron was pointed away from the main road and didn’t see this beast bearing down on him.  When he did notice it was hilarious – it looked like a go cart being chased down by a semi!  We were wondering if we fed and watered our tractor if someday it might grow up to be like this one!  What had taken Aaron two hours, this guy did in a matter of a minute or two.


It turns out that the farmer (Brad) is the one who has been leasing the back 30 acres of our property to farm it with wheat.  He wanted to come by and see if we would still be interested in doing that.  I told him as long as he doesn’t spray pesticides on it and because wheat isn’t genetically modified, we would be happy to have him do it.  In return I will get an enormous amount of straw that can be used for the chickens and for mulch and general composting.  He gets to sell the grain.  He said that right now he is working upwards of 5000 acres of land… none of which he owns.  The main method for non-landowners out here is simply to dry farm.  The ground gets tilled, the seed gets planted followed by lots of praying and hoping for sufficient moisture and then, around the 4th of July, comes wheat harvest.  Last year’s drought left us with 30 acres of unharvested, stunted wheat.  Considering that as I type this we are getting another 6 inches of snow, the moisture levels are quite a bit above last year…. but that’s not saying much.

The organic garden I am going to put in is around half an acre – Easily that if you take into consideration the seed corn and sunflowers I want to grow for the chickens.  It is HARD packed right now as it is where an old horse corral was.  Many hooves have pounded it down – but all of those horses have also made it the most fertile land on the farm.  Brad has volunteered, when he comes out to disc the back 30, to run the disc up through the garden as well!  Said he’d have it busted up and tilled in about 5 minutes.  Woohoo!  Gotta love other people’s machines!

So the JAZ Farm has a tractor and has networked to have access to some folks with much bigger toys to help get the big jobs done.